Why Rodent Infestations Are More Common in the Fall and Winter

Thursday Sep. 17th, 2020

As the temperature begins to fall, humans put on thicker clothes and can easily turn on the heater or start a fire in a fireplace. While some animals also go into hibernation or migrate to warmer climates, other animals have no sophisticated mechanism and have to look for other means to survive. Rodents - especially rats, mice, and squirrels - find their way into homes. The constant chattering and squeaking sounds, along with the scratching and scurrying noise as they move behind the cover of the dark is enough to make any homeowner cringe. 

Let’s find out why rodent infestations are common during this period.

The Mechanism Behind Rodent Infestations in the Fall and Winter
During the summer, the wild is bubbling with life; squirrels scampering from trees to trees, mice, and rats running all over the place. The abundance of food sources, as well as the warmth, makes the wild favorable.

However, as we approach fall, the temperature begins to drop. Not only does it begin to get colder, but food sources start to diminish. Rodents know this and they begin to prepare ahead.

Rodents will begin to find ways to get into homes. A mouse can get through a hole about 6 mm in diameter, while a rat can get through one that’s about 20 mm. Even when there are no crevices or cracks, they’ll look for vulnerable points and gnaw through it to gain access. Squirrels, on the other hand, find their way into elevated parts of the home, like the attic or chimney. To learn more about squirrels in the attic visit squirrelattic.com.

Once they gain access, they build their nests from both external and internal materials. Over the next few months, your home will provide them safety from cold, predators, and it may even provide them with food.

Problems Associated with a Rodent Infestation
But if rodents are only interested in surviving the cold, why are they hostile guests?

√ Structural damages
Once they gain access, they’ll rip off insulation materials and any other material to make their nest. But it doesn’t stop there. They’ll keep chewing on woods, pipes, plastic, wires, and more just to keep the growth of their incisors in check. This reduces the structural integrity of your home.

√ Risk of fire
Rodents that chew on electrical wires open up the risk for the damage of appliances or fire incidents.

√ Diseases
Rats and mice are associated with filth, and with filth comes a plethora of diseases. Some of these include hantavirus, tularemia, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, among many others.

What to Do
Rodents are going to actively look for ways to invade your house as fall and winter approaches - there’s no question about that. What you can do is ensure they do not get access or incentives for staying there. Here are some tips.

√ Seal off all potential entry holes with hardware cloth or caulk and repair all weak points around your house that they can break into.

√ Eliminate all potential food sources. Secure all your foodstuff in aluminum cans. Make sure your trash cans are inaccessible. Clear away seed crumbs from under your bird feeder. Do not leave your pet food outside.

√ Keep a clean environment. Tall bushes or the accumulation of leaves provide them with potential hiding spots.  

√ Be vigilant. If you see droppings, gnaw marks, chewed wires, or you hear noises from the wall or attic, these are all common signs of a rodent infestation. Discovering the problem early enough will make it easier to implement control strategies to get rid of them.