As winter begins to fully set in throughout the Midwest, many will assume that all the pest problems that plagued their homes and businesses will magically subside as the temperature drops. Although that is true for some pest populations, sadly that is not the case for all pests. The stark drop in temperatures and the increase of snowfall and freezing rain can increase the activity of rodents in winter. You need to know the warning signs of rodents in the winter.
Winter is the peak of rodent season. As mice and rats look to escape the cold, they burrow and scamper their way into residences and places of business looking for warmth. If you’re not careful, a few rodents can quickly turn your property into a bustling nesting ground causing neverending disruption to your life and can even lead to intense electrical and structural damage to your home.
With that being said, we’ve outlined 5 key warning signs of a rodent infestation during the winter season. Make sure to keep an eye out for these to stave off any damage to your property.
1. Scratch Marks, Even Tiny Ones
Rodents’ feet are not soft and supportive like ours. Their limbs tend to wear down surfaces over time, leaving noticeable scratch marks on hard flooring or across wall molding. Make sure to inspect these areas, especially in areas that don’t see a lot of foot traffic.
This also applies to furniture. Check all wooden legs and cloth backs for any sign that something has been scratching or wearing out your furniture pieces. Keep in mind that all furniture will show wear over time. However, as rodents scratch and gnaw with their paws and teeth, these markings will become visible and should be easily distinguishable from normal wear. Keep an eye out for scratch and gnaw marks from a rat or mouse.
2. Holes, Especially Where They Shouldn’t Be
We’ve all seen the quintessential mousehole that Jerry expertly uses to avoid Tom in the fun-loving cartoon. Even though the reality is not quite so obvious and clean-cut, it does bear some similarity. Rodents will look to burrow into your walls, taking up residence in the safe zone to explore the house and build a nest.
These openings can be extremely small as rodents are known to squeeze through holes much smaller than their body. Regularly check your baseboards for areas where they have worn away. Even consider repairing or blocking these holes to prevent any rodents from making easy use of them.
3. Smells, Not The Good kind
All creatures leave behind…evidence…that they’re living in an area. Rodents are no different. While your usual rodent droppings or rat droppings may not give off a distinct odor strong enough to draw your attention, areas frequented by rodents will often give off a strong urine-like smell.
While it might not always be pleasant, pay close attention to unusual smells of any kind, especially rats and mice urine, as they may be an early warning sign that rodents are taking shelter in your home for the winter. This is a sign that you need rodent removal services.
4. Noises, Usually At Night
Rodents are admittedly (usually) small and can pass by unnoticed for some time, but everything makes noise eventually. For rodents, most of their activity occurs at night. They are nocturnal by nature and take advantage of the hours while you’re asleep. Before you settle in for the night, try to listen for any rumbling, scampering, or high pitched squeaking sounds at night.
Pay especially close attention to your walls as well. While that might sound a bit odd to do, rats use the inside of your walls to navigate your home. If you hear noises coming from them, and you know it’s not just a leaky pipe, it’s a good possibility a rodent or small animal could be squatting.
5. Changes In Pet Behavior
As humans, we don’t usually notice a lot of little changes that happen over time. You may notice something dance in the corner of your eye and easily shrug it off as a trick of the light or a floating dust particle. You’re not likely to jump to the assumption that it’s a rodent infestation.
Luckily in this circumstance, our pets are not the same. Dogs and cats immediately take notice when something in the home is there that shouldn’t be. Because of this, they are excellent barometers for gauging rodent activity.
If you find your cat chasing something or perhaps your dog barking behind the furniture or under the refrigerator, don’t write them off. Yes, they could have found a stray toy or scrap of food, but they also could be trying to draw your attention to a tiny little intruder.
As a bonus, cats may often bring you direct proof of rodent activity by showing off their trophies. Make sure to reward them and bring gloves for the cleanup.
Call Us To Learn More About Our Pest Control Services In The Kansas City Metro Area
If you notice one or more of these signs, it’s important to take steps to address the issue, because rodents carry diseases.
Otherwise, a small rodent problem can quickly turn into a much bigger undertaking. If you need advice or options, explore some of our information on rodents and pest control. Or, feel free to contact Gunter Pest & Lawn to discuss pest control services in the Kansas City metro area.
Speak with a live Gunter representative today about our Kansas City rodent control services by calling 816-444-2847 or using our contact form and we will help you with your rodent problems with traps and baits plus other techniques.
Remember that Gunter is a full-service pest control company that also takes care of bed bugs in the commercial and residential environment. We also offer termite control, mosquito control, and integrated pest management services in the Kansas City area.