How to Winterize Your Summer Home from Pests

Nothing symbolizes the end of summer more than closing up a camp, lake house, or cabin. After that final Labor Day weekend blow-out with friends and family, it’s time to prepare your summer retreat for months of solitude. Some lucky people use their vacation home well into fall, or even return in the winter for activities like snowshoeing and skiing. And Modern Pest can be a year-round visitor to keep an eye on your off-season pest control needs. But whether you’re leaving your house for six months or just a week, there are steps you should take to winterize your investment and protect it from pests.

Rustic cabin on a lake

Want to protect your summer home from fall and winter pests? Call Modern Pest today at 1-800-323-7378, or click here to schedule service!

There are various aspects to winterizing a home, indoors and out, and from plumbing to electricity. This blog will focus on the pest control aspect of winterizing. It’s good to make a checklist of what needs to be done around the interior and exterior of your property. A list will also help when you want to reopen your getaway and undo what you did. The steps are worth it, because pests can do extensive damage to a property when there’s no one around to prevent it.

Interior Prep


Sealed jars in a pantry
  • Remove all perishable food. Spoiled food will attract a variety of pests.
  • Store any remaining dry food in air-tight and animal-tight containers. Or use aluminum-lined cupboards or cabinets. Things like boxes of cereal or crackers can attract insects and rodents.


  • Close the dampers for all fireplaces. Seal the boxes to prevent critters from entering the cabin through the chimney.
  • If you must leave the electricity on for temperature control, unplug all electrical appliances (including microwaves and TVs) to avoid a fire in the event of rodents gnawing on wires.

Cleaning Up

  • Wash all linens, bedding, and towels. Store them in plastic or metal bins. Strip beds to allow mattresses to air out.
  • Open empty drawers and closets. Place mothballs around the interior of the cabin to deter pests.
  • Vacuum carpets and floors to ensure that no crumbs or other sources of food remain.
  • Take out all trash and wash all trash receptacles. Put soap, sponges, candles, and other possible sources of food in a secure container.

Exterior Prep

Sealing Holes and Leaks

  • Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, pipes, windows and doors. Seal the leaks with caulk or insulation to keep out cold air and pests.
  • Check for cracks or openings in your foundation and between the foundation and the walls. Fill any small cracks with caulk. Fill larger cracks with wire mesh or steel wool and expandable foam. The metal will keep pests from chewing through.
  • Inspect for damage to siding, which is likely caused by larger animals chewing on wood. If this is happening, spray the lower siding all around your cabin with an anti-chewing spray.

Secure Storage

Family Raking Leaves in Fall
  • Make sure vents are open on the crawl space under the house but that the crawl space itself is secure against animals.
  • Secure grills and smokers in a shed or basement so animals don’t use them for shelter. Rodents will chew on wiring and wooden handles or shelves. Thoroughly clean off any food remnants so animals aren’t attracted to the smell.
  • Put away all bird feeders and any remaining bagged pet food. Secure it in animal-proof containers.
  • Clean up the area around your camp. Mice will hide in leaf piles, bricks, compost piles, and old piles of wood. A nest near your cabin could easily turn into a nest in your cabin.
  • Firewood and compost piles should be located a minimum of 20 feet from your cabin. Both are ideal nests for rodents, as well as spiders, beetles, and carpenter ants.

If you want the security of Modern Pest checking on your vacation home, call 1-800-323-7378 or click to schedule service today!

The Modern Solution

If you’re going to be away for an extended period, Modern Pest Services can monitor your investment and make sure pests aren’t taking over while you’re away. Modern’s Homecare Green service protects against 60 common household pests, including mice, rats, and ants. Modern’s Wildlife Control team can take care of issues involving raccoons, bats, squirrels, and several other nuisance animals. Call Modern today at 1-800-323-7378 to schedule service or get more information. Let us protect your second home from pests when you can’t be there.Modern Pest logo