With the arrival of cooler temperatures across the country, rodents will begin to seek shelter from the elements – often in people’s homes. To promote public vigilance against the hazards rodents can pose when they invade structures, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests, recognizes November 15-21 as Rodent Awareness Week. We at Spencer Pest Services are proud to take part in this observance by educating homeowners about the threat of rodents and how they can lessen their chances of an infestation.
Each winter, rodents invade an estimated 21 million U.S. homes, bringing with them threats to human health and property. Most rodents are likely to cause problems in this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to take steps to keep them out before they become an issue.
Mice and rats can spread a vast array of diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice and rat-bite fever. A buildup of rodent droppings can cause indoor allergies and since mice tend to urinate constantly, the risk of contamination of food surfaces and equipment is high. Rodents are also capable of chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.
NPMA offers the following rodent prevention tips:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
We encourage homeowners to keep an eye out for signs that rodents may have taken up residence in their home, including droppings, scurrying noises at night, gnaw marks, damaged food packaging and burrows in secluded areas.