Ahh, winter in New England… with its snow covered evergreens, frozen lakes and sledding hills it’s like a picturesque scene from a holiday movie. Oh who am I kidding, winter is mostly composed of cars spinning off the road, long hours shoveling the driveway and grumbled complaints about how much everyone hates the weather. But with some help from long underwear and hot coffee, we all miraculously power through to when the snow clears in April (or May… or in the case of Boston in 2015, July.)
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This time of year is tough on the other members of the animal kingdom, too. We have all heard about how birds fly south and bears hibernate to survive the winter chill, but have you ever wondered what happens to rodents when the temperature plummets? Mice are not able to hibernate and don’t migrate so in order to stay alive they have the same basic needs as humans: warmth and food. Some species, such as deer mice, fatten themselves up in the fall and stockpile seeds and nuts to last them through the winter season. They sleep in burrows during the day and are not known to venture into buildings. House mice are more active in the winter searching for food and warm places to live. It’s difficult for them to find food when trees are bare and there’s snow on the ground so they seek alternate sources such as bird seed, pet food, and garbage. That translates into bad news for homeowners, as it leads to rodents invading an estimated 21 million US homes every winter!
Once rodents have been attracted by a nearby food source, it’s an easy move into your home. The presence of rodents should be taken seriously as they can cause significant destruction to your house and belongings. Mice must constantly gnaw their teeth in order to keep them filed down and will chew on just about anything including paper, cloth, wood, and even the insulation around wires, which could result in a house fire. They can damage your home’s insulation by using the material to build their nests, or opt to burrow into upholstered furniture. They have even been known to nest inside vehicles in the garage, and could cause costly damage to the wiring. Rodents pose a serious health risk and are carriers of a multitude of potentially fatal diseases such as Salmonella, Hantavirus, and the Plague. But if it’s just one or two mice, you probably don’t have much to worry about, right? Wrong! Mice mate throughout the year, and reach maturity at only 6 to 8 weeks. This means that what starts as a few uninvited guests can turn into a full-blown infestation over the course of the winter.
Here are 5 signs of rodents to be on the lookout for:
- Unusual Noises – If you hear noises in your walls or ceiling, particularly at night, this could be attributed to the presence of rodents.
- Droppings – Adult house mice produce 75 fecal pellets per day, so if you start to notice droppings around your home, it’s a good indicator that rodents have moved in.
- Nests – Rodents do not like to be disturbed, and prefer to nest in secluded areas. They typically construct their nests out of shredded fabrics, paper products and insulation, so keep an eye out for these materials scattered around your home.
- Gnaw Marks – Rodents are known to chew on just about anything in order to obtain food, water, or nesting materials. Pay close attention for signs of chewing near potential food or water sources.
- Rodent Sightings – If you spot a mouse scurrying inside your house, chances are that there are more hiding within the walls or other secluded areas in your home.
The Modern Solution:
If you notice any of the above signs that could mean rodents have taken up residence inside your home, it is important to tackle the issue as soon as possible to avoid a full-scale infestation. A rodent issue can quickly spiral out of control and do-it-yourself reduction techniques may not be effective, which is why we recommend giving the professionals at Modern Pest Services a call. Our HomeCare Green service will provide year-round protection against 60 different pests, including rodents – guaranteed! Give us a call or request a free online quote today!