Don't Let Rodents Overtake Your Home This Winter!

10/11/2011


Ants    Mice    Mosquitoes    Rats    Rodents    Ticks    Tips/Solutions   

Happy Fall!

Autumn is upon us in Fulton, MD, which means we bid farewell to invasive summer pests like ants, ticks and mosquitoes.(Find out why mosquito populations have extended their stay in our region this year!)  But hold the jubilatory celebrating. The change in seasons means new pest populations will be making their way into your home to avoid the cold and locate new food sources.

Even if you don’t see the mammalian pests, a rodent infestation is unmistakable, if you know what signs to look for. Able to slip into your home through an opening the size of a quarter, these critters are notorious fall pests, as they exhibit most of the worst qualities that an uninvited guest in your home can display.

  • Late-Night Activity

Rodents are nocturnal, which means you may be kept up all night listening to sounds of gnawing, scratching or movement, especially behind walls.

  • Carrying other pests and ectoparasites into your home

Hitchhiking pests like fleas and ticks can be transported into your home with ease by latching onto the backs of rodents. Once inside, these biting insects can find new hosts to take a blood meal from. Ticks are known for spreading Lyme disease while fleas can transmit tapeworm, the murine typhus and the plague. Fleas are also known for being a tough pest to get rid of, as the eggs produced by adult females tumble off cats and dogs and become lodged into carpeting, pet bedding, between furniture cushions and other areas where household pets may frequent.

  • Property Wear & Damage

Rats nesting inside your home prefer to travel in patterns, most frequently running alongside walls. The oil and grime that collects in their fur will rub off onto the floors and walls, creating a signature streaking pattern. They also gnaw on wood, electrical wires and other materials to wear down their incisors. Fires resulting from damage received to electrical wiring throughout your home pose a substantial threat from rodent gnawing. Properties suffering from heavy infestations of mice and rats also come to bear a distinctly foul odor from the buildup of rodent urine and feces that can be very difficult to get rid of, even after the rodents have been removed.     

  • Disease

Rats and mice are also known to spread disease, including Asthma, Salmonellosis (Salmonella), Dysentery, Mycoplasma (flu-like symptoms, cough, sore throat) and Leptospirosis (dry cough, fever, nausea), making them a significant public health threat. Disease transfer may result from bites or scratches or may be mechanically transferred. (Bacteria or germs being present on the rodent’s paws or in its fur and may spread it through contact with food or items that humans will use.) Rodent urine or feces (oblong-shaped, dark in color when fresh) is also a significant factor in spreading disease if not dealt with immediately. Hantavirus, although rare, is perhaps one of the most widely regarded and gravely dangerous lung infections (often resulting in death) spread by rodents. When present, HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome) can be easily contracted by humans simply by breathing dust that has been contaminated with the, saliva, urine or feces of infected mice.

For homeowners in Alexandria, Arlington, Columbia and other areas surrounding DC, rodent infestations are common, but it doesn’t mean they have to be tolerated. As part of a longstanding Maryland pest control company, American Pest entomologists and technicians can tell you that the key to dealing with rodents in your home is prevention. Try these DIY tips to keep rats and mice out of your humble abode.

  • Fortify Your Fortress

Inspect the exterior of your house to find key entry points that rats and mice may be using to come in. Keep an eye out for holes, gaps or cracks that need to be repaired. Rodents tend to use the same routes when traveling throughout your house, which are generally along baseboards, rafters and pipe chases. You can determine which routes the rodents in your home are taking by looking for droppings in these areas or using an ultraviolet light to find urine droplets.

  • Call Your Clean-up Crew

If rodents do slip into your home, the next step is to deny them room service. Instruct your family or housemates to promptly put away empty dishes and keep kitchen counters & floors clean from spills or crumbs. You can also protect food in your pantry by keeping cereals, rice or grain products in plastic storage containers with a sealed lock lid at least 3 or more feet from the ground. Also try clearing cluttered areas of your home, particularly the attic, garage and basement, which provide hiding places and foraging materials for mice build their nests.

  • Defending By Offending

American Pest has come across common household products that have been found to act as a natural repellant against rodents. Cayenne pepper, camphor, pine tar or peppermint oil (not peppermint extract) can be applied onto cotton balls, which can be placed in high activity areas. You can also try mixing the peppermint oil or cayenne pepper with a quarter cup of water in a spray bottle and spray the repellant mixture in rodent infested areas.

These do-it-yourself tips for rodent control can provide some minor relief from pests as we transition to the colder months. Keep in mind that rodent populations are highly concentrated in urban areas like the DC Metropolitan area, (What can we say, they enjoy a commensal relationship with humans!) meaning that the road to achieving complete rodent control is a long and difficult one. A rodent exterminator can provide an inspection of your house to identify pest entry points & conducive conditions, as well as develop a targeted plan for eliminating the pests that have already settled in.

American Pest, a family-owned pest control company headquartered in Fulton, MD has been providing integrated pest management solutions to Potomac, Bethesda, Silver Spring and other areas of the DC Metropolitan area since 1925. Click here to get in touch with an American Pest representative about creating a unique pest control solutions created specifically for your home. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Twitter!






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