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Cold Weather Mobilizes Rodents

January 15, 2014

Although West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Lake Worth and other South Florida communities are known for its warm, sunny weather, this region experiences some short-lived cold weather in the winter months. And while humans bundle up to stay warm, rodents seek shelter from the elements.

Every year, mice, rats and other rodents gain access to homes, causing property damage, contaminating food sources, triggering allergies, and in some cases, causing illness and disease.  It is estimated that rodents infest approximately 21 million homes in the United States each year when the cold weather forces these pests to seek refuge indoors.  Rodents are even more common in the Southeast of the United States, as evidenced by this rodent infographic, and nearly a third of all Americans have experienced a rodent infestation, which means rodent proofing your Florida home is a must.

There are several signs a rodent may have taken up residence in a home.  Most people notice they may have an issue with rats or mice when they hear scurrying in their attic or in their walls.  But there are many other signs that a rat or mouse may have moved in. These signs can include:

  • chewed door frames or furniture legs

  • small dark-colored droppings

  • gnawed food boxes that are stored in pantries or cupboards

  • oily marks along the bottoms of walls that caused by rodents’ habitual use of the same paths

  • sounds of movement in pantries, ceilings and behind walls

The most common type of rodent across the world is the house mouse, however, they are not very common in Florida.  Another common rodent is the Norway rat, also known as the sewer rat.  This rodent is found throughout the United States and can measure up to 16 inches in length, including the tail, and weigh just under a pound.  But in Southern Florida, our most common rodent invader is the Roof rat. The Roof rat is usually between 12 and 14 inches long including the tail.  This rodent is omnivorous but prefers to eat citrus foods.  It also eats seeds, fruit, grains, and vegetables and will eat from your pantry and kitchen if it comes into your home.

But don’t despair!  There are a number of pest-proofing measures that homeowners can take to protect their home and families from the threats posed by rodents.  The National Pest Management Association recommends the following:

  • Store boxes and containers up off the floor and organize items often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.

  • Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.

  • Store food in thick metal or plastic containers with tight lids.

  • Clean up spilled food right away and wash dishes and cooking utensils right after use.

  • Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.

  • Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.

  • Keep bird feeders away from the house and use squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.

  • Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid and keep it sealed at all times.

  • Keep grains and animal feed in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. In the evening, return uneaten animal feed to containers with lids.

If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of a rodent infestation, contact the friendly licensed pest professionals here at Nozzle Nolen to inspect and treat your pest problem.



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