Rodent season is upon us. You’ve probably heard that said with some sort of ominous undertones at one point or another. Nothing makes homeowners cringe like the possibility of dealing with a rodent infestation.
Whether it be mice, rats, or other vermin, it is the time of year where we hear about them the most. Here is some background on just what rodent season is and what you can do to minimize damage and prevent it from happening to you.
What Is Rodent Season and Why Should You Be Concerned
Rodent season refers to a period when mice and rats start to search for places to spend the winter. The season signals the beginning of cooler weather and the end of the breeding season. During warmer months, mice and rats breed seemingly non-stop. This may not seem like a huge problem until you realize each mouse can have up to 60 babies per year; rats can have up to 24. Mice also take only three weeks to reach sexual maturity so those babies can also contribute 60 babies to the environment.
As the weather cools, mice and rats look for the most appealing and warmest spots to weather the winter months. Unfortunately, that usually means moving in uninvited to our homes, if possible. Not all mice and rats carry diseases, but many do. Maintaining a clean and healthy home is incredibly important, so keeping them vermin free can greatly contribute to that.
Not only do they carry harmful diseases but they can cause major damage to homes. Wires are often chewed, excrement is left along their main pathways, holes are made in walls, and oily marks are left on surfaces where they travel frequently.
When Does It Start and (More Importantly) End?
Rodent season is slightly tricky to pin down to certain dates because different regions experience seasonal changes at varying times. Generally speaking, rodent season begins when the weather starts to cool. This can be anywhere from August to late October in the United States. Once it cools off hoards of vermin will begin their search for warmer spaces where they can hunker down for winter.
Don’t worry; there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When the ground starts to thaw, and the temperatures gradually begin to get warmer, you can breathe more easily knowing that, for the most part, the rodents will begin to move back outside.
During the winter food is more scarce, so when Spring arrives their natural food sources outside of your home are more abundant. Rest assured that between March through May rodents will begin making their way back outdoors.
Precautions To Take
Rodents love warm spaces that provide easy access to food and protection from predators. As they make their way indoors, they will undoubtedly make some noticeable changes at their entry points and pathways inside your home.
To avoid damage to your house and exposure to certain diseases, it is best to prepare early and well. Before you get anxiety over the possibility of an impending rodent infestation, know there are tons of ways you can help prevent rodents from invading your home.
Be On the Lookout - Look for fecal droppings, gnaw marks, paw prints, chewed wires, or small holes or crevices in walls. Also, listen for scurrying noises in the walls or ceiling. These are all common signs of rodents have moved in.
Get Rid of Clutter - Rodents love clutter since it provides a great space to hide from predators and lots of materials for a nest. Finding evidence of rodents is also easier if you don’t have to dig through piles of belongings.
Upgrade Your Food Storage - Store your food in airtight containers. This will help make it much harder for mice/rats to access it or recognize it as a possible food source.
Seal Cracks and Crevices - If you find a crack, hole, or crevice that is about a quarter of an inch wide (about as wide as a dime), seal it or have it fixed. Mice can fit through alarmingly small spaces.
Use Repellents - Even if you’ve never noticed signs of rodents in your home, using a repellent is a great way to keep them from even thinking about coming in. There are many natural remedies for this as well as commercial repellents.