Tis the Season for Rats and Mice
I absolutely love the Fall and Winter! I love everything about it, from the pumpkin carving to the apple picking to the colorful leaves. But my favorite part of fall is the cooler weather. Sweater weather is, in my humble opinion, the best.
But there are others who may not be thinking of scarecrows and fun but more practical things like where to take the family for a long winter’s rest…I’m talking about the pitter, patter of little rodent feet in your home. Rats and mice are on the lookout for a warm place to call home this winter. Let’s discuss how to keep those unwanted invaders from moving into your house this season.
Most of the time, mice and rats live in the woods or in fields. That’s good news. However, there are a few varieties who enjoy sharing your home. The roof rat, the Norway rat, and the house mouse all live in Georgia and all look for a nice winter hideaway about this time of year.
You can recognize a mouse, for the most part, by size. Mice are about three inches long if you don’t count the tail. Rats, though, are much bigger. How about up to a foot long…and then add the tail! The roof rat enjoys a good climb and is typically black or brown in color. They are actually intelligent and often bred for the pet trade. The Norway rat has many names; some people call them brown rats, house rats, sewer rats, and my parents used wharf rat as a title. These guys can weigh more than a pound, and they have coarse fur and are brown or red in color.
These invaders are quite curious creatures. If you have open garbage cans, rubbish heaps, or anywhere they can find food…you’re just asking for trouble. Their appetite is varied and most any food will do, from seeds and nuts to meat and candy, cereal, and pet food. Even though they cannot see very well, they make up for the lack of excellent smell, taste, and touch. You probably won’t see them during the day as they typically come out at night.
And here’s a creepy tip…if you see one, you can be pretty confident there are more you haven’t seen!
So why is having rats and mice a problem you may ask?? Well, let’s discuss that now. First, they carry diseases and bacteria (Black Plague familiar to anyone??).
Then, they get into any food, crops, stored grains, pet food, bird food, and your trash. And of course, once they get in, you have to throw away whatever they have infiltrated. Remember….disease. If that’s not enough, there is the issue of their droppings and urine in your house. Oh, and did I mention they carry fleas and ticks? Yeah, rats and mice in your house are a definite problem.
How do you know you have a rodent problem? The most obvious sign is the presence of droppings. They are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice for a mouse and a raisin size for rats. Oh yuck, now I’ll never think of a raisin the same way again. Anyway, you can also scatter powder or flour on the floor along a wall, behind appliances, in the attic or basement, or wherever you suspect activity. Then check for tracks the next morning. Little chewed holes or gnawing sounds at night can be a sign as well. If you have a nest, they can be made of chewed-up paper or things like carpet or old rags. These are typically found in boxes or drawers or out-of-the-way corners.
Getting rid of these pesky rodents needs to be a priority to the homeowner since one pair of breeding mice can lead to millions more in a year. It’s crazy but true that mice can breed at 30-day intervals in a friendly environment such as your home. They aren’t this prolific in nature since the natural environment isn’t as family-friendly and easy to survive as your cozy home.
What’s a homeowner to do? As always, a thorough inspection of your home each season is very important for preventing future problems. Seal up openings, make sure all food products are in sealed containers, cover your garbage with tight lids.
But if you already have a problem, there are steps you can take. Search out places they might be living and hiding. Get rid of the trash, brush piles, weeds, etc.. Be sure to store your firewood a foot or more off the ground and away from your home. Close up any holes in your home, keep doors closed, check floor drains for a tight seal, and cover dryer vents leading outdoors. Your windows should have screens if you enjoy opening them on a mild day. Unfortunately, there are many products on the market that are not useful in getting rid of rats and mice. Ultrasound devices and many expensive products labeled as repellents are a waste of money for the homeowner.
Getting rid of mice and rats can be a difficult and time-consuming job. For this reason, it is best to call your local pest control expert for help. Canton Termite and Pest Control are licensed and trained to rid your home of unwanted winter guests such as rats and mice.
If we can help you, please give us a call at 770-479-1598.