As the weather starts to cool, we aren’t alone in trying to keep warm. We’re joined by the mice, rats and other vermin that are now seeking refuge indoors.
“In the fall, they detect the change in the weather, and they know they can’t very well survive,” Roger Young, of County Pest Control, said.
There are countless ways for a critter to get inside your home, and there’s truthfully no way of spotting them all before they do. But there are a few ways to outfox them, and we talked to local pest control technicians to find out a few of them.
The most common way pests get inside a home is via the garage. They might sneak by when you’re taking your groceries in, or take advantage of old garage door lining to squeeze inside.
“Make sure you’ve got good seals under your garage doors,” Young said. “If you see them rotting away or torn, replace them.”
If a building’s siding is similarly damaged, he said, pests can fit between the gaps and crawl along the between the sheeting and the exterior to find a point of entry. And if you have a tree branches that hang over your roof, he said, it’s best to trim them back.
Squirrels and chipmunks in particular can use them to jump on top of your home and search for a way into its attic. Warmer and less traversed than other parts of the home, attics are particularly attractive to rodents, Kevin Fitzpatrick, of Able Pest Control, said.
Should you notice any uninvited guests, it’s best to try and get rid of them quickly. Fitzpatrick said they can begin reproducing within a month of moving in, and litters can range from six to eight pups.
“I don’t recommend snap traps,” Fitzpatrick said, “because once that snap goes off, the rest of the rodents go fearful and they run. They can hide back in the wall for up to two weeks without moving a muscle.”
Clients, Fitzpatrick said, seem to favor more humane traps that don’t actually kill the rodents they trap. Traps are best placed in the attic, the basement, or inconspicuous places in common rooms; behind the refrigerator or underneath the sink.
As for how to lure rodents to a trap, stick with something sweet. Not unlike the rest of us, rodents have a thing for candy and chocolate, both Fitzpatrick and Young said.
“There are so many different things that rodents eat – nuts, berries, walnuts, anything that you have that you can put on (a trap),” Fitzpatrick said.
Whether you’re trying to prevent a rodent invasion or dealing with one already, it appears your best bet is to act quickly. And if you’re thinking of waiting out winter in hopes that they might pack up come spring, think again.
“If it has food, harborage and you’re not bothering them, they’re quite content to stay in your home the rest of their lives,” Fitzpatrick said.