A common myth is that rodents like rats, mice, and even squirrels hibernate in the winter. Unfortunately for all of us, this is not true. While their activity may slow down outside in the colder months, rodents are active year-round. Rodents can survive in a wide range of places and climates. They also carry diseases that can easily be spread to humans. Rodent-borne diseases like hantavirus and salmonella can be severe when contracted by people.
Rodents have developed several survival mechanisms to get through the winter, especially here in the cold mid-atlantic region.
Increasing Food Intake
In late summer and fall, rodents will gather as much food as possible to store in their burrows and nests for the winter. While they don't hibernate, they will stockpile resources to help limit the number of times they have to venture out in the cold in search of food. They also must increase the amount of food they eat to help retain their body temperature.
Rodents need a warm place to spend the winter, like our houses. They will try and access your home to seek shelter from the cold. Rats, in particular, are capable of chewing through cinder blocks, lead, glass, aluminum, vinyl, brick, and even concrete to access your home. If they can't get indoors, they are also great at digging tunnels and will burrow for shelter, usually under walls or near utility lines that come into your home.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
Rodents are incredibly creative when it comes to survival. They can adapt to almost any situation. Our homes provide the ideal opportunity for rodents to overwinter by providing convenient cavities in walls, attics, crawlspaces, and between floors that protect them from the elements. These hiding spots are usually filled with insulation, which gives them the perfect nesting material. Add in the heat we turn on in the winter and the food crumbs and other food sources we provide, and they have an ideal living situation during the winter.
To keep these pests out this winter, try these rodent prevention tips:
Empty garbage regularly and put it in cans with tightly fitting lids.
Keep your house clean and decluttered.
Avoid using open compost piles.
Store food in sealed containers.
Only leave enough pet food out for one sitting.
Keep pets, especially cats, around the house.
If you're being visited by the rodents of Christmas present - give us a call, we can help!
Bill Hoffman & the Hoffman Exterminating Team