There’s good news and bad news about rodents during the winter months. The good news is that as the temperature starts to cool, it signifies the end of their breeding season. The bad news however, is that as the colder air draws in and food supplies dry up, rodents will do anything they can to make their way into our homes, out buildings and office premises.
While they usually make their way back outside once spring arrives, it’s highly unlikely that you want to share your living or workspace with rodents in the meantime. Below we share everything you need to know about dealing with winter infestations.
What are the signs of a rodent infestation?
It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of rats and mice. By keeping on top of this, you can catch infestations before they spiral out of control.
• An unusual odour (similar to urine or a damp, musky smell)
• Holes in materials that weren’t there before
• Scratching noises, especially at night
• Gnaw marks on furniture or tracks on the floor or skirting boards
• Footprints. You can test this by sprinkling flour or talcum powder in the areas you think they’re frequenting. It’s better to do this at night because rodents are more likely to venture out when nobody is around
• If your pet is putting its nose inside crevices for longer and more often than usual or they’re suddenly constantly on the hunt for something, it could be because you have rodents in the house
How to keep rodents out of your home
The best way to prevent rats and mice entering your home is to make it as difficult as possible for them. Keep windows and doors closed, fill any potential entry points no matter how small they are and trim branches that hang over your roof. Rats are surprisingly good climbers and can make their way inside through the roof.
It’s also worth checking the less obvious entry points such as behind kitchen cabinets, gaps between windows and doors and around vents and pipes. If you do notice gaps, make sure they’re filled or blocked off.
If you have a cat flap, ensure it’s one where only your pet can gain access through a special collar.
Don’t make your home an inviting place for unwanted guests. If there’s an easy food supply, you can guarantee rodents will do everything they can to get inside. Remove food sources by storing products in containers rather than packets which are easy to get into, make sure rubbish is secured in bins with a tight-fitting lid, clean up food spills immediately and hoover regularly.
Few of us are keen gardeners during the winter months but an unkempt garden can lure rodents in. Make sure toys and furniture are stored away, leaves are raked up and thrown away and overgrown bushes are trimmed because they can provide shelter. If you keep firewood, store it away from your home because rodents can hide in there and then make their way inside when the opportunity arises.