Preventing Rat Infestations this Winter
With temperatures falling, Terminix is advising households to be extra vigilant as Covid-19 restaurant and businesses closures tempt rats to seek food and shelter in homes.
As the winter months begin, it is typical for rodents such as rats and mice to head indoors for warmth like the rest of us.
From cities to rural areas, rodents are incredibly adaptable and opportunistic food scavengers. Now more than ever – as homes have become the center of daily living – rats and mice are invading homes at an increased rate. In fact, Terminix has seen a 13 per cent increase in rodent-related requests1 over last year, likely due to the effects of the pandemic.
Attempting to control a rat or mouse infestation alone can be difficult. Effective and lasting rodent control requires an integrated approach, including preventive measures to keep rodents from getting into homes, reducing places they can live, trapping and monitoring, and increased sanitation measures to protect homes and families.
As Dan Baldwin, director of technical services at Terminix, explains: "Most homeowners are familiar with the common signs of rats and mice, including finding droppings, damaged boxes and papers, noises from within walls or in attics, and even chewed wiring.
"Often, these are just a glimpse of more serious, costly, and potentially dangerous problems for your home. Rats and mice can carry and spread pathogens – bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that can cause disease – into and throughout a house, contaminating food, kitchen countertops, and any other area they contact.
"Chewed electrical wiring can lead to fires, and damaged data cables can be a major disruption to homeowners. For those reasons, homeowners have always trusted our trained and professional teammates for the proper and thorough removal of these rodents."
Homeowners trying to establish whether an infestation is possible in their home might take account of the following:
A clean home is good; a secure home is better – Rodents typically enter a home through gaps or openings around a structure when seeking warmth, shelter and food. Rats and mice are able to enter homes through openings the size of a quarter or nickel. Good sanitation won’t get rid of rodents, but poor sanitation can attract them, and cracks in homes can guide them in.
Check your roof – Rats and mice are skilled climbers and jumpers. They can scale all types of homes to find a point of entry, often near vents, wires, pipes, windows or doors.
Act fast – Rats and mice are very successful breeders. A female rat can reproduce every three weeks and gives birth to about six to 10 young at one time, meaning colonies can grow very quickly. It doesn’t take long for rodents to do expensive damage to a home, from soiling and trampling insulation to holes in roofs and chewing electrical wires.
1 Rodent-related requests for inspection and/or service at residential locations based on company information (January – November 2019 vs. January – November 2020).