Chilly Rodents Seek Cozy Homes This WinterNPMA Staff
Friday, December 10, 2010
Humans aren't the only creatures concerned with keeping
warm this winter. While some animals hibernate or grow thick winter
coats for warmth, others enter our homes, where they make
unwelcome house guests. According to the National Pest
Management Association (NPMA), rodents invade about
21 million homes each winter. In fact, 24 percent of
homeowners report mice and rat
infestations during the winter months.
Rodents aren't just
unpleasant tenants -- they also spread disease and cause
structural damage. Mice and rats spread salmonella
bacteria and hantavirus, and they can carry
other disease-causing pests, such as
ticks, fleas and lice.
Rodents can also chew through wood and electrical wires --
many have been responsible for house fires. And once rodents move
in, they quickly make themselves at home: a female mouse can
have as many as 12 babies every three weeks.
It's much easier to prevent a rodent infestation than to remove
them after they've turned your home into their new abode. The
NPMA provides the following tips to keep mice and rodents
out of your home:
- Secure your home. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your
home to help prevent mice and rats from using easy entry ways.
Pay special attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter
the home. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the
basement foundation and windows.
- Don't build rodent attractions near your home. Store firewood
at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
Keep shrubberies cut back from the house.
- Make sure your home isn't rodent-friendly. Rodents can hide in
clutter, so keep areas clear, and store boxes off of the
floor. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and
clogged drains. Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
- If you suspect an infestation, contact a pest professional.
Hiring a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the
problem is the most effective solution to eliminate rodent
For more information on winter pest-proofing and other
pest-related issues, visit www.pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization
with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support
the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of
public health, food and property.