A little grey House Mouse is sitting by its nest in an old antique chair.

How to outsmart mice and rats this fall and winter

National Rodent Awareness Week is October 22 – 28. How much do you really know about mice and rats?

Although the temperature can vary in the Western U.S., rodents can still be a problem in the fall for homeowners. Mice and rats may be forced into new areas to look for food, and sometimes warmth, as the seasons change. This could bring them close to your home. To keep them out of your home, you need to be able to outsmart them. Western Exterminator is here to help you do that.

To help you stay prepared this season, we’ve published a new Rodent Prevention Tips Sheet, now available for download. Here’s what you’ll learn in the new sheet:

  • Facts about mice and rats and how they enter your home
  • The 3 most common house-infesting rodents in the U.S.
  • Diseases, pathogens, and health risks associated with rats and mice in North America
  • Simple steps that you can take to stop mice and rats from getting into your house

Often, taking measures to keep mice and rats out of your home can also help realize improvements in energy savings as well. For example, doing a check of your insulation in attic and crawl space areas on an annual basis can ensure that rodents aren’t running amok in your storage space and that your home isn’t losing heating or cooling efficiency.

cs4-chewed-cables-300715-1Rodents may also bring problems to your home that you may not immediately associate with mice and rats. Rodents can gnaw or chew on electrical wiring, or build nests near these areas. This could pose the potential for electrical shorts and pose fire hazards.

 

If you are a Western pestfree365 customer, your Specialist will conduct a full evaluation of your home at your fall or winter service visit. This check includes a detailed review of common rodent entry points and risk areas in your home. This valuable service gives you peace of mind, knowing that your home is secure.

If your Specialist identifies a potential problem or rodent entry point, he or she will provide you with recommendations for correcting the issue and offer to assist with any needed exclusion services.

Outside of your home, you should also be aware of rodents. Mice and rats can also bring risks to areas that you and your family may visit this fall. Recently, a California woman contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-borne disease, reportedly after being bitten by a tick while visiting a pumpkin patch.

  • Ticks, along with other pests such as fleas and mites, feed on rodents. In cornfields, pumpkin patches, and even Christmas tree farms, rodents may be present and bring with them other dangerous pests.
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing and conduct a full tick-check of yourself and family members after visiting these types of attractions.
  • Check out our recent post with 20 pest tips for your fall hike for more information on how to protect yourself and your family during outdoor activities.

Here are some other facts about rodents that you may not know and that can be useful in keeping your home and family protected:

  • Food isn’t the only thing that attracts mice. Many items in your home could make great nesting material for mice. They’ll look for paper, fabrics, or other materials on which to gnaw to get softer materials for their nests.
  • Mice can breed year-round. Under ideal conditions, a female house mouse can produce up to 60 offspring in a year.
  • Rodent droppings and urine can contain pathogens that can be dangerous when they become airborne or when you come in contact with them. Use a face mask or respirator when cleaning out areas that you know have had mice or rat activity or that have been closed for periods of time: garages, cottages and mountain homes, campers, sheds, etc.
  • Rats’ teeth are literally tougher than iron. The enamel on their teeth is 5.5 on Mohs hardness scale. They can easily gnaw through many common household substances.
  • A healthy female rat can produce up to 6 litters per year of 6-12 young, or pups, each. That’s quite a few rats!
  • Rats may be sly, but they can’t hide from their biology. These rodent pests have very oily coats. When they run along walls or other areas, their fur leaves grease or “rub marks” behind – these often look like dark “streaks” or dirt marks.

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This Rodent Awareness Week, take a few minutes to review our Rodent Prevention Tips Sheet and assess your home’s security against rodents. If you think your home might have a proverbial door open to rodents, give Western a call today at 888-674-0955 or contact us online so that we can work with you to protect your home and family before cooler temperatures settle in for the season.

Krissie Callahan

As the Communications Manager for Rentokil North America, Krissie specializes in writing, editing, and shaping both internal and marketing messages for the company. When she's not at work, you can usually find her taking in a live music performance in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.

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