I think that this might be the worse year for spiders that I can remember. I have had more phone calls for spiders this month then I had all of last year! Much of this has to do with the mild winter that we had last year. The spider population managed to gut it out and survive far better then in past years and now we are feeling the effects of it.
There are a few things that you can do to keep spiders out of your home. First, if you have shrubs close to your home that are touching the structure, you should trim them back. First, this gives shelter to all kinds of insects and where insects are, spiders will follow to get a free meal. Also, think about winterizing your home by installing weather stripping and door sweeps. This will not only keep the cold out, but also the spiders.
Rats and mice are by far the most troublesome winter pest. They do a good job of getting access to your crawl space and nest in your nice, warm insulation without you even knowing about it. The problem is that this can create a contaminated crawl space and may require you to consider doing a costly crawl space restoration if it gets out of hand.
There are some simple preventative measures that you can take that will go a really long way. First, do a quick walk around your home and check the foundation vent screens. Are they all intact? Are there any gaps where rodents can get in? I cannot tell you how much money you could save just by plugging up holes in your vent screens. Many times, your cable guy will come in and punch out a screen to run a wire and just leave a gaping hole for rodents to enter. You can repair these using screen mesh and some screws (this is better aesthetically if you do this from inside the crawl space, not outside). But, if you want to go the easy route, you can just put one of those foam inserts that are designed to insulate your vent screens during the winter.
Lastly, you can look for burrowing holes. As a rule of thumb, look for golf ball size holes (mice) and tennis ball size holes (rats). If you do see burrow holes, I would caution you from covering them up. This might cause the rodents to be trapped and die under your home. My recommendation is going to be self serving, but I recommend you call Wildwoods Pest Control to take care of the problem first and then cover the holes.
If you do these simple steps, you can go a long way in eliminating pest problems during the fall and winter. If you need some help or just have a few questions, we would be pleased to take your call!