Biting Temperatures Send Rodents Scrambling IndoorsNPMA Staff
Monday, January 11, 2010
By NPMA Staff
Across the country, bitter cold temperatures and winter force
more than just people indoors. Rodents such as mice, rats and
squirrels can pose significant risks to people and their
properties. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers
solutions for homeowners on how to keep rodents from coming indoors
during the winter season.
"Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United
States every winter," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of
public affairs for NPMA. "Not only can rodents cause serious and
costly property damage but the health risks associated with them
should be of serious concern to homeowners."
Bats and rodents can also pose real threats to the health of a
homeowner and his or her family. The accumulation of their feces
can spread bacteria and viruses. Once this accumulated mass becomes
dry, it can be hazardous to those who breathe it in.
Mice are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each
year, an estimated 70 times each day. Rodent droppings can trigger
allergies and spread disease including Hantavirus - causing
headaches, fever, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Rodents can
chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical
wiring, increasing the risk of a house fire. Henriksen points out
that rats only need an entry point the size of a quarter to access
NPMA offers these important measures to prevent a rodent
infestation during the winter season:
- Inspect wires, insulation and walls for signs of an
- Store boxes and containers off the floor and organize items
often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
- Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and
pipes enter the home.
- Keep tree branches, shrubbery and ground covering well trimmed
and away from the house.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five
inches off the ground.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls
or observe other signs, contact a licensed pest professional to
inspect and treat the pest problem.