Winter Weather and Mice

15 Oct Winter Weather and Mice

Mouse in snowNow that the weather is getting colder, we’re all getting excited. Utah’s fall colors are painting the mountains red, yellow, and gold, and football is back in season. We’re all looking forward to cuddling up by a fire under a cozy blanket with a mug of pumpkin spiced cider.

Mice are Getting Cozy Too

However, very few of us realize that there are mice and rats out there thinking the same thing. Admittedly, they’re probably not craving pumpkin spice treats, but they are starting to look for a warm place to winter, and your house is looking really good.

Most rodent infestations start right around autumn, and there are a few good reasons for that. First of all, mice that have made their nests out in the fields over the summer are routed out during harvest time. In response, they’ll often retreat to the closest structure. Secondly, rodents are well-attuned to the changing seasons. With the first frost, they start looking around for a warmer place to stay. They love barns and garages, but best of all is a house.

Houses stay warm throughout the winter months, and being close to a magically replenishing stockpile of food (like a storage closet or pantry) is a major bonus.

Breeding and Nesting

Mice like to nest, so they’ll chew up material like paper, cardboard, soft wood, and insulation material and make themselves a comfortable nest before they start breeding. They love using the empty spaces in your attic, basement, and in the insulation in your walls.

Mice breed notoriously fast. A single female will produce eight litters per year, with six or more babies per litter. Considering that these numbers will compound with each litter, it’s easy to see how just a couple mice can easily turn into a major infestation over the winter months.

How to Prevent a Winter Rodent Infestation:

  • Weather-proof your house. You can get a professional to do it, as they have techniques to find holes and cracks that you wouldn’t normally spot. Or, you can do a sweep yourself and seal up any cracks or holes you see. Remember, it only takes a hole the size of a dime for mice to get in. Take special care for those spaces that crop up around wires, tubes, and pipes that are routed into your house.
  • Keep your pantry clean and organized. Making sure that all of your food is well-contained will make it less attractive to pests. In addition, it makes you more able to see signs of infestation if your pantry is organized and clean.
  • If there are certain holes in your house that are meant to be there, like air vents or the chimney, you can still guard against pests by placing a screen over the opening.
  • Keep food scraps and garbage away from your walls. One of the surest things luring mice into your house is the smell of food in the immediate area. Mice love compost areas, the smell of garbage, and your garden. So, make sure that you manage those areas well. Keep them neat and clean. Close the lids on your garbage, and keep your garden and compost pile far away from your house.
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