Each season of the year brings a different set of pest challenges. In many areas of the country, the cooler winter temperature means fewer insect pests entering from the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean winter is time to let down your guard. Some pests can infest homes year round, and others actually wait until the weather cools before they seek shelter in your home. The house mouse and the German cockroach are examples of common pests that can be found during the winter months.
House mice are the most common rodent pests infesting homes. The first signs that a mouse has taken up residence in your home are the tell tale droppings that they leave behind. In addition to be a nuisance, these unsanitary droppings can also contaminate food. House mice produce up to 75 droppings each day and they leave them behind wherever they travel, even you cupboards! To make matters worse, mice produce tiny droplets of urine, which contains proteins that cause allergies and exacerbate asthma symptoms.
As the weather cools, mice will often seek shelter inside homes for the winter. Some mice may leave in the spring, but others may stay in the home breeding year round. To help reduce the likelihood of mouse invasions there are some simple prevention actions that you can take. Mice are able to squeeze through extremely small holes, so seal any holes on the exterior of your home that are larger than a dime and close any gap that is wider than the width of a pencil. Mice are opportunistic, so replace damaged weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows, these entry routes make it easy for rodent to get from the out side. Inside the home, make sure to keep storage areas clean and reduce clutter, this reduces the places that mice can use to make their nests. Reducing clutter also, makes it easier to spot rodent droppings early, increasing the likelihood of fast control.
The most common cockroach infesting structures is the German cockroach. German cockroaches are not just winter pests. A home can become infested at any time of year, and populations can increase very rapidly. German cockroaches feed on food debris like crumbs or grease that build up in kitchens. They especially like warm areas of the home that have an abundant source of water like kitchens and bathrooms, but when infestation levels get extremely high they can be found throughout the building.
German cockroaches prefer to avoid light, spending most of their time during the day hiding in cracks and crevices. They reproduce fast, in fact a single cockroach can produce batches of up to 30 eggs at a time, and the offspring can be ready to reproduce in as little as 40 days.
Cockroach control and management are important for health and safety reasons. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reports that one-in-five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which increase the severity of asthma symptoms. These allergens are most commonly introduced in homes through cockroach saliva, droppings and the decomposing bodies of these pests.
Know the Signs of Mouse Infestation
- Scratching of gnawing noises in the walls or ceiling
- Food packaging with gnaw marks
- Rodent droppings
Tips for Preventing Cockroach Infestation
- Reduce clutter— eliminating clutter can help you spot infestations sooner
- Seal cracks and crevices in the kitchen— Sealing cracks helps to reduce the places that cockroaches can hide
- Eliminate sources of moisture— eliminating leaks and fixing dripping faucets can make it harder for cockroaches to find the water they need to survive
- Clean cupboards and under/around appliances— wipe up spills and clean up crumbs as soon as possible