Make a checklist before you begin packing up your beach chairs and lawn furniture. A simple checklist will ensure you have secured both the outside and inside of your summer home or lake house from pest or wildlife invasion.
Prepare the outside of your summer home
The best thing you can do to winterize your vacation home is simply clean up and take a walk around the house to look for any gaps in siding, a broken window, or a missing screen. The team at earthkind offer these tips:
Put your garden to bed. Run the tiller through your vegetable garden and add fertilizer, compost, or even some fall rye to attract deer and add minerals and nutrients.
Put your yard to rest. Mow your lawn and either rake up the leaves for compost or mulch them and leave on the grass. Apply natural fall fertilizer or lime. Trim branches that may serve as rodent bridges into the cottage. Keep all wood piles off the ground and at least 30 feet from the cottage to help keep rodents at bay.
Secure your shed. Remove any debris that might attract rodents. Make sure all windows are tightly closed and there are no gaps in the doors or windows.
Inspect the roof. Replace any missing or broken shingles. Check the caulking around the chimney flashing (don’t use foam caulking; it won’t stop critters). Install or inspect wire mesh screens over chimney or attic vents.
Check the dryer vent. It’s the most common portal by which rats, and mice might enter. Make sure it’s fully caulked (but not with foam) and has a wire mesh screen.
Inside your summer home- keep it clean and dry!
First and foremost, shut off the water and winterize the system, including draining the water lines to prevent freezing and leaks; if you have a sprinkler system, close, and drain it as well, so the pipes do not freeze.
Now thoroughly and methodically clean the house. The Hartford explains the value of pest control services for closing vacation homes:
When your vacation home is in a warm and humid climate, you need to be particularly vigilant about mosquitoes and other bugs invading your property. But even in a cold climate, you need to be concerned about pests such as squirrels or rodents making your home their retreat during the winter months. Keep up with any treatments such as sprays for ants or termites and make sure your vacation house doesn’t have any easy entrances for larger pests; inspect the exterior of the house for any cracks or holes in the foundation, siding or windows where mice or rats can crawl in. Remove any overhanging tree limbs, as they may allow raccoons, roof rats, and squirrels to take up residence in the attic insulation, damaging rafters and ceilings with their droppings and gnawing.
Thoroughly cleaning your house before you lock it up until next season can help prevent an infestation. Get rid of all your food other than canned goods to avoid attracting bugs and rodents. You can keep your bedding and mattresses clean by storing everything in plastic while you’re away. Take your garbage to the dump and securely store your garbage cans. While you’re outside, bring in your grill and outdoor furniture to keep it from being knocked around in a storm or just getting dirty or rusty.
Pest control diligence doesn’t stop in the winter
At Accurate Pest Control, we can help treat your summer or vacation home, so you return to a clean and pest-free environment in the spring. Our technicians service the Capital District and many of our beautiful Adirondack lakes, such as Saratoga Lake, Lake George, and the Great Sacandaga Lake. Contact us for more information.
Happy Fall from all of us at Accurate Pest Control