Preparing for Winter Pests and Rodents
By Ralph H Maestre
In New York City and surrounding areas, as winter sets in, rodents such as mice and rats will try to make their way into our homes. The most typical rodents to be found within human structures are; the house mouse, deer mouse, Norway rat, roof rat, and occasionally the vole.
The house mouse, Norway rat, and the roof rat are commonly found in urban and rural environments. The house mouse and Norway rat are common in the New York City urban and suburban areas. We don't find the roof rat here in New York City. On occasions we do find voles invading our structures in the suburban neighborhoods such as Nassau County. Both the house mouse and the Norway rat are commensal rodents which means that they "share the table" with humans. Deer mice and voles are non-commensal although they may hoard food within our homes.
Rodents tend to have poor vison with a great sense of touch, taste, and smell. They memorize their runways between shelter and food. This is called Kinesthetics. They know exactly how many steps it takes to get from one place to another.
Rodents rely on gnawing as a means of survival in the wild. Rodents use their incisors and powerful jaws to gain access to harborage, obtain daily resources such as food, water and nesting materials, assist in climbing and as weapons against enemies (Corrigan 2001). This ability to gnaw is what allows rodents to gain entry into our structures. But in order to do so they require some sort of edge on the material they are going to gnaw on and only need less than a quarter size opening to enter.
How to prevent rodents from getting into your home during winter:
- First perform an inspection to find possible entry points such as doorways, windows, pipe penetrations, etc.
- Seal these entry points with the proper materials such as door sweeps, screens, a labeled sealants that will expand and contract with changes in the weather (outdoor use).
- Sanitation is very important, making sure garbage pails are not overflowing and have proper fitting lids.
- Reducing the natural nuts that fall from trees around the property.
- Garage doors are particularly prone to rodent entry, so a very good garage door sweep such as the ones sold by Xcluder and properly installed will prevent entry.
- All door thresholds should have a space that measures less than 0.25" or 6mm wide.
- Crawl space vents covers must be tight.
- Dryer vests must be well sealed.
- It may be necessary to use cement to level off uneven floors so that the sweeps fit accordingly.
- Don't just look at ground level, rodents are very good climbers and it is necessary to inspect fascia and soffits as well as areas on the roof where different roof types meet, such as eaves.
- Prune back any branches that may be touching the structure to prevent rodents from accessing the roof area.
- Chimneys should have proper fitting caps to prevent squirrels and other rodents from entering.
- Down spouts or runners that have AC pipes running into an attic should have a sealant around the pipes to prevent Deer mice from entering. They love the upper levels of a home such as the attic.
- All kitchen, dryer, attic and bath vents need to be in good condition with a sealing flap or screen.
- Utility lines may require a cone to prevent rodent access.
- Cracks or opening in the foundation needs to be properly sealed.
- Vines and shrubs should be spaced away from the foundation of the structure.
There many ways that rodents enter our structures. It is often either time consuming or expensive to inspect and maintain a structure. This is why Magic Pest Management on their regular service visits includes a visual inspection and instructions on what needs to be sealed or repaired and where they are located. Magic also performs most of the exclusion work to the items listed above. If Magic cannot perform the work, we will help you find a solution. Magic understands that in order to prevent rodents and other pests from entering you structures and homes, we have to work as a team. Contact us today for a free onsite estimate.