While some pests slow down during the colder winter months, house mice do not hibernate. They remain a nuisance and a potential threat.
The winter months are prime time for potential rodent incursions into homes, apartments, and other structures. Rodents, like most pests, simply want a warm place that is in proximity to readily available to nesting materials and food and water sources. Winter’s colder temperatures and inclement weather also reduce available food sources upon which rodents rely.
How prevalent are rodents indoors during winter? The National Pest Management Association estimates that 24 percent of homeowners in the United States will report a rodent infestation, primarily house mice, over the winter months.
The secretive house mouse will carefully explore a home using wall voids, utility pipes and wires, and heating and cooling duct work while looking for food. Wall and cabinet voids near kitchen appliances (e.g., refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves) and the pantry are also popular nesting sites for mice.
Mice are patient interlopers. They will wait for the right opportunity – a door left propped open, a box of off-season clothes brought in from a storage area that they have hidden inside, a dime-sized opening in the foundation or next to a door frame they have squeezed through – to gain access to your home.
Clark, your friendly pest, rodent, termite, and grounds care expert, has long faced off with this tiny and elusive adversary. and would like to share information on common signs of a mouse infestation, where they are most likely to be spotted, and how best to prevent an infestation from taking place.
Signs of a mouse infestation
- 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.
Where mice live
In addition to the kitchen, what areas of your home are most vulnerable to attracting an unwanted rodent infestation? Rodent hot spots can include:
- Attached garages, carports, and storage areas above these locations where storage boxes, pet food, and other items are found
- Bathroom cabinet voids
- In utility rooms and areas beneath – and within – base voids of furnaces, washers, and clothes dryers
- In wall, ceiling, and floor voids
- In the insulation of attics and in the contents of the attic (e.g., storage boxes)
- In basements and crawlspaces near utility openings
- Firewood stacked next to an entry door and in brush piles in the yard
Denying rodents access to your home
Preventing rodents from gaining access to your home comes down to creating an impenetrable rodent barrier around it.
- Seal cracks in the foundation of your house or utility pipe openings with caulk or other appropriate materials.
- Check the weatherstripping around exterior doors to make sure there are no gaps.
- Inspect wires, insulation, and walls for gnaw marks, which may indicate a rodent infestation.
- Store boxes off the floor to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
- Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed and away from the house. Roof rats will use branches to access openings on your roof to get inside your attic.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
- Keep garbage and recycling can lids closed, and take out the garbage on a regular basis.
- Do not leave food out on counters or in the pantry, and pick up pet food bowls – rodents love pet food.
Clark Pest Control remains committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify you before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.
If you are experiencing an issue with rodents, don’t rely on DIY methods. Call Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.