Early Arrival of Winter Weather Drives Rodents IndoorsNPMA Staff
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Across the country, chilly temperatures and early snowstorms are
forcing more than just people indoors. Rodents including mice, rats and squirrels are
seeking food, water and shelter in homes. Unfortunately, more bad
weather could be on the way as the
Farmers' Almanac is forecasting a season of unusually cold and
stormy weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect
themselves and their families from rodent infestations during
"Rodents invade an estimated
21 million homes in the United States every winter," said Missy
Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "But with
many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is
important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests
from becoming unwelcome houseguests."
The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread
bacteria and contaminate food sources. These rodent droppings are known to
trigger allergies and cause diseases including Hantavirus and
Salmonella. In addition to health risks, rodents can chew through
wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing
the risk of a house fire.
NPMA offers the following tips to avoid a rodent infestation:
- Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage
- Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including
areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement
foundation and windows.
- Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off
- Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls
or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest
For more information about household
pests and to find a local pest professional, visit
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