You might see an influx of rodents at this time of year, because as the weather cools mice and rats seek warmth anywhere they can find it. Unfortunately, that often means inside residential homes. Many homes may experience rodent infestations at this time of year more than any other. Whether they're getting into your garage, basement or kitchen, it's important to put a stop to them before the problem becomes too serious and requires the intervention of a professional pest control agency.
Here's what you need to know about rodent management this autumn:
How rodents can cause damage
Although most rodents are quite small, they can cause quite a bit of damage over a short period of time. Mice and rats tend to test items for edibility by gnawing on them. Therefore, you may see bite marks on some objects that are clearly not part of the rodent's diet. For instance, if mice are searching for food in your kitchen, they will gnaw on anything they can find until they locate something they like.
This is possibly how the myth of mice and cheese began. Although mice will eat anything that may have nutritional value, they prefer sweeter food to cheese, reported EarthKind. It's possible that early Europeans noticed bite marks on wheels of cheese and assumed that was the animal's favorite snack. If you are using mouse traps, peanut butter is much better bait than cheese.
Voles, another common rodent pest at this time of year, can wreak havoc on lawns. Found throughout Canada and the northern U.S., voles can dig unsightly burrows through grassy lawns and even disrupt root systems in gardens and recently planted trees.
Rodent prevention should be a part of your annual fall maintenance. When you rake up leaves, you should be sure to keep piles away from your home and dispose of them as soon as possible. When left too long, rotting piles of leaves can generate their own heat, making them very attractive to rodents.
Clemson University noted that one of the primary ways to control rodents around residential properties is to check around the foundation of your home for cracks. Mice and rats can sneak through even small cracks, so you should be sure to seal them with a weatherproof material as soon as you find them. The next step is sanitation. Keep trash well away from the house and clean your home regularly. Rodents are attracted by food and water - if they can't find any, they'll move on.
Vole infestations are difficult to prevent without extensive fencing that penetrates several feet into the ground. If you see vole damage on your property, you'll want to lay down traps along burrows that appear recently used. For large infestations, you may have to use toxic bait. On large property, a professional pest control agency can fumigate the burrows.