Be Aware: Rodents want to winter where it’s warm
Temperatures are dropping and before Atlanta settles into a chilly winter, pest control professionals suggest that Atlanta residents take some necessary precautions to exclude rats and mice from wintering in their walls, attics and basements. Rodent infestations are on the rise and Atlanta ranks among the top five cities in the US in rodent population problems.
Atlanta: Growing by squeaks and bounds
According to the city’s website, Atlanta continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the US, with a metropolitan population of 5.45 million. It seems that the city of Atlanta’s culture, art and nightlife appeal to college educated young adults, while young at heart baby boomers are moving to Atlanta for the scaled down convenience of art and culture in the city. While rodents aren’t known to be art lovers, they do love the large-scale waste Atlanta generates, as well as the availability of human living spaces to invade in the city and in Atlanta’s far-reaching suburbs.
Contributing to Atlanta’s rising number of rodent infestations are homes abandoned by foreclosure during the Great Recession, plus a succession of relatively mild winters in the past few years. Getting ahead of the rat and mice curve, proactive homeowners will want to know what to do to prevent a rodent infestation, and what to do when they suspect they have one.
The Rub about Rodents: A Few Things to Know
- Norway rats, house mice and roof rats make up the majority of rodent problems in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
- Rodents can squeeze into incredibly small spaces. Mere nickel and quarter-sized spaces are all it takes to allow rats and mice entry into your home.
- Rats and mice attract disease-carrying insects. Vectors—fleas and tick that feed on rodents’ blood and cockroaches that feast on rodent droppings can spread diseases to humans and pets.
- Rodents need to gnaw to keep their front teeth in check. They can chew through electrical wiring, causing electrical fires, in addition to causing structural and other property damage.
- Rats have been known to bite humans when threatened, exposing humans to diseases transferred from insects to rodents.
Put Out the No Vacancy Sign
Excluding rats and mice from your home can be a daunting task. New homes require less attention than older homes. Sealing or caulking entries includes filling in cracks, crevices and holes that are more than a 1/4” in size. Often, the foundations of older homes need to be completely re-sealed to exclude rodents. It is also important to take a look at the items stored outside your house.
- Clean up any woodpiles around your home and store wood at least 20 feet from your house.
- Clear your property of any overgrown grass and weedy areas. Rats and mice like to nest in woodpiles and enjoy the camouflage of tall grass and weeds.
- Trim trees away from your house so branches don’t create convenient bridges for rodents to enter your home
Keep it clean
Not needing a lot to eat, rats and mice enjoy the crumbs you leave on the counters and in your pantry. Although rodents prefer grains, fruits and vegetables, they will easily adapt to dog food if it’s convenient and readily available to them. But not only do rats and mice go for leftovers and spills, they can contaminate food with disease-carrying insects and bacteria from their own droppings.
Remember to keep all food, including pet food and birdseed in tightly sealed metal, glass or heavy plastic containers. True sanitation means not leaving snacks for rodents in your kitchen or pantry, wiping down food prep and dining areas, as well as washing all dirty dishes and sweeping and vacuuming often.
Rats and mice like presents as much as you do. Rodents especially like cardboard and other paper products that you store in a closet or the attic for building and cushioning their nests. Try to resist the temptation to save a lot of cardboard and left-over packing materials. If possible unpack boxes outside to avoid unknowingly escorting critters into your home.
Uh-oh! Do you hear what I hear?
If you hear scratching in your walls, scurrying in your attic or squeaking sounds in your home, it is very likely you have a rodent infestation. Check for tell-tale pellet-shaped droppings in or near food areas and any signs of chewing. A word of caution: Be quick about it. Rodent populations grow at alarming rates.
Seeking Professional Help
Contact a pest control professional as soon as you detect a rat or mice problem. You’ll want to nip it in the bud before it becomes a full-blown infestation. Rodent infestations take anywhere from days to weeks to conquer and eradicate. Get in touch with Truly Nolen Atlanta at 678-561-2847 for a free inspection immediately.
Truly Nolen’s highly trained technicians will determine whether or not you have a rodent issue. After identifying the culprits, skilled pest control professionals will devise a plan of action tailored to your particular home, keeping your individual needs in mind.