No, we’re not referring to out of town family that visits during the holiday season – we’re talking about mice and rats. Many people mistakenly think they don’t have to worry about rodents during the colder months or have the incorrect impression that mice and rats hibernate during winter. So, now that we’ve clarified that a mice or rat infestation CAN actually occur during winter, let’s unpack exactly how homeowners can avoid this undesirable situation. Our guide will lay out some easy preventative steps that can be taken to keep rodents out all year round as well as the correct steps to take if a rodent infestation has occurred.
Everything You Need to Know to Keep Rats Out This Winter
First, let’s talk about the how and the why – You might be asking yourself, how do rodents enter homes in winter and/or why? Rodents are warm body mammals. So they seek warm places to survive the cold winter temps. Additionally, food becomes scarcer during winter months, so rodents get desperate for places to get food and shelter. These opportunistic rodents will also be drawn to homes that have more to offer them. It’s a good idea to take a quick survey to see if your home has some of those factors that can attract rats, such as:
- Indoor messiness – If you leave food out or don’t clean up, you might be setting the stage for a rodent infestation.
- Outdoor clutter – Rodents are looking for shelter from the cold. Take a quick scan around the outdoor of your home to see if you provide through woodpiles, leaf piles, shrubs or debris.
- Pet cleanliness – If you are a pet owner, you’re more likely to have rodents visit your home. These pesky mice and rats are attracted to your pet’s food and excrement.
- Easy access – If you leave access to food in your trash cans or compost heaps and standing water around your property ready for rats and mice to partake in, you’re leaving yourself open to an unwanted visitor.
An ounce of prevention will keep the rodents away – Now that we’ve determined that the threat of rats and mice is real even in winter months, your next likely question is how to keep mice and rats from entering your home. Good question. Preventing rodents from coming into your home is the best strategy. Here’s how you can keep them at bay:
- Secure the attic by closing holes and openings, especially along the roofline. It’s also good to clear away items that provide shelter for rodents like clothes and debris.
- Check your basement for possible entry points. Look for cracks in your foundation or gaps in your plumbing and ductwork that leads outside and are easy entry points for rats and mice. You can look and listen for air drafts as well that indicate how rodents are getting inside.
- The garage is another common place for rats and mice to sneak into your home during winter. Keep your garage tidy and seal off entry points to proactively keep the rodents from getting in through this part of your home.
- Access to the inside of walls and heating/cooling ductwork is another common entry point into the home. It may require a professional’s help, but closing unnecessary openings can definitely help you avoid the potential for a rodent infestation.
Here’s your game plan if the worst-case scenario unfolds – If you’re already dealing with mice or rats inside your home, here what to do to get rid of these unwanted house guests. Unfortunately, if you see one mouse or one rat, chances are high that there are more. The key is to act swiftly to prevent the problem from growing. Here are some signs that should tip you off that you have rodents in your home:
- Bite marks on packages of food
- Shorting in wiring such as lights or appliances that can occur due to chewing on cords and cables
- Small black specks that could be droppings around the house – the harder the droppings the older they are
Mousetraps of different styles, electric traps and poison are options to consider depending on the severity of the issue and the area of your home that are affected by the mice and rat infestation. At this point, it might make the best sense to hire a professional to help you address the issue quickly, while at the same time assessing your home for places where it is left vulnerable to rodent entrance.
Spring-Green is more than just your neighborhood lawn care specialist. We also help our communities deal with pest control, starting with prevention but also including assistance should a rodent infestation happen in your home. You can count on our team of professionals to be there for you when you need them. To rid your home of rats and mice as well as provide the support to prevent them from coming back.
For a consultation of your home’s vulnerable spots or for assistance removing mice or rats from your home, contact Spring-Green today!