With the change of seasons, cool weather is returning, and homeowners aren’t the only ones looking to keep warm indoors. In fact, many homeowners may start to notice they have unwanted houseguests – rodents – as they, too, seek shelter from the elements. To promote public vigilance against rodents and the hazards they pose, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared October 23-29 to be Rodent Awareness Week. The Bug Man, Inc. is joining NPMA in this important effort by educating homeowners on the threat of rodents and how they can lessen their chances of an infestation.Rodents have, at one time or another, been a problem for nearly one-third of American homeowners, and they don’t need much space to get inside our homes. The common house mouse is most likely to cause problems in Central Arkansas this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to take steps now to keep them out before they become an issue. Rats are also a very common pest this time of year. These rodents are capable of causing damage to property by chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical and automotive wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires. They are also known to spread a variety of diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. The NPMA offers the following advice for preventing rodents from coming indoors:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors.
- Regularly check under the hood of the car for signs of a rodent infestation.