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14 Ways to Keep Out Fall Pests

Fall is the season where bugs and pests start seeking warmer areas to eat and sleep – and that makes your home a popular destination. That includes ants, fleas, cockroaches, boxelder bugs, and many more species that can damage your home or ruin your food and clothing. Here are the important steps you can take to prevent entry from these insects!

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Clean Up the Yard and GarageFamily Handyman

Clean Up the Yard and Garage

Bugs are attracted to leaves, mulch, wet soil, and other common fall materials. So clean them up! Make sure debris doesn't stay piled on your lawn or against your house (this includes mulching projects). Take the time to clean any trash in your garage or shed as well, so fall pests have fewer places to hide.

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Trim Trees and Bushessauletas/Shutterstock

Trim Trees and Bushes

Generally, you never want branches or leaves close to your house, especially if they are brushing against your roof or siding. This makes it much easier for fall pests to gain entry, and can cause other problems during storms. So trim your plant growth down before it gets too chilly!

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Inspect Your Crawlspaces and BasementFamily Handyman

Inspect Your Crawlspaces and Basement

After the days have grown shorter, take a flashlight and protective clothing into your crawlspaces and/or basement and have a look around. Look for large, obvious nests of shredded material, which indicate rodents. Watch for smaller signs too, like lines of ants or scrambling cockroaches looking for a winter home. And remove these fall pests and find out how they gained entry to stop future incursions.

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Put All Food in Storage Containers

Put All Food in Storage Containers

Ditch the bags and clothespins: Store all your food in sealed storage containers instead. And they are easier to access, better for storage, and help keep out weevils and other curious, hungry bugs. This is also a good plan for pet food.

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Fix Condensation or Moisture ProblemsFamily Handyman

Fix Condensation or Moisture Problems

Attic condensation problems, leaking pipes, ceiling leaks – fix all of it while there is time. Not only can these moisture issues cause serious problems in freezing weather, they also encourage mold, bugs and other fall pests.

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Make Sure All Gaps are Insulated

Make Sure All Gaps are Insulated

Look not only for larger gaps in your attic or garage, but watch for small, unsealed gaps where electrical lines and pipes enter your house. Bugs, mice and other fall pests love these small gaps. So caulk them closed or use expanding foam insulation to deny entry.

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Keep Weather-Stripping Repaired and Windows Sealed

Keep Weather-Stripping Repaired and Windows Sealed

Weather-stripping refers to the bristles and felt around your doors and windows. So replace any worn-away weather stripping so there are no gaps. And keep windows tightly closed unless they have screens.

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Protect Your ChimneyFamily Handyman

Protect Your Chimney

Install a chimney cap and screen to keep out fall pests like rodents and birds. Not only can they do damage, but they often bring in smaller bugs that will take up residence in your home.

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Store Firewood Away from the House Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock

Store Firewood Away from the House

While firewood may be an important winter staple in your home, it's also a magnet for fall pests that will happily make the jump into the house. So store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house, and only bring in as much as is necessary.

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Repair Any Torn Screens or NetsFamily Handyman

Repair Any Torn Screens or Nets

Windows screens, mosquito nets, and similar barriers protect against inquisitive summer and fall pests, but only if they provide complete protection. And as long as the frame is in good shape repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes. Here's how to make your screen door or window look good as new.

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Check Stored Clothes and Bedding for Bug ProblemsMy Hardy/Shutterstock

Check Stored Clothes and Bedding for Bug Problems

Do you have seasonal clothes or bedding that you are bringing out of storing? Wash and dry it all thoroughly to kill any waiting bug eggs, and inspect everything for signs of an infestation before you pack it away – or start wearing it.

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Check for Bed Bugs After TripsFamily Handyman

Check for Bed Bugs After Trips

Fall and winter are popular times for bed bugs, which travel easily on clothes during the holidays. Check for bed bugs after visiting others, or being visited by overnight guests. Remember bed bugs can live in couches as well as mattresses. And clean any vacation clothes immediately.

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Don't Leave Food Out for Long PeriodsCristi Lucaci/Shutterstock

Don't Leave Food Out for Long Periods

Make it a rule to never leave food out overnight, including dirty plates. These draw in hungry fall pests that will happily make your kitchen their winter home.

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Arrange for an Inspection of Any Insect NestsFamily Handyman

Arrange for an Inspection of Any Insect Nests

If you find an ant nest or termite next, call for professional help. Experienced pest control companies will be able to measure the severity of the infestation and choose the right methods to make sure the bugs don't come back. Plus: How to Get Rid of Ants