Last week we saw cold weather and snow blanket much of the country.  In cold conditions homeowners aren’t the only ones seeking shelter indoors. Northwest Exterminating warns that rodents and wildlife are also looking for a warm place, like our homes, to escape the winter chill. Unfortunately, these small pests can cause more than just a headache for homeowners if they gain entrance inside.

Rodents can contaminate food sources and serve as vectors of many diseases, such as salmonella and the potentially fatal Hantavirus.  Moreover, mice and rats can cause serious structural damage by chewing through insulation, walls, wood, and electrical wiring.

It’s much easier to prevent an infestation than to get rid of pests after they’ve found a cozy retreat inside the home. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips to keep homes rodent-free this winter:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.

Northwest Exterminating advises homeowners to also be on the lookout for signs of an infestation. If you find rodent feces or hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or attic, contact a licensed pest professional, like Northwest Exterminating, to inspect your home for rodents.