Rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels are overwintering pests, taking refuge inside your home during the colder months of the year. When spring arrives, these pests are already hiding in your attic, basement, crawlspace, garage, and even inside your walls. As the weather warms, they emerge for two reasons: searching for food and breeding season.
Rodents are dangerous to have inside your house for many reasons including:
- Chewing through wiring, drywall, and insulation
- Increasing your exposure to fleas, ticks, lice, mites, and more
- Contaminating your home with their urine and feces
- Spreading diseases like hantavirus, plague, and tularemia
Keeping rodents out of your home during any season of the year starts with prevention. Implement some of these rodent control tips this spring:
- Inspect doors and windows for loose or broken seals and repair or replace them immediately.
- Use screens on doors and windows, especially ones that are opened frequently.
- Seal any exterior cracks or gaps.
- Use mesh screens on chimneys, downspouts, and vents.
- Seal food in canisters with lids.
- Use trashcans with lids.
- Keep your yard mowed and shrubbery trimmed.
- Get rid of any yard debris.
- Keep firewood away from your house.
- Vacuum everywhere, especially where crumbs might be present.
If you have a problem with rodents or any other household pests, contact your local pest control company for a thorough evaluation.
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Rodents, such as rats and mice, are common household pests that can cause many problems, from property damage to health issues. In the southern United States, there are several types of rats and mice that are commonly found near homes. Let’s go over the most common types of rats and mice and how to prevent them from invading your home.
Roof rats are also known as black rats and are commonly found in urban and suburban areas. They are about 7-10 inches in length and have pointed snouts, large ears, and long, thin tails. They are excellent climbers and can often be found in attics and trees.
Norway rats are also known as brown rats and are larger than roof rats, measuring 10-12 inches in length. They have blunt snouts, small ears, and short, thick tails. They are burrowers and are often found in basements and crawl spaces.
House mice are small rodents that are about 3-4 inches in length. They have pointed snouts, large ears, and long, thin tails. They are excellent climbers and can often be found in attics and walls.
Deer mice are small rodents that are about 3-4 inches in length. They are brown or gray in color and have large eyes and ears. They are often found in rural areas and can carry hantavirus, a potentially fatal disease.
How to prevent rodents:
- Seal any cracks or openings in your home’s exterior
- Keep your home clean and free of clutter
- Store food in sealed containers
- Keep basement and crawl space clean and free of debris
- Keep trees trimmed away from your home
If you believe you have a rodent infestation, give your local wildlife control company a call to provide a customized plan of action!
South Florida Wildlife Control: How To Prevent
While Florida sees warmer temperatures year-round compared to other states, there’s bound to be a cold front hit during the winter season. Wildlife creatures look to our Harlem Heights homes for food, shelter, and warmth. Before they enter, it’s important for every homeowner to brush up on their knowledge of the types of winter wildlife and how to prevent them!
Rats & Mice
Rats and mice are notorious for entering our homes for shelter and food. These creatures are known to inhabit our crawl spaces, basements, kitchens, and attics. Once inside they can cause serious damage, such as chewing wire, destroying insulation, and leaving behind their feces.
Rats and mice are known to carry and spread diseases such as salmonella, lice, fleas, and ticks. Their droppings can also contain pathogens, dangerous to humans. Major signs of these creatures inside your home are hearing noises coming from the walls or ceilings, such as tapping or scratching.
Nocturnal animals, raccoons are dexterous, often opening doorknobs, cabinet doors, and trashcan lids to search for any available food source. These creatures are known to inhabit suburbs, and you will often find them invading hollow trees, attics, or garages.
Raccoons can cause significant damage to the outside of your home such as ripping of shingles, fascia boards, and even chimney vents! If they infest inside, they will destroy insulation, chew electrical wires, and contaminate the home with their urine and feces.
Bats are looking for a protected place that stays above freezing to inhabit. These creatures will often look to our attics for shelter, so they can huddle in a group together. If you suspect you have bats inside, don’t be surprised if there’s a group of them instead of just one. Bats will usually stay in attics during the day, leaving at night to search for a food source.
These creatures are known to carry diseases, such as rabies, which can spread to humans. In several states, removing bats is a delicate matter and will need to be done by a professional.
Preventing wildlife can seem daunting but there are a few easy ways you can keep them from invading your home. Check out our top wildlife prevention tips below:
- Seal your garbage cans and compost bins
- Trim or cut tree limbs away from your house’s roof line
- Place a grated screen on top of your chimney
- Consider enclosing your crawlspace to eliminate entry points
- Inspect the exterior of your home for holes and gaps, sealing them immediately
- Reach out to your local South Florida wildlife control company to set you up with a prevention and treatment plan to avoid a wildlife infestation
Rodents such as mice and rats are one of the most common household pests. While they are definitely nuisance pests, they can also cause property damage to your home, as well as transmit serious diseases to you and your family.
