FAIRFAX, Va. – Chilly fall weather is here to stay, and with the arrival of cooler temperatures comes the reemergence of one of the most common cold-weather home invaders—rodents. In order to help the public better understand the threats rodents can pose to health and property, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has designated November 15 – 21 as Rodent Awareness Week.
“Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes each year,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “The best thing a homeowner can do to stave off rodents is take steps to prevent them from coming inside before they begin their winter search for food and shelter.”
Rodents are notorious carriers of a slew of illnesses and bacteria, and a buildup of their droppings can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms. They are capable of chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires. Mice are able to fit through openings the size of a dime and rats a quarter, though through their gnawing they can gain access through even smaller openings.
The NPMA recommends the following rodent prevention tips:
- Check both the inside and outside of the home for cracks or crevices, and seal any openings with caulk, steel wool, or both. Pay special attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground. Keep shrubbery and tree branches cut back from the house.
- Keep basements and attics clear and store boxes off of the floor. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to assess the situation and suggest a proper course of treatment, contact EHS Pest.