While your mice and rat problems might disappear during the cold months of winter, they could return when the weather warms up. Worse still, a rodent problem can easily multiply in the summer, as these pests are more likely to breed when the weather is warm and food sources are more plentiful. If you notice the signs of rodents in your home - chewed packages, droppings, etc. it could be time to improve your rodent control methods.
Mice and rat behavior
Although they might look the same, mice and rats are different species. In general, mice are smaller and have shorter snouts than rats. Tail length and shape are another way to tell the two apart. According to Clemson University, a mouse's tail appears to be ringed, hairless and short. A rat's tail, on the other hand, is usually longer than its body. Rat ears are also quite large, relative to the head.
Both mice and rats are found across North America, though rats are generally more confined to colder climates. Both animals like to eat dry grains and similar food sources. That said, a mouse will usually nibble on food and only consume small parts of it, whereas a rat will often destroy the entire food source, according to Animal Diversity. Both can be very harmful if they get into a residential pantry. Rats can wreak havoc on larger supplies of food, such as those found at grocery stores or farms.
In most residential situations, the mouse traps you buy at the store are sufficient methods of control. You must be careful when using poison, as your pets or children could accidentally come in contact with the harmful substance. If you touch mouse poison, wash your hands immediately and call your doctor if you experience an adverse reaction.
Rats are known to peel the bark from trees, and can exhibit the same behavior on the outsides of buildings. If you notice this damage on your property, it may be wise to place traps outdoors and well as indoors. According to the University of California, the best way to prevent rat infestations is to make sure your property is clean. Always clean up trash or spilled liquids immediately. If there's nothing for a rodent to eat, it will simply go away on its own. Bigger rodent problems may warrant a professional pest control agency.