As the cool temperatures settle in, homeowners should pest-proof their homes, garages and sheds.
“With temperatures dropping, rodents and other pests tend to move inside structures to find a warm place to overwinter and breed,” says Jim Warneke, Orkin’s Southeast division technical services director. “Plus, several of our coastal communities got hit with heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy, and severe weather can cause rodents to become displaced and look for dry places.”
A pregnant female mouse can produce an average of eight pups in a litter, and a rat, seven pups on average, and there are typically four to five litters per year. Their gestation period is about a month, so before you know it, one mouse can turn into a major problem for homeowners.
Mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime, so it is important to fix any cracks in and under siding, doors and windows. In addition to warmth, rodents enter homes looking for food and water. They prefer cereals and grains, but will eat just about anything.
As you prepare your home for winter, Orkin recommends the five following tips:
- Make sure all holes, gaps and cracks larger than 1/4 of an inch are sealed.
- Replace door sweeps and make sure doors and windows close tightly.
- Clean out gutters and install gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating.
- Store firewood as far from the home as possible.
- Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over the home.