The Eco-Friendly Homeowner’s Guide To Winter Pest-Proofing

As fall comes to an end, ants and other critters are looking for places to hide out and seek warmth to prepare for a cold winter. And while most homeowners associate pest-control with the use of hazardous chemicals, there are a number of ways to bug-proof your home while keeping physical and environmental health in mind. One of them is sealing open gaps or cracks in any part of your home’s foundation. This includes walls, windows, doors, and even your home’s roof. Here’s a quick guide to sealing your home’s foundation cracks to keep out insects and other pests.

Examine Your Home

One of the first and most important steps of sealing your home’s cracks is to simply walk around your home’s exterior with your eyes peeled. About 20% of homeowners surveyed said termites were their main pest concern, but keep in mind that small mice and almost any insect can enter through a crack in your home’s exterior that’s no bigger than the width of a pencil. During your scrutiny, pay special attention to missing or damaged parts of your home’s siding, brick and foundational cracks and crumbles, and rotting wood.

Finally, don’t forget to take a moment to look at your home’s roof, if possible. There are three main types of roofing shingles: three tab shingles, architectural shingles, and large form shingles, and any cracks or breaks are open invitations for pests of all kinds — especially bees and wasps. There are an estimated 2.7 million honeybee colonies in the United States, and while bees are typically not a nuisance in small numbers, both bees and wasps are well-known for building their hives in a home’s roof line, where they’re shielded from the elements.

Seal Problem Areas

Once you’ve identified your home’s problem areas, start by using mortar and cement to patch any foundational imperfections. Damaged bricks should be replaced with new ones, and the joints should be filled with mortar to add strength. You should also replace any rotted wood and consider adding a protective layer of cementitious backerboard if you feel as though your home is prone to termite infestations or damage.

Use Caulk To Seal Tiny Cracks

Finally, caulk is a great material to use to add an extra layer of protection and ensure that even the tiniest cracks in your home’s foundation are entirely sealed and can withstand pest infestations. Caulking is affordable, easy to apply, and long-lasting. But most of all, it’s incredibly versatile. Caulking can be applied to windows, siding, tiny foundation cracks, and more.

“Use caulk to patch small cracks in foundations and siding, or use it to seal joints where the siding meets the roof or foundation. Latex varieties are best if you plan to paint over them, while clear silicone caulk is more flexible and less likely to dry out and crack over time,” writes Bambi Turner on How Stuff Works.

Ultimately, there is still plenty of time to get your home’s cracks thoroughly sealed before winter hits, and keeping these tips in mind can help your home stay warm and pest-free all winter long. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a pest-control professional if you have further concerns about your home’s ability to withstand a pest infestation.

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