While rats, mice and other rodents are active all year round, it’s when the weather starts to cool down that they begin seeking shelter inside homes and other buildings. This increase in mice and rats inside your property usually occurs between August to October as they make themselves at home for the cold Utah winter. Gophers are mostly active in the spring but don’t hibernate so you can find evidence of their tunnels in your yard at any time of year. Voles are the same. These small mammals can infest your yard year-round with no break. So while you may think these pests aren’t going to bother you during the winter, unfortunately this couldn’t be further from the truth!
So when isn’t it rodent season?Good question! You can find rats, mice, gophers and voles around Utah properties any time of year and, due to breeding cycles, their populations are at their highest towards the end of the summer months. You may be more likely to see them inside your home later in the year as temperatures drop and they look for safe places to store food and keep warm. If you haven’t actually seen a mouse or rat but think they’ve got into your home, there are some telltale signs to look out for:
- Droppings: If you spot small brown droppings in your home, especially in your kitchen, you’ve got rodents. These droppings can carry diseases and it’s important not to sweep or vacuum them up as this could cause particles from them to be inhaled. Wearing gloves and a mask, soak the droppings in a solution of bleach and water, let it sit for a few minutes, soak up the droppings with a paper towel and put them in the trash.
- Chewed or gnawed things. Rats or mice may chew walls to make their entry points bigger or just to create new ones. You may also see chewed food packaging or things that they use for nesting materials such as paper or fabrics.
- Sounds and smells. If you hear scratching or scurrying in the walls or ceiling, or can smell stale odors but can’t pinpoint the source, contact H2 Pest Control, your local Utah rodent control company.
Is it dangerous to have mice in the house?While you may think a few mice are harmless and even quite cute, it’s not a good idea to let them have the run of the place. Mice are fast and prolific breeders, meaning that your one or two mice could soon become many, many more. Check out our previous blog post on mice where we cover the fact that mice can also carry a wide variety of diseases as well as cause damage to your home.
Ways of keeping rats and mice awayYou can give yourself a head start in preventing rodents from entering your property. Here are a few easy tips that anyone can follow as a first line of defence against rats and mice.
- Check the exterior of your building for gaps or holes. Even if they’re tiny, you’d be surprised how small a space a mouse can squeeze through. Seal them up to stop rodents from getting in in the first place.
- Keep your outdoor space clean. Rodents and vermin are attracted to food that we may leave behind. Pet food, crumbs and unsecured trash bags or cans will draw rats and mice to your property. Even things like leaking outdoor faucets and puddles need to be eliminated as rodents use these as water sources. Try to avoid plants getting overgrown near doors and windows and trim back any tree branches that might overhang your home. Voles are attracted to yards with lots of good hiding places so get rid of leaf piles and garden waste to try and keep them from attacking your lawn.
- If mice or rats have already found their way in, it’s important to keep your home as clutter-free as possible to stop them from making an easy nest. Keep the kitchen especially tidy, making sure food is safely stored away and crumbs and spills are promptly dealt with. You don’t want to make it easy for these critters to find a food source! The next step is giving H2 Pest Control a call.