Tips for closing up your cottage for winter

When cold weather starts to move in, rodents and other overwintering pests will be looking for a cozy place to call home. While you may not be using your cottage until spring, you certainly don't want to leave it accessible to little creatures.

“Rodents are notorious for sneaking into vacant cottages as the weather cools,” explains Alice Sinia, resident entomologist for Orkin Canada. “Once inside, they can breed rapidly with one pair of mice producing as many as 200 offspring in only four months.”

Avoid being greeted by pests when you return to your cottage next season. Sinia recommends taking simple steps to help protect your property from overwintering pests — like rats, mice, box elder bugs, stink bugs and cluster flies — in search of food, water, warmth and shelter.

Every cottage is different, but below are some basic tips to help prevent an infestation as you lock up for winter. You can also consult a pest management professional for a customized plan to seal off your cottage from pests throughout the cooler months.


• Clean out clogged gutters and downspouts.

• Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.

• Seal any gaps or holes in your cottage's structure.

• Make sure attic vents have covers that are firmly installed. Animals can easily pry off loose vent covers to enter an attic.

• Place a wooden cover on the chimney to discourage smaller animals from entering. This will also keep rain and snow from getting inside and creating sources of moisture that attract pests.


• Wash and completely dry all dishes and cookware before storing.

• Remove all food and liquids from the pantry and refrigerator.

• Vacuum the floors and inspect hard-to-reach areas where crumbs and residues may have built up.

• Check the pipes to be sure there aren't any leaks.