Well I can only assume that everyone survived Christmas and New Years Eve Festivities. And I’m quite certain you are happy that they are over… at least for 11 more months! (Sure wish we all would slow down long enough to truly enjoy the Season and the Reason!!!) Hey, if you haven’t taken down the outside Christmas decorations yet, please read the article before you start… I’m writing about rodents.

So, you’re asking yourself, “Cary…why should I read this article first?” Mainly so that you can be aware of what to look for while you are in your shrubs and on the ladder removing those lights. When our weather begins to cool down (notice I didn’t say get cold or freeze or snow), rodents start looking for places to enter our structures. This isn’t to say that they don’t enter our structures during the warm/hot months either. Should a rodent find or have access into our structure, they will enter no matter what time of year. It just seems that “we” are more aware of them being inside during the cooler months. And with our air conditioning systems off, we tend to “hear” them having their “parties” more frequently in our walls and attics.

Partying rodents in our homes/offices are not something we should allow. The first indication that you may have a rodent issue will be the presence of their droppings. Everywhere (and I mean everywhere) the rodent travels… it leaves its “calling card”.

Depending on the species of the rodent, the dropping size and shape differs. Secondly, rodents are nocturnal. Therefore, if you hear noises at night in the walls or attics this would be another sign of an uninvited “guest”.

Rodent activity in our homes and offices are very common. It used to be considered that only structures with poor sanitation practices were a target for rodent activity. However, sanitation practices will only determine the degree of the potential infestation. I’m not saying that you don’t need to clean the house, take out the trash, remove that pile of debris or stop maintaining your property… cause you do. What I’m saying is that no matter the size or value of your home or how well you “clean” your home, we all have the opportunity for various types of rodent activity.

Some of the more common rodents we encounter are the house mouse, Norway and roof rats. With all of the construction going on these rodents have to establish new territories/shelter and your home or office looks “just right”. Which brings me back to the beginning… when you are outside taking down those decorations, you should also be looking for entry points where rodents could enter your structure. Generally, any gap or opening that is the size of a dime can allow a rodent access to your home or office. Yes, I know… there are many locations on our homes that are “at least” the size of a dime. (Please, don’t shoot the messenger…I’m only telling you what I have been taught.) And, not intending to bring you anymore negatives, but for those of you that have tile roofs… good luck, they sure do look great but there are thousands of access points… you should consider an aggressive rodent management program.

Fine and dandy Cary, now that you have created this concern and told me what to look for, what should I do now, especially with all these “dime size” openings? Well, I have only two words… fill them. Fill them with copper mesh, caulk, cover with ¼ inch hard wire mesh, or use the expanding foam. But, be careful with the expanding foam, not only can a poor application look bad it can also be quite messy and short lived. The expanding foam we use has a product in it that will deter rodents from chewing on it in the future because it taste bad. Most over the counter foams do not have this additive. Additionally, don’t forget about those weep holes. If you intend to fill those weep holes, only use a mesh type material so that you don’t prevent your walls from “breathing”. (or else you will create another problem… mold)

Honestly, a professional exclusion service can go along way. Not only will it minimize potential rodent issues, but also insect entry points. This type of service is priced according to the particular job and can range from $100 to $1000, depending on the number of openings and the degree of difficulty. But no matter the price, this service should last for several years providing your home and family or office and employees with a great level of protection from uninvited “guest”.

Until next month, enjoy the rest of January. If you have a particular insect that you would like for me discuss, please email me at chasepestcontrol@consolidated.net or you can visit our web site at chasepestcontrol.com for a link to the Texas A&M Entomology Department. As always, if you would like to have professional pest control service for your home or office we stand ready to serve…”Protecting People, Pets and Property since 1997”.