It’s true, everyone wants to live in Cali, including rodents. LA has been overrun with rats in recent years. And it’s not just urban areas that are experiencing rodent problems.
Less densely populated areas of the state are also plagued by rats and other rodents.
One of the reasons behind this is California’s warm weather. Rats love warm temperatures. This is why homeowners often experience more indoor rodent problems at the onset of winter.
The good news is that most rodent control products still work during the winter.
If you see signs of rats or mice in your home, the time to act is now. Rats breed at the speed of light (not literally, but you get the point), spread disease, and can cause significant damage to your home.
Sit tight and let us, your local pest control pros, explain why the colder months are a perfect time for pest control, and how you can go about it.
Why Winter Is a Great Time to Exterminate Resident Rodents
Wintertime is when you’ll usually experience the most rodent problems in your home. As temperatures drop, rats and rodents start looking for warm places to set up residence.
Suddenly, the dumpster outdoors becomes less of a draw, and your warm pantry is the new rat restaurant.
Having rats move in is never good, but it can make extermination easier. Exterminating rats outdoors can be tricky business.
The Challenges of Outdoor Rodent Control
When rats have the run of the outdoors, they can nest, burrow, and take refuge in multiple areas. This can make it hard to pinpoint their main hideouts.
Even if you can figure out their primary nesting area, they might not be there all the time. This can lower the effectiveness of the pest control measures you apply.
Rats also have a wider selection of food sources outdoors. Such as dumpsters, plants, birdseed, compost, and even small animals like lizards and birds. This can make them less likely to go for bait traps.
Why Rodent Control Products Are More Effective Indoors
Most rat control products are still effective in the colder months, especially here in mild California. These months are also prime rat-catching time.
Here are some of the main reasons why winter can be a killer (pardon the pun) time to carry out pest control.
A Smaller Environment
Having rodents target your home as a heat source in winter might feel like a disaster, but it actually sets up the ideal environment in which to exterminate the intruders.
Once rats take up residence and create their nests, you’ve essentially got them “trapped” in the broader confines of your home.
If you can work out what parts of the home they’re frequenting, you can strategically position your rodent control products in their path.
Restricted Access to Food
Another reason why winter is a great time for rodent control is that the rats in your home will probably have less free access to food.
Sure, they might be trying to raid your pantry or getting into your fruit bowl. But you’re probably already taking measures to protect your food from their nighttime forrays.
If not, now is the time to start. The more you can reduce their food sources, the more this will discourage rodent intruders. It can also make bait traps more effective.
Hungry rats are far more likely to be tempted by bait than ones who have been bingeing on breakfast cereal all night.
Rodent control products like bait traps are designed to be alluring to rodents. But the cleverer species might still avoid them.
Rats in particular are incredibly intelligent. They seem to innately know when you set out a trap or other rodent control solution, and will often avoid even the most tempting bait.
Some rodents, such as ground squirrels, hibernate during winter. Mice and rats, however, stay active right through the year.
Because they have to survive the cold temperatures without hybernating, mice and rats are naturally hungrier in winter. They have to consume more calories to combat the cold.
The harsher conditions of winter can also trigger survival instincts. Finally, rats and mice may eat more in winter to prepare for the breeding season, which typically falls at the beginning of spring.
Long story short, rodents that move into your home during winter might be more likely to respond to bait.
Fewer Environmental Challenges
Another reason why winter is a good time to deal with rodent problems is that you’ll be up against fewer environmental challenges.
If you’re trying to exterminate rodents in your yard, you’ll have to work around the elements. Rain can dissolve your bait, wind can blow it away, and the sun can dry it out.
Setting things like bait traps outdoors can also pose a risk to other animal species. If you aren’t careful, instead of catching that rat family you were after, your bait trap might attract birds, indigenous squirrels, jumping mice, or native shrews.
Products like rat poison can also leach into water systems and soils and have devasting effects on other wildlife. Poisoned rodents can also become a prime target for predators such as raptors. If natural predators catch a weakened, poisoned rodent before they die, the predator can also die of the poison.
If you can target rodents indoors rather than out in your yard, this is safer for the environment.
If you’re worried about the potential environmental effects of things like rodent repellent, traps, and rodenticide, you can also partner with professional rodent control services that specialize in environmentally friendly extermination.
Because we have an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management, we only utilize poisons and pesticides if non-toxic methods won’t work.
Potential Challenges of Wintertime Rodent Control
Overall, winter is often the easiest time to carry out rodent control. But the colder months can also present a few challenges.
Dead Rodent Bodies In Your Home
Rats and mice tend to take up residence in hard-to-reach places, such as attics, in cavity walls, inside furniture, underneath floorboards, etc.
If you’re using rat poison, this can result in rat or mouse bodies decomposing in these areas.
Most rodenticides are relatively slow-acting. After feeding on the rodenticide and whatever else they can find, the rat or mouse will typically make its way back to the nesting area, or some other inaccessible place where they feel safe.
Most rodents aren’t going to hang around out in the open long enough for the poison to take full effect.
Having rat or mouse carcasses decomposing behind drywall or under appliances is definitely not ideal. It can create odors and trigger sanitation issues.
Reduced Bait Effectiveness
Using bait indoors is often easier than outside, but cold temperatures can affect certain types of bait, making them less alluring to rodents.
Cold weather won’t ruin bait completely, but it might reduce its level of “appetizing” odors.
In very cold temperatures, bait can even freeze. Frozen bait is less palatable and tempting for rodents. It’s also more difficult for them to eat.
If you’re laying out sticky traps, sub-zero temperatures can affect the “stickiness” levels of these rodent control products.
Fortunately, California rarely sees these kinds of temperatures.
Slower Action of Rodenticides
In very cold conditions, rodents’ metabolisms slow down. This can increase the time it takes for rodenticides to have full effect. The rodenticides will still work, but the rodents may have more time to reach inaccessible areas of your home, where it will be harder for you to remove the carcasses.
Some Rodent Control Products Might Be Dangerous to Use Indoors
Another thing to think about when carrying out rodent control in winter is the potential hazards of using rodenticides indoors.
If you have pets or small children, toxic rat control products like rodenticides could be dangerous. Clap traps can also be hazardous if set in the wrong places.
Depending on where the rats are nesting, you might be able to place rodenticide products and traps out of reach of toddlers or pets. But rats are known to move bait blocks and sachets, so you’ll need to find a way to fix the bait in position.
Wintertime Rodent Control Tips
Rodent problems usually get worse in winter, as these cheeky pests target your home for warmth. If you’ve smelled a rat, you need to take action fast before the problem gets out of hand.
Here are a few tips for effective rodent control during winter.
Seal off Your Home
One of the first things you should do to discourage rats and mice is to seal off potential entry and exit points to your home. Rats and mice can squeeze through surprisingly tiny openings, so don’t disregard small cracks.
Check under your roof to make sure there aren’t any holes or cracks around the eaves, soffits, rafters, or gables. Examine your windows carefully, especially the ones that don’t have weatherstripping.
Take a look at your foundations and inspect any holes in your walls that lead to electrical cables, plumbing pipes, or gas lines.
Seal off any holes or gaