If you are like most residents of Southeastern Arizona, you are preparing for winter, or at least our version of it. One of the most unpleasant items to check off your list is trimming back all of the annual bushes, plants and grasses, and let them settle in for whatever cold weather is coming our way this year.

This means the bird of paradise that has grown nearly eight feet tall this year, the lantana and its cascading flowers, even the verbena with its purple blooms long exhausted, all need to be taken down to little stumps of stems. There are a number of decorative grasses that will also get trimmed down to make room for when spring shows up and we start all over.

This has consequences to the amount of insect activity you will begin to see around the exterior and possibly the interior of your home. As these plants are trimmed, the areas that many pests, cockroaches, crickets, pill bugs, earwigs and even ants, will be uncovered, and they will start, albeit reluctantly, to seek out new harborage to survive the winter.

How can you prevent these little guys from making our house theirs? Here are a few practical tips to winterize your home and keep the bugs on the outside:

  1. Stand inside your home during the brightest part of the day and look at your edges of your door. If you see sunlight, insects can get inside your home! Install weather stripping or door sweeps to easily solve this.
  2. Make sure there is something in the garage to detect or intercept rodent activity. This is often the first place rats and mice will establish a foothold. Devices that control them, or provide early warning of their activity, will allow you to move quickly and stop them from spreading throughout your home.
  3. Schedule your pest control professional to be there the afternoon after trimming takes place. They can do a thorough inspection of recently uncovered areas, accompanied by an application of preventative products.
  4. When storing the holiday decorations, consider replacing any old cardboard boxes or containers with plastic bins. They are much more resistant to insect and rodent activity and their rigid siding protects your stuff a lot better than the original containers.

Hopefully these four steps will keep your holidays and winter focused on friends and family and not elsewhere.

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