With three kids, two cats, and a dog, my house is full on a regular basis. Once we turn off the air conditioning and starting raking the leaves in the backyard, we often have the occasional unexpected critter or two in our house to contend with. Which household pests are likely to make an appearance in your home this fall, and what can you do to prepare for and eliminate them once they arrive?
If you don't love the idea of tiny little critters nibbling on your wires and hanging out in your closets, pantry, basement, or attic, make sure you're prepared for mice before autumn arrives. If you're planning to have windows open (especially those on the first floor), make sure your screens don't have holes in them. Similarly, keep screened doors shut. Food should be put away and waste put out and covered.
Like many other household pests, cockroaches are looking for a warm and cozy place to brave the chillier temperatures ushered in during the fall months. Unfortunately, they're known to spread disease and may cause asthma issues in children. If a houseful of cockroaches (since you rarely have just one cockroach in your home) doesn't appeal to you, keep any food inside your house covered. Consider bait, if you already know you have a cockroach problem or have had one in the past.
They're getting ready to hibernate come fall, but if they're hungry or awakened, a nearby raccoon may make an appearance in your warm home. Responsible for a large percentage of rabies cases and with females likely to give birth in early winter, a raccoon as a household pet is low on your must-have list. Deter raccoons by covering your trash when putting it out at night and making sure you don't have open doors or pet-flaps during the fall and winter months.
Though we've seen spiders all summer long, we rarely find them inside our house until the weather starts to cool off. Then, all bets are off. If you're worried about spiders taking up residence in your home, vigilance is key. Make sure there aren't holes or openings that spiders could use to gain entry into your home. Keep an eye on areas that may get moist, as they may be ideal for a spider's nest.
You've pulled out your first sweater for the fall, and you notice small holes along the neckline. The same is present in your favorite knitted scarf. What gives? Carpet beetles and their larvae may be the culprits. Often not found until the fall or winter months, they wreak most of their havoc earlier in the year. While these clothing items may be irreparable, now's the time to make sure they don't infest your home again. Vacuum and launder all exposed items, and discard those that have been infested. Vacuum furniture and pillows as well. Stay vigilant and don't allow dust to build up. See a small carpet beetle in the house? Squash it now.