Fall and winter are regarded as the most magical seasons of the year. The trees shimmer with golden hues; the sun shines low in the bright blue sky; sweet wafts of cinnamon float on the breeze; and the frosty mornings provide the perfect conditions for a crisp morning stroll. It is also, however, a popular time of year for pest infestations.
The cooler temperatures of Fall encourage wasps, flies, ants and rodents into our houses in search of food, drink and shelter. Plus, a lack of property maintenance gives an open invitation for pests providing them with easy access into our homes.
As we wrap up warm against the chill, most people assume that the majority of pests go into hibernation. Instead, they manage to survive (and often thrive) in these cold conditions by simply seeking out warmer places to rest. And these places, are often your home!
During fall we don’t tend to pay as much attention to the upkeep of the outside of our homes. But, by neglecting to maintain them throughout the year, can lead to pests finding easy entry points into our property. Below we’ll explain which pests are prevalent during Fall and ways in which to keep them out.
5 most popular pests found in fall
You may have noticed a few more creepy crawlies around your door, squished against your windows and buzzing around your curtains. You may have also heard unusual noises coming from your walls, ceilings and floorboards at night. Because as we start to snuggle up warm ready for Fall, pests are preparing for the cold nights too.
The most popular pests to plague you during fall are:
- Cluster Flies
- Bed bugs
Why are wasps worse in fall?
As picnics dwindle and food sources deplete, stinging insects such as wasps and hornets become desperate, persistent and sometimes aggressive in their search for food.
Whilst not all wasps are bad, some even helping to bring an equilibrium to the insects found in your garden, pollinating flowers and plants and generally spreading happiness as the buzz; others become a nuisance in their quest to protect and provide for their queen.
Most wasps will do nothing more than annoy you, and they can be deterred by removing any open food sources and sweet-smelling items and scents. You can also try affixing screens to your windows and doors to stop them flying through, use imitation nests or wasp traps around your garden and even invest in some pesticide sprays. For more information on getting rid of wasps read our informative guide.
If, however, the problem is more serious, and you discover a nest then you will need to call in an exterminator. Wasps tend to build their nests under windows sills, ledges and in attics, but you should observe them first to see how they are entering your home.
Why the Fall brings an invasion of flies
Cluster flies spend the summer months in their infantile learning how to loop the loop and dart around your backyard. Come the Fall, however, they reach adulthood, are much larger in size and are better equipped to deal with freezing temperatures – most of them seeking refuge inside.
Cluster flies tend to shoot around the house preferring places like the living room, attic and wall voids looking for sun-facing spaces in which to hibernate. And on the odd day when the sun starts to shine you may find a swarm of flies around your outer walls as they are drawn towards it by the warmth.
Pest control for cluster flies requires the same methods as most other pests. Cluster flies move slowly, so swatting is often effective against the odd offender although it won’t prevent an infestation occurring. Fly sprays work when they make contact with a fly but has little effect on those already hibernating. Therefore, prevention is key.
Checking and fixing any cracks or holes and caulking and sealing around doors, windows and vents is a must. Also placing fly screens around all main entrance points will help to close off access routes into your home.
In order to target cluster flies, you could also use a fly box. These work by attracting flying pests to venture near before trapping and killing them off.
Top tips to keeping ants away from your home
If a colony of ants stand a chance of surviving the winter months they need to start preparing in Fall. Therefore, the mere peak of an open door provides the perfect opportunity for a trail of ants to start stockpiling their food.
On the hunt for groceries they can break down in order to carry – such as bread, cereal, pastries, fruit, and nuts – these clever little ants can tear through cardboard, paper and even plastic in the plight for supplies.
Ants hate bad weather, and struggle in rain, which is why they look for places to shelter in winter. A loose garden slab, a rockery area and the holes in our walls, all provide a toasty place to sleep.
Whilst there could be worse pests to be sharing your personal space with, in order to keep your property free from these creepy crawlies, we would suggest good sanitation in the fight against ants. This includes making sure that you wipe down all surfaces after food has been prepared and cover up any leftovers. Empty dirty dish bowls and basins of water as soon as they have been used and make sure that you seal up any gaps and openings in floorboards, roofing, vents and around pipes.
If an infestation of ants becomes too severe, then you could try ant dust, repellent sprays and even bait. For more information on the different types of ants that could be visiting your home and ways in which to eradicate them, please refer to our recent blog on ‘how to get rid of ants in your house’.
Why bed bugs are common during fall and winter
As bed bugs are not affected by climate change in the same way as most other pests, you’ll find these little blood sucking vampires in your bed all year round. However, having returned from the summer vacations, it is not unusual for number to increase in the Fall and winter as we bring these hitch hikers home as an added souvenir.
Quite often we are completely oblivious to bed bugs, even though they may be feeding from us at night. Therefore, it is important that you stay vigilant and look out for early warning signs. Just like most things, prevention is better than cure, so by using bed bug mattress encasements and traps and interceptors will help to catch, verify and monitor a bed bug infestation. Find out more information on what bed bugs look like and how to detect them.
If you have a bed bug infestation that is already well established, then it is important that you start treating them immediately. Natural remedies will not deter these persistent pests for long, so we strongly advise investing in a bed bug steamer or vacuum cleaner, bed bug sprays and powders or even heat treatment. If you need more information on how to kill bed bugs, then our comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting rid of bed bugs for good.
How to keep rats out of your home
Winter is coming and we can all feel it in the air – including rodents. Although covered in a furry coat, rats and mice are not lovers of cold weather. And, upon feeling the heat that escapes from our windows, doors and cracks they start to crave a cozier life.
It doesn’t take much for one rat to find its way into your property. A loose tile, an open vent, gaps around pipe work or a broken drain, once one gets in, many more will follow. Unlike other times of year when rats and mice might come and go, basking in the balmier temperatures, during Fall they are here to stay. Therefore, in order to ensure your home is rodent free this Fall, it is vital that you keep on top of your property maintenance.
If you already hear the sounds of scrapping and scurrying emanating from your walls, attic or basement it is time to take more drastic action. Depending on whether you want to use humane or inhumane methods, we would strongly recommend starting with rat traps in order to assess the extent of the infestation.
Where these rodents run can also determine which methods of rat deterrent is best. From ultrasonic rat repellents to trapping, poison and shooting, take a read of our definitive D.I.Y blog for more information on getting rid of rats and mice around your home.
How to pest proof your home for the fall
Fall is the perfect time for preventative pest maintenance, as the weather is still warm enough to work outside without freezing. The earlier you can pest-proof your home, the fewer pests you’ll find attempting to use it for their winter vacation. Little things can make a big difference.
Closing up holes, cracks and gaps not only deters pests from entering but stops heat from escaping your home. Ensuring that bin bags are tied and placed in refuge bins will not only stop pests foraging for food but stop unwanted smells from seeping out. And, regularly raking your yard and pruning your plants not only disrupts pests from making a home but ensures that your property looks ship shape too.
Pests can be a nuisance and infestations can form during any season, which is why it is so important to have a year-round pest prevention plan. We would recommend ensuring that your property is well maintained and that entry points are well secured throughout. Be mindful, however, that Fall is a time when many pests are seeking shelter, so it doesn’t hurt to be extra vigilant.