No matter the season, rodents find a reason (to get inside your home)
As the seasons change, homeowners aren’t the only ones looking to stay cozy indoors. In fact, many homeowners may notice they have unwanted house guests – rodents – as they, too, seek shelter from nature’s elements.
To promote public vigilance against rodents and the hazards they pose, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared October 20-26 to be Rodent Awareness Week. Massey Services is joining NPMA in this important effort by educating homeowners on the threat of rodents, the signs to look for and how they can lessen their chances of an infestation.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, are the most common pests this season. NPMA found that 45 percent of rodent issues occur in the fall and winter seasons. These pests are capable of causing damage to property by chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical and automotive wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.
They are also known to spread a variety of diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. Rodents can bring other unwanted pests such as fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home.
Here are some signs on how to detect rodent presence in your home:
- Droppings – Finding mice or rat droppings is the most common sign of a rodent infestation. Droppings are about 1/8 – 1/4″ long and are often left behind in places where food is stored (kitchen cabinets or pantries). Rodent fecies can carry harmful bacteria therefore it’s important to safely and promptly remove using protective gloves.
- Gnaw Marks – Rodents can chew through almost any type of material to obtain food or water. House mice and Norway rats are known to gnaw on wires behind walls – increasing the risk of a fire in the home.
- Nests – Rodents nest in dark, secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance. Some will build their nests with cotton, packing materials, wall insulation or paper products so if you find any of these around you home, it may be time to call a professional.
- Track or rub marks – Rats leave dark grease or dirt marks along walls and floorboards as they travel throughout the home for food to take back to their nest. Look for rub marks which are actually caused by the rat’s oily fur.
- Strange Noises – Hearing strange noises in the walls, especially at night, is cause for concern. Chances are, these sounds are coming from a family of rodents scurrying through the walls and attic. Rodents are fond of attics because they provide the perfect environment. The attic is often overlooked during a pest proofing process.
The NPMA offers the following advice for preventing rodents from coming indoors:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store items in plastic or sealed containers instead of cardboard boxes.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors.
- Regularly check under the hood of the car for signs of a rodent infestation.