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Rodents Poised to Invade Homes This Winter

Monday, October 11, 2021

With the arrival of cooler temperatures across the Midwest, rodents will begin to seek shelter from the elements – often in people’s homes. As Rodent Awareness Week approaches October 17 – 23, 2021, Rose Pest Solutions is seeking to educate homeowners about the threat of rodents and how they can lessen their chances of an infestation. 

mouse in pantry around jars

There are many species of rodents found in cities like Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Indianapolis, but there are a few of particular concern. The most common include the native deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) and the two introduced rodents, the house mouse (Mus musculus) and the Norway rat (Rattus norwegicus). The roof rat is another introduced species of rat common in many places throughout the U.S. but is not established in Michigan or Ohio, but cases are occasionally seen. 

Rodents that enter homes like the Norway rat and house mouse are considered commensal rodents, which are defined as “sharing one’s table.” Commensal rodents live off excesses associated with humans and our domesticated animals without providing a benefit in return. Deer mice will often nest inside of human structures but feed on a variety of seeds and other foods that can be easily found in nature. 

Allowing wild rodents to coexist in a human environment is a health hazard. Mice and rats can spread a variety of diseases, including Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), and a host of other diseases to name a few. A buildup of rodent droppings can also trigger indoor allergies and since mice tend to urinate constantly, the risk of contaminating food surfaces is high. Rodents are also constantly chewing and can cause large amounts of damage. They will shred stored papers such as records, stored clothing, artwork, or luggage that is left untended. They also chew on drywall, insulation, wood, and electrical wiring, which can result in structural damage while increasing the potential risk for fire. 

“Each winter, rodents invade an estimated 21 million U.S. homes, bringing with them threats to human health and property,” said Dale Hodgson BCE, CWCP, regional technical manager for Rose Pest Solutions. “Rodents seeking a warm winter home are most likely to cause problems in the Midwest this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to take steps to keep them out before they become an issue.” 

Rose Pest Solutions offers homeowners the following rodent prevention tips: 

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens; crawl space vents and openings to chimneys. 
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the structure, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both; 
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly; 
  • Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces well-ventilated and dry; 
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows; 
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. 
  • Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags, and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors; and 
  • Store firewood on a stand raised off the ground and away from any structures and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house. 

Rats may be difficult to control, primarily because they are elusive, rapid-moving nocturnal creatures. Due to the complex nature of rats, many homeowners struggle to eliminate them. Rose Pest Solutions’ relies on a thorough inspection by a trained professional and uses a variety of techniques including exclusion from the structure to maximize control of rodent pests while minimizing risks to non-target animals and pets. 

“We encourage homeowners to keep an eye out for signs that rodents may have taken up residence in their home, including droppings, scurrying noises at night, gnaw marks, damaged food packaging, and burrows in secluded areas,” added Hodgson. “But, it’s best to call a professional to help eradicate the problem in the home.” 

If you have seen signs of a rodent infestation contact your nearest Rose service center to schedule an appointment.

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