No Matter the Season, Rodents Find a Reason to Come Indoors

Friday, January 21, 2011

By NPMA Staff

 

With high heating bills and snow to shovel, homeowners have plenty to worry about in the winter months. Yet winter brings one more concern that most homeowners rarely consider - that is until it becomes a problem. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), winter is a prime season for rodent infestations with 24% of homeowners reporting mice infestations specifically in the winter.

Rodent infestations can be more than just an annoyance.  Mice bring other pests, such as fleas, mites, ticks and lice, indoors, which can quickly spread throughout homes. More, these rodents can contaminate food sources with feces that can spread Salmonella and Hantavirus.

In addition to health problems, mice can also cause structural damage to homes. "Mice are known to bite through walls, wood and wires," says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. "The damage to wiring within walls can cause house fires." Additionally, mice have the potential to breed up to a dozen babies every three weeks, which makes it important to take steps to prevent them from entering your home before a major infestation can develop.

NPMA recommends that homeowners take proactive steps to prevent a rodent infestation during the winter:

  • Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks, which may indicate an infestation.
  • Store boxes and containers off of the floor and organize items often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
  • Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
  • Seal cracks and holes on your home's exterior, including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.