While the recent drop in temperatures means seeing less of the pesky bugs that have bothered Canadians all throughout summer, it means the opposite for one of the most troublesome household pests – rodents. Mice, rats, and squirrels are expected to invade homes in droves this winter, searching for a warm place to spend the frosty season.
In order to raise consumer awareness regarding the health and property risks posed by rodent infestations, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), part of the National Pest Management Association
(NPMA), has designated the week of November 15-21, 2015, as Rodent Awareness Week
. Greenleaf Pest Control is proud to take part in this campaign by educating homeowners and businesses across Canada about the threat of rodents and the importance of adopting a proactive approach to rodent management in the following months.
Although rodents are active all year round, the months of October and November are especially problematic, with declining temperatures forcing them indoors to nest and forage for food. Once inside a structure, mice and rats can be much more than just a nuisance. Bacteria-laden and armed with continuously growing teeth that are remarkably efficient on gnawing on just about any material, rodents can spread a large number of diseases to both humans and pets, compromise the structure of a building, and even start fires by chewing through wires.
The damage rats and mice cause by chewing through wiring, timber, pipes, and even brickwork can amount to several thousands of dollars, cost which is NOT covered by regular home insurance policies. Not even vehicles are safe from rodents’ destructive habits. According to a news report
, more rodents than ever are seeking refuge from the cold inside cars, causing damages of millions of dollars and rendering the vehicles unsafe to drive.
For business owners, particularly those in the food service and hospitality industries, a rodent infestation can cost them dearly. A rat sighting in a restaurant or hotel is likely to damage a business’s reputation severely
and result in loss of customers. In an even worse scenario, a severe infestation could prompt the health department to impose hefty fines or even close the establishment temporarily or permanently.
Prevention Is Key to Avoiding a Rodent Infestation
Although small in size, rodents can create serious problems in any structure they decide to call their home. Aside from the many health and property risks they pose, mice, rats, or squirrels
rarely travel alone, often introducing other pests such as fleas, mites, ticks, and lice into your home. All they need is a tiny opening the size of a quarter (or a nickel, in the case of house mice) to gain entry and start wreaking havoc.
To prevent rodent infestations during fall and winter, NPMA offers the following prevention tips:
- Have your property (both inside and outside) thoroughly inspected for cracks and holes that could serve as entry points for pests. Pay special attention to areas where pipes and utilities enter your home and seal any openings with caulk and other suitable materials.
- Ensure that crawlspaces, attics, basements, and other areas with low traffic are well ventilated and clean. Moisture is a strong pest attractant and can cause significant structural damage.
- Replace broken or rotten roof shingles and make sure screens on roof and attic air vents are in good repair. Roof rats are a common invader this time of year, and they can easily gain access inside your home through openings only a half inch wide.
- Keep firewood at least 20 feet from the home and a few feet off the ground to prevent rodents, but also termites and other damaging insects, from hitching a ride inside.
- Trim tree branches and other vegetation away from the roof, attic vents, or utility wires. Some species of rats are agile climbers and can either set up their nests inside dense vegetation or take a shortcut inside your home.
- Don’t provide hiding places for rodents; keep attics and basements clear of clutter and unused materials and store boxes off the ground.
- Store garbage in metal or plastic containers with tight lids and dispose of it regularly.
If you find rodent droppings or hear sounds of scurrying in the house, you should immediately seek out professional help. A licensed pest control company
can correctly identify the species invading your property and suggest the proper treatment to safely eliminate them from your home.
About the Author
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.