During the colder months, warm-blooded rodents head indoors just as humans do. Once inside for the winter, they loathe to head back outside, where accommodations are not so cozy and meals not so easy to come by.
Known disease carriers, rodents can threaten the health of your family by spreading Salmonella, Hantavirus and other disease-causing germs. They also have been known to cause fires by gnawing through electrical wiring.
“Rodents can reproduce rapidly once inside your home,” says Bill Melville, a 35-year pest management veteran and quality assurance director for Orkin PCO Services (orkincanada.com). “Just one pair of mice can produce up to 200 offspring in four months.”
To help prevent rodent infestations, Melville suggests the following:
• Seal any holes around the exterior of your home with copper wool and weather-proof sealant. Rodents only need a hole the size of a dime to enter.
• Trim back landscaping. Rodents don’t like to be out in the open and will use overgrown shrubs as cover when trying to enter your home.
• Store all food in re-sealable containers and cover trash receptacles with a tight fitting lid.
• Vacuum regularly to eliminate food debris and never leave dirty dishes in the sink.
“By eliminating pests’ access to food, water and shelter you can significantly reduce your chances for an infestation,” says Melville. “Prevention goes a long way in keeping rodents out of your home.”
Think you already have an infestation? Melville points to these signs indicating rodents are in the home:
• Chew marks – Rodents gnaw constantly, so keep an eye out for chew marks around baseboards and door frames.
• Droppings – Rat droppings are the size of a raisin while mouse droppings are the size of a grain of rice.
• Rub marks – Rodents have poor eyesight so they tend to rub against a wall while traveling and use the same path repeatedly. Look for greasy rub marks along the wall.
If you spot any of these signs, call a licensed pest management professional to evaluate the problem and determine the best treatment options for your home.