Maryland Homeowners - Winter Prep
Maryland weather is fairly mild year-round. The key to a Winter in Maryland is really all about location. The average Winter temperature stays around 34.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The Eastern Shore and Southern parts of the state stay fairly cool, while the Western area experiences that colder, snowy weather. Regardless of the hand, you're dealt, everyone needs to take a few simple steps to prepare their home for the Winter weather.
Seal Any Holes
As you probably know, most critters like to hibernate for the Winter. While we do it in a form of cocooning ourselves in a blanket while entering a vegetable-like state the couch, pests simply want to gain access to your home.
First things first when it comes to Winter prep, checking the perimeter of your home. Bugs are the ultimate criminals, breaking and entering your homes, and windows are an easy access point for them to do so. If you have holes on your window screens, get them fixed! Holes in your screens are one of the easiest ways for a bug to enter your home and set up an all-inclusive Winter resort for the season.
It seems rudimentary, sealing up tiny holes in your window screens, but you wouldn't see a hole in the Great Wall of China, would you? Get those screens replaced, or book yourself a room in the pest's newest Winter resort, located conveniently in your home.
Prepare Your Garden
Just as important as the house itself is the yard that surrounds it. Most people have mulch in their yard as if the show "Curb Appeal" made it a golden rule. Make sure that your mulch isn't resting directly against the foundation of your home. Our own Brad Leahy speaks on this in a Best Company article!
As the leaves fall, and the Winter comes, those leaves provide a free roofing installment for the newest "mouse mulch motel," popping up this season. Mice love any covered area that will provide them with warmth, and the first place they will gravitate to is your mulch. Make sure to spread out your mulch and remove all debris, as it should not be deeper than two inches.
Tree roots also serve as viable land for that mouse motel to break ground. An important tip when it comes to trees is to make sure that there aren't any high rings of mulch surrounding the roots. High rings only encourage mice to set-up shop and start a village, which may end up expanding into your home.
Moral of the story, Winter prep for your home is simple and necessary. Do the work now so that BOG Pest Control doesn't have to do it for you later!
Clean Up Dead Leaves
Leaves: maybe you are fortunate and have no leaves or not too much of an issue. In my yard, the leaves are a big deal….
We have to collect them two times…too old for that…God made landscaping companies for that task! Why bother? Leaves collect in the woods and everything is balanced. Well, your house is not completely in the woods.
Just what do we find in the fallen leaves? A fun time to jump into the leaves, kids love it! Be sure to give the kids a fairly thorough check over: look for ticks! The ticks are out there looking for food…we all knows what the food for the females is…don't we!
Piles of leaves in the shrubs and around the house make a perfect habitat for voles and mice. Small cute mice are anything but cute in the house: the reproductive time is amazingly short. How do the mice get in: if the head of a mouse fits into space: that mouse is in!
Seal Entry Points
Now, what do you look for: check all of the door sweeps and really take a good look at the garage doors. If the rubber on the sweep is hard and brittle then it is time to replace them. We found that out this summer: our Sallies got in under the gasket and into the garage! The salamanders leave cute little pieces of waste product: EVERYWHERE!! So far we have removed over 40 of the creatures! If they get into the house and my wife….whew, you do not want to hear it!
We tried to purchase the sweeps for the garage doors: hopeless! We called the garage door guy and now two things are true: no more water can get in and no smallish four-legged things can come under the door.
Next: you must check all of the entry points for power lines, cable for the electronics, and power for the well and septic (these are supposed to be easy to get too, not always true, however!) The material for the power line and cable lines are very easy to fix, even I was able to do so. The material comes in smallish blocks, easy to cut and mold into place. Helps if you take the old out!
Know When to Call the Pros
Well we have gone over several aspects of winter prep for the home.
What to do? If you feel inadequate for the task, or don’t have the tools or anything else for that matter then please, please do the obvious: NOTHING!
Of course doing nothing is sort of a juvenile answer. Some people do not have any tools or have ever used tools. If the task is overwhelming: call B.O.G. Pest Control at 410-376-5312.
If you are talented (not me!) wait a couple of weeks, then take a door frame off of a door with a south west exposure! I just don’t understand how lady bugs, box elders and stink bugs got inside of the frame: well they did and there they are!
Stink bugs should be about the same as the last several winters: pesky but not overwhelming. Ladybugs should be left alone as should box elders. Anything else needs to be gone. Let’s see: garage doors, screens, mulch, leaves, entry points for wiring…all of these have been identified!
Ants & Termites in the Home
Ants are always there: clean house is the best defense; termites are beyond the skills of almost all homeowners. Do not mess with the lowly termite; the termite has been around for thousands and thousands of years. I would guess most of the homeowners are under 90…..Who will be here in thousands of years: TERMITES and ANTS.
Ants are incredibly organized as a society. Average society has anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million inhabitants. Termites, while not as large in colony numbers are some of the most efficient insects. Never, never forget for a minute the termite eats around the clock and only stops at death then is replaced by more termites.
Again do not try to be a hero: termites are on the property and the termite will find your home,….it is just a question of time….Call the pro’s a yearly inspection is more than worth the peace of mind that you DON’T have termites.
Ants are incredible! A foraging team goes out in search of food for the colony, the ants leave a scented trail for the real invasion force arrives. The only thing worse is the vole or mouse: since they have no bladders, they deposit a continuous stream of urine and your life the result.
Just sayin….ever see a toddler who didn’t put “stuff” into their mouths? All babies to this: it is your job to have a nice safe and CLEAN environment.
All of the words come down to simple thoughts: it is your home, prepare the home or face the consequences of the lack of preparation.
Protecting Your Home
Your home is, usually, the biggest part of your wealth. PROTECT the investment. Simple things:
- Seal all of the openings you can find
- Check the door seals on all doors, especially the garage.
- If your screens have holes then fix the holes OR do not open the windows
- Clean out the gutters, while you are cleaning try to be sure that the gutter has the correct fall so water runs out and down the downspout
- Check all places where electric wires come into the house, check the cable openings, ventilation pipes for gas
- Check your CO unit, be sure it is working, CO is totally odorless!!
- Try to pull mulch away from the foundation
- After all leaves are down, get the leaves away from the house. Leaves do become the habitat for mice and sometimes snakes
- Try to keep your garage door closed as much as possible
- Turn off water to outdoor kitchens and have the line blown out
- Either drain the water from any fountains you may have or: prepare to run the pump all winter, add Antifreeze ( the kind used in boats is very good)
- Prep any potted plants you plan on bringing in for the winter. Lot to this! Don’t be fooled here!
Get a Jumpstart on Spring Gardening
Suggest you go to a good garden center: Green Street, Homestead; both are excellent. Follow the advice given
Plant spring bulbs now, move plants now, do not prune yet, wait until after a hard frost. Remember: INSIDE INSECTS LIVE YEAR ROUND!!!1GET HELP IF NECESSARY!
Your home, your investment, your expense….weigh all of that and DO SOMETHING!