As winter approaches, the days grow shorter and cooler. Though our winters in Southern Arizona are considered mild, you may soon find the arrival of unwanted visitors, such as pack rats and mice, seeking a warm shelter and an easy meal.
In addition to the fear response rodents often elicit, they can cause significant damage to your home. Rodents are notorious for chewing through electrical wiring and wood, including baseboards and trim. They can also carry health risks like the Hantavirus, which is particularly concerning. If you’re worried about pack rats and mice moving indoors for the winter, here are some tips for identifying and managing this pest problem.
Pack rats, also known as wood rats, are native to our desert region. They are a persistent problem for homeowners and easily adapt to living in your home. As the name suggests, pack rats are really pack rats. They will collect small items around your home and bring them back to the nest. Small objects, toys and food wrappers are just some of the things they might collect.
Aside from some missing items, you may also see rat droppings or hear them at night when they are most active. Pack rats often take up residence in attics, basements and inside walls where they hope to avoid human contact. If you happen to see one, pack rats have large ears, white feet and bellies, and are usually around six to eight inches long.
Mice are much smaller than adult rats so identification is usually easy. They are a common nuisance in homes and readily avail themselves of food in your pantry or cabinets. Their telltale sign, mouse droppings, are often found in kitchen drawers, behind toasters and in your cupboards.
Like pack rats, they are nocturnal and are quite busy raiding your pantry while you are sleeping. They can also wreak havoc by chewing through wire or PVC water pipes in your home. They build nests in walls, behind appliances and in other dark, out-of-the-way places with convenient access to food and water.
Inspect your home for any easy points of access for rodents. Check for cracks, gaps and small holes around your foundation, siding, windows and doors, and make sure to seal them. Rats can typically fit through a hole the size of your thumb. Mice only need about the size of your pinky finger to gain access. If you have woodpiles, logs or compost bins near your house, relocate them to another part of your yard.
If you have pack rats or mice — as well as any other pests — we can help. Contact us today at Bill’s Home Service for your free pest control estimate.