Winter's Chill Drives Rodents Indoors

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

By NPMA Staff

 

During the chilly winter months, most people seek refuge in the warmth of their homes, but they are not alone. From October through February, rodents, including mice, rats and squirrels, often take shelter in homes, causing potential hazards to both health and property.

Rodents seek to protect themselves from winter's chill by invading your home, says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter and are a considerable health and property nuisance.

Rodents can enter homes through almost any opening. Once inside, rodents can cause severe damage as they can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of a fire.

Henriksen advises homeowners to inspect for rodent droppings in undisturbed areas, including pantries, attics, and garages as these droppings can cause allergies and disease, such as Hantavirus.

NPMA also recommends taking these precautions to keep rodents outside:

  • Make sure all holes, cracks and voids are sealed.
  • Don't overlook proper drainage at the foundation and install gutters.
  • Keep branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • If you find rodents in your home, call a local pest professional to identify and correct the problem.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed limiting the use of several rodent bait products to certified applicators who have had sufficient training to know when and how to use these products in order to limit risks. Although homeowners will be prohibited from purchasing these rodenticides, licensed pest professionals will be allowed to purchase and apply these products to meet critical public health needs.

Homeowners facing rodent problems can benefit from the knowledge and training of licensed pest professionals in areas such as rodent biology and integrated pest management. They should feel encouraged to contact a pest professional for a complete inspection and treatment, if necessary.