Winter Months Send Pests IndoorsNPMA Staff
Friday, December 18, 2009
By NPMA Staff
Colder temperatures send wintry pests, such as rodents, spiders
and cockroaches searching for food, water and shelter indoors. The
National Pest Management Association (NPMA) provides tips for
homeowners on how to keep unwanted pests outdoors this winter
"Throughout the winter rodents such as house mice seek shelter
indoors, often causing serious and costly property damage," says
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "In
addition to property damage, winter pests contaminate food and
water sources throughout the home."
Mice are a common winter nuisance and only need a space the size
of a dime to enter a home. Once inside, mice and other rodents can
cause considerable damage and pose serious health risks to people
and pets. Mice are notorious for chewing through wires and
wallboard. Homeowners need to inspect for rodent droppings in
undisturbed areas, especially since droppings can trigger allergies
and spread disease such as Hantavirus.
During the winter months, spiders and cockroaches take advantage
of damaged or missing screens on doors and chimneys to access the
home. Once inside, cockroaches can easily contaminate unattended
food and water sources.
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 a few important measures to prevent pests this
- Seal any cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including
areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and
- Repair fascia, sofits and rotted roof shingles; some insects
are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement
foundation and windows.
- If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a
licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest