The crisp autumn air has settled in for good and we are all seeking the warmth of our homes or even a cozy fire. Autumn has signaled that the colder, harsher weather of winter is yet to come. Rodents, while unable to read a calendar, also know that winter is just around the corner by these environmental changes. That means they, too, are beginning to plan for the harshness of a New England winter. That is why this time of year, specifically the third week (or so) of October, that we observe “Rodent Awareness Week.”
Unlike many pests that have an active season and a dormant season, rats and mice are active all year long. However, there is usually an uptick in rodent infestations as temperatures cool every fall and winter. It is this time of year that nature has signalled to these rodents that they need to find shelter to survive the winter. The cold temperatures and varying degrees of precipitation require that these pests find not only shelter but access to food and water, too. Your home may make a perfect location!
Many homeowners don’t quite know what to look for in regard to signs that they may have a growing rodent problem inside their home or around their property. Here are a few red flags to be aware of.
- Droppings – Mice and Rats leave droppings wherever they are inhabiting. Mouse droppings are small, less than one quarter inch, and pointed on both ends. Rat droppings are half an inch or longer.
- Odor – Mice and rats also need to urinate and can leave a musty smelling, pungent odor after urinating the same spots time after time.
- Rub Marks and Runways – Mice and rats leave oily rub marks along their common walkways. Common rodent pathways or runways are generally along interior walls, building foundations, ledges, pipes, electrical wires, conduits, tree branches and fence rails.
- Gnawing Indications – Do you see insulations, storage containers, or other clutter in your garage, attic, or basement that appears to have been gnawed? This is a sure sign that you have some pests. You may also notice shredded paper, string, and other items that these rodent have made into nests for their young.
- Noises – Many homeowners notice noises especially at night of scratching or scurrying. This may also be an indicator as these creatures are nocturnal.
- Unusual Pet Behavior – If your dog or cat seems to be barking or pacing around walls, outlets, or other areas, they may be trying to tell you that there are mice or rats in your home.
There is no 100% sure fire way to stop these creatures from entering your home but here are a few ideas to help you prevent an infestation.
- Clean Up – Keep clutter to a minimum in the less frequented areas of your home such as: the attic, garage, or basement. The fewer places there are to hide, the better.
- Seal up openings that lead into your home. Mice can fit into a space the size of a dime! Inspect under doors, around windows and especially near utility vents.
- Replace broken windows.
- Avoid using mulch adjacent to the foundation.
- Keep bushes and trees trimmed back from your home.
- Do not store firewood within the immediate vicinity of the house.
Prevention also means taking action as soon as you suspect a problem. Our experts can determine the extent of the problem and create a plan of treatment. Call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.