How to Steer Clear of Rodents This Winter

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 unfoldsIf 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!

Do It Yourself (DIY) Pest Control vs Hiring a Professional

When it comes to common insects in and around your home such as spiders, ants and even roaches, many people are bypassing the pest control professionals and are attempting to do things on their own. Applying your own pest control products may seem easy, but there is a lot more to it. The first step in controlling any pest problem in your home is correct identification.

A complete life cycle has four stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult. An incomplete life cycle has three life stages – egg, nymph and adult. If you can identify the insect: which life stage is controllable and when does it typically present itself? By the time you see the damage from disease activity, it is often too late to apply a preventative pest control treatment. Again, you need to be able to identify which insect is present and know the time that will work for controlling the insect. Identifying and treating pest problems is not as easy as you may imagine.

Deciding to DIY or Hire Pest Control Professional

Once you have identified the insect, determined the proper time to control it and purchased the correct product, making the actual application may be the easiest part – if you own the proper equipment. Is the pest control material applied in a granular formulation or is it applied as a liquid application? If it is a granular product, do you have the correct type of spreader to apply it. If it is a liquid product, what type of sprayer will work best for applying the product? You also need to know the size of the area that will be treated. The rates for most products are expressed as units per 1,000 sq. ft., such as pounds for granular products or ounces for liquid products. Most homeowners do not know the size of their lawn or landscape areas, so the amount of product applied may be too high and cause damage or too low and be ineffective.

Determining which product to use can also be a challenge. There are even some products that claim to be organic and not harm beneficial insects. These products work well, but the can does not go very far.  You may need to use four or five cans to treat around your entire home – one time.

Almost all the control products that professional lawn and tree care companies use are considered General Use products, meaning anyone can purchase and use them. Many of these products are not sold in the typical hardware store, garden center or home improvement center. This is not because they are dangerous to use, but because they are expensive to purchase or are sold in quantities that the typical homeowner will never use up. There is still a wide selection of insect control products available to purchase, but most people don’t spend the time to look at the label to determine if the active ingredient will control the pest that is being targeted.

Spring-Green Pest Control*

Not all insect control products will control all insects. Reading the product label is the most important aspect of using any pest control product. There is more to the label than target pests and application rates. There are instructions on watering and mowing requirements as well as the need to use any personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and/or boots along with eye protection. There is more to controlling pests and that includes instructions, process, and safety.  Spring-Green offers several insect control services such as Perimeter Pest Control to prevent bugs and other intruders from entering your home, and Mosquito Protection Program that creates a barrier around your home to control mosquito activity. Using a professional lawn and tree care company like Spring-Green will ensure the correct products are used at the proper time to control these pesky pests!

*Not available in all locations