As chilly weather sets in over the next few months, the local rodent population will be looking for a warm place to stay, and your home may end up being their destination. If you don’t take the time to mouse- and rat-proof your house now, you can bet that some of these furry friends will find a way in, noshing on your food supply and bringing diseases along with them.
Rodents are difficult to control and keep out of warm indoor spaces—a mouse, for instance, can squeeze through a hole smaller than a dime. They’re also dangerous, as they can cause a house fire just by gnawing through electrical wires, and spread disease. These are transferred through urine, feces, rodent bites, and ticks, mites and fleas that feed on infected rodents. Common rodent-carried diseases include hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which causes flu-like symptoms and sometimes death, and LCMV, a viral infectious disease that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and/or inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and can pose a major threat to pregnant women and their unborn children. Rodents also can also carry fleas and mites known to spread rickettsialpox, plague and murine typhus.
While four percent of all Americans typically find rodents in their homes, the percentage is nine percent among households in the Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The three most common rodent pests in the U.S. are the Norway rat, roof rat and the house mouse. You’ll know a house mouse by its light gray color, small and slender body, and nose-to-tail length of five to seven inches. A female house mouse can produce 42 to 60 offspring in a single year.
There are several things you can do to avoid playing host to any rodent species this winter. Start by sealing all cracks larger than a quarter of an inch, and install weather stripping along the bottom of exterior doors. Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over your home, and make sure that garbage and recycling bins are tightly sealed. Indoors, avoid leaving dishes in the sink or pet food bowls full overnight. Keep all foods in sealed containers, and maintain a clean home. You should also inspect the exterior and interior of your home for rodent droppings, burrows, and rub marks along baseboards and walls. If you find evidence of rodents, it’s important to contact a licensed pest management professional for help in identifying and eliminating the problem.
Make your house mouse-proof
If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent rodents from joining you indoors for the winter, visit Orkin.com. You’ll find a range of useful information to help identify and eliminate rodent issues, including a pest library where you can look up any species you’ve spotted in or near your home. You can also find a local Orkin pest control pro to help eliminate rodents, and arrange for a free pest control estimate.