Unfortunately for many homeowners, the fall and winter are prime times for pests to invade a residence. While nobody wants to see a variety of rodents, insects and other critters throughout a house, many species will try to get in as the temperature starts to drop.

However, property owners have a number of tools at their disposal to combat these issues. A home inspection is a sound strategy to identify where pests could be making their nests and potentially causing damage, and most intruders enter through common points that may need to be sealed off during the fall.

Pest prevention starts outside

While few people concern themselves with the number of pests living outside the house, the conditions near a home can also contribute to animals finding ways to move indoors, according to Bayer Advanced. The changing seasons often act as a trigger for pests, signaling that it is time to move inside.

Therefore, homeowners should start their fall pest control on the exterior of the residence. Too many factors outside can lead to insects and rodents living in the warmth and comfort of a house during the winter. First off, the area immediately surrounding the home needs to be investigated. A property inspection could help with this step, and some common problems could be major causes of a pest invasion.

Moreover, any debris or clutter up against a house can be pathways for insects to head inside, the news source noted. Gutters and downspouts are common habitats for pests, so these components should be cleaned regularly. They should also be moving water away from the foundation. Any moisture build-up can lead to serious infestation problems, among other damaging results.

Additionally, firewood and trash bins can also attract pest toward a home. In that case, both items should be stored in a location away from the actual residence. Not only will insects be attracted to trash, but so will larger rodents and other vermin. Trees and shrubs should also be trimmed back. Many different types of flora can cause damage to a property. A home inspection could spot problem areas that need to be fixed. 

Take pest control indoors

While the habitat outside of a house can be a leading cause of a pest infestation, the entry points and other contributing factors inside the property can make as much of a difference.

It doesn't take a lot of space for a rodent or insect to get inside - rats only need a dime-sized opening while raccoons and larger vermin can squeeze through a space only six inches wide, according to Popular Mechanics. Therefore, homeowners should begin by inspecting the exterior walls to spot any gaps that could lead to a pest problem. Any lingering concerns could also be addressed by a property inspection.

In addition, the windows and doors are common entry points for a reason, the news source noted. Their size and accessibility makes them very attractive to pests, and existing screens or damaged areas could contribute to an infestation. All cracks should also be sealed, and the fix can even be as simple as affordable caulking, foam or weatherstripping.

A home inspection can also help identify repairs and remodels that weren't completed correctly. Many fixes like this don't get installed properly, and many homeowners fall under the guise of "out of sight, out of mind." However, leaving openings or other hazards for an extended period of time could contribute to a pest problem, especially during the fall and winter.

Overall, property owners who are vigilant and take preventative measures to keep insects and rodents outside could have the best luck. It doesn't take a lot for these pests to break inside, so regular maintenance is a must for a safe and secure house.