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(NewsUSA) - As winter rolls around, most households are busy digging out their winter coats and firing up the woodstove. However, few people realize that as they gear up for festivities, pest invaders like rodents, cockroaches and nuisance wildlife are just one foundation crack, open utility pipe entry point or broken basement window away.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that the potential for pest infestations increases during the cold months of the year as pests seek shelter -- most often in people's homes.
House mice nest in dark, secluded attics and basements. In addition to carrying diseases and bacteria, causing indoor allergies and asthma attacks, they can also chew through drywall and wires, increasing the risk of electrical fires.
Keep house mice from entering the house by sealing outside cracks and holes. It's also important to keep basements and attics dry and clutter free to prevent nesting spots.
Norway rats nest in basements, piles of debris and other undisturbed materials. They can gnaw through almost anything to obtain food and water. Like house mice, Norway rats also carry diseases and pose a risk of house fires.
Fill any gaps or cracks on the outside of the home, and eliminate sources of moisture in crawl spaces and basements.
Raccoons often climb through chimneys or attics in search of a denning site, posing danger to humans. Not only can raccoons attack if they feel threatened while trapped indoors, but they are also a major host of rabies in the U.S.
To repel raccoons, store waste cans in sealed areas, or use an animal-proof lid. Check the outside of your home for access points, repair loose siding or shingles, and use a mesh cover or cap for your chimney.
German cockroaches live in small areas close to food and moisture. They can sneakily enter the home in bags and boxes, and can contaminate food sources and spread bacteria.
To defend against cockroaches, keep counters and floors clean. Vacuum frequently, and dispose of garbage regularly, paying specific attention under appliances and sinks.
Visit PestWorld.org for more information on pests and prevention tips and to find a pest professional in your area.