It is the type of news homeowners don’t want to hear: a pest that has the potential to be a nuisance and threat all year around.
Mice and rats can threaten your living space from January to December, but winter is the prime season for rodent incursions into homes. Rodents, like most pests, simply seek a warmer place to establish a nest that’s in close proximity food, water and nesting materials.
Another reason rodents try to move indoors is that winter’s colder temperatures, and the heavy rains and snow in some areas of California, reduce available food sources outdoors significantly that these animals normally rely on to sustain their brood.
The National Pest Management Association estimates rodents will invade more than 21 million homes across the United States this winter, and the leading rodent perpetrator this winter is the house mouse.
The curious house mouse will explore a home readily, using wall voids, utility pipes and wires, and heating and cooling ducts to move around in search of food. Wall and cabinet voids near kitchen appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves) and the pantry provide popular nesting sites for mice.
These mice are patient invaders that will wait for just the right opportunity – a door left propped open, a box of off-season clothes brought in from a storage area where they can hide, an open bag of pet food or a dime-sized opening in the foundation or door frame – to enter your home.
How do you know if you have a mouse problem? Common signs of a possible infestation include:
- Rodent droppings (usually black in color and ¼- to ½-inch long) and urine (best detected using a black light)
- Chewed electrical, computer or cable wiring (a major cause of electrical fires)
- Unexplained chewing or gnaw marks on carpet, upholstery, drapes, furniture, and baseboards
In addition to the kitchen, what areas of your home are most vulnerable to attracting an unwanted rodent infestation? The Clark Man has identified the following “rodent hot spots”:
- Attached garages, carports and storage areas above these locations where storage boxes, pet food and other items are found
- Bathroom cabinet voids
- Utility rooms and areas beneath them, and within base voids of furnaces, washers and clothes dryers
- Wall, ceiling and floor voids.
- Attic insulation and in the contents of the attic (i.e., storage boxes)
- Basements and crawlspaces near utility openings
- Firewood stacked next to the house and near a door
The Clark Man recommends that you seal cracks in the foundation of your house or utility pipe openings with caulk or other appropriate materials to deny rodents easy access, and check to ensure the weatherstripping around exterior doors is in good repair.
Remember, if you think you have a rodent problem in your home, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.