Photo: SMercury98 via Flickr
After being forced to stare at this giant rodent outside the Business Insider office all week, we’ve had our fill of the scab-busting suckers.But the chance of running into the real thing in our homes this winter is greater than ever.
Greasy fur coats aside, pests like rats and squirrels love to break into our toasty warm homes as temperatures drop, according to the National Pest Management Association.
And Americans spend more than $4 billion per year just to get rid of them.
“Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter,” says Missy Henriksen, an NPMA spokesperson. “But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests.”
These little punks are not coming to sing you carols.
If you don’t want to blow your holiday savings on bug busters, check out the NPMA’s tips on simple, affordable ways to keep your home pest-free this winter:
- Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
- Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
- Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.
For more ways to save, check out our list of 10 things you’re better off buying used >