Winter’s Chill Drives Rodents Indoors

Winter’s Chill Drives Nuisance Animals Rodents Indoors


rats in cold weather
Rats looking for warmer space.

By NPMA Staff


During the chilly winter months, most people seek refuge in the warmth of their homes, but they are not alone. From October through February, rodents, including mice, rats and squirrels, often take shelter in homes, causing potential hazards to both health and property.

Rodents seek to protect themselves from winter’s chill by invading your home, says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter and are a considerable health and property nuisance.

Rodents can enter homes through almost any opening. Once inside, rodents can cause severe damage as they can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of a fire.

Henriksen advises homeowners to inspect for rodent droppings in undisturbed areas, including pantries, attics, and garages as these droppings can cause allergies and disease, such as Hantavirus.

NPMA also recommends taking these precautions to keep rodents outside:


  • Make sure all holes, cracks and voids are sealed.


  • Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and install gutters.


  • Keep branches and other plants cut back from the house.


  • If you find rodents in your home, call a local pest professional to identify and correct the problem.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed limiting the use of several rodent bait products to certified applicators who have had sufficient training to know when and how to use these products in order to limit risks. Although homeowners will be prohibited from purchasing these rodenticides, licensed pest professionals will be allowed to purchase and apply these products to meet critical public health needs.

Homeowners facing rodent problems can benefit from the knowledge and training of licensed pest professionals in areas such as rodent biology and integrated pest management. They should feel encouraged to contact a pest professional for a complete inspection and treatment, if necessary.


Vegetation leads to rat infestation

rat-soffitVegetation leads to rat infestation

Getting rid of rats, mice and other rodents can be on ongoing problem, especially if you don’t know how they’re getting in.

Here’s an example of one of our recent rat removal jobs, so you can see what we mean. The customer had complained that rats outdoors had been a problem and that now they were getting into the house.

We came out to take a look, and immediately noticed that there were shrubs and other overgrown plantings right up against the house. As you can see, the plants were growing so close that they caused an opening in the soffit. The rodents were treating that opening like a door, coming and going easily, indoors and out.

Once we knew how they were getting in, rat trapping and rat removal could begin. First, we cleared the vegetation away from the house so the rats and mice wouldn’t have such an easy place to hide. Then, we closed the opening in the soffit so they wouldn’t be able to get in again. Finally, we set humane traps to catch the rodents that remained indoors, clearing out their nests and droppings as we went along.

Rat trapping and mouse removal should always be done by a professional who is properly trained and has the right equipment to do the job Rodent trapping and mouse removal can be hazardous to your health, especially if the infestation is large.

Getting rid of rats is particularly tricky, because they’re smart and resourceful animals. Many types of rodents can squeeze through tiny openings you wouldn’t expect or even notice. Give us a call and we’ll take care of your rodent problems quickly and safely.