The first step in rodent control is to determine that you have an infestation. Common signs of rodents include droppings near food sources; shredded paper, fabric, and other nesting materials; chewed food packages; holes chewed through walls and floors; and stale smells from hidden areas of your home.
Rodents are attracted to unsealed food containers, pet food and water that’s left out, open bowls of fruit and vegetables, leaky faucets and pipes, open trash cans, and compost containers among other things. They enter your home in search of these things. They get in through holes from the exterior of the home, holes around sink and appliance pipes, cracked foundations, unscreened vents, and holes around windows and doors.
The first step in rodent control for your home is prevention. If you can keep these pests from infesting your home in the first place, you won’t have to get rid of them later. Common rodent control methods you can utilize in your house include:
- Sealing entry points with metal mesh.
- Removing those food and water sources they are attracted to.
- Keeping your house clean.
- Avoiding the use of ivy or other vines in landscaping (rodents use these to climb onto your home).
- Keeping compost piles away from the home.
- Keeping grass mowed short.
- Keeping a buffer of at least 2 feet between landscaping and buildings.
- Avoiding the use of birdfeeders.
- Keeping outdoor grills clean.
- Keeping firewood elevated and stored away from the home.
- Using trashcans with lids.
- Sealing food in containers.
- Rinsing food and drink containers before throwing them away.
- Keeping trashcans clean.
- Avoiding leaving pet food and water out overnight.
- Keeping stovetops and countertops clean.
- Keeping your home free of clutter from paper, fabric, and other materials used for nesting.
- Repairing leaky pipes.
- Keeping attics and crawlspaces dry.
- Promoting natural predators (owls, hawks, snakes) around your home.
If you have a problem with rodents or other pests, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation.
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Common Cold-Weather Critters & How to Control Them
August is here and as much as we don’t want to think about it, fall is right around the corner. As the days begin to get shorter and temperatures drop, wildlife creatures begin to prepare for the fall and winter seasons. Fall is the time when wildlife search for warm shelter and begin to stock up on food, sometimes leading them right to your home!
Here are some of the most common wildlife critters that can find refuge in your home for winter, along with some ways to prevent them from taking up residence in your home.
Squirrels like to “fatten” up in the fall as they get ready for the colder months. They often seek shelter in attics where they will make their nests and store their food. They are especially hazardous in homes because they have a tendency to chew through wires and wood, creating significant damage to your home.
Some ways to prevent squirrels:
- Install chimney caps or screens
- Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight
- Take down bird feeders in the fall as squirrels love to scavenge these for seed
- Trim back any limbs or branches that extend within 10 feet of your home
Like squirrels, raccoons also like to “fatten” up for the winter. Raccoons are nocturnal, which means they are more active at night. When the weather gets cooler, this causes raccoons to become more active and creative in their search for food. They will often find food in your trash cans and home and can often enter your house through the roof. They are known to seek shelter in either your attic or crawl space.
You can prevent raccoons by:
- Keep trash in bins with secure, locking lids
- Seal any entry points on the exterior of your home
- Rinse out trash cans once a month to help eliminate odors
- Install bright exterior lights to deter them from your yard at night
Rodents, like mice and rats, will begin to be more active in the fall and you can usually hear them in your walls or attic. They seek shelter in your home because it supplies them with an available food supply throughout the winter.
Prevent rodents this fall by:
- Storing food in plastic or metal containers with tight lids
- Sealing up holes inside and outside the home
- Cleaning up spilled food immediately and washing dishes soon after use
- Keep compost bins as far away from the house as possible
Once the temperature dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, bats will begin their hibernation. While some species of bats do migrate south once the weather cools off, some will be in search of warm, dark spaces to roost that are hidden from predators. Unfortunately, they will often roost in the attic or chimney of your home.
You can prevent bats by:
- Installing chimney screens
- Using window screens and draft guards on doors and windows that go into the attic
- Sealing any openings in shingles and weatherstripping
- Making sure insulation isn’t worn down
Wildlife removal can be a difficult task to handle on your own, as there are some regulations for certain species. It is often best left to the professionals. If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, contact your local professional wildlife control company. These professionals will inspect your home to identify the animal problem. They will also provide you with the best plan of action to remove nuisance wildlife and prevent it in the future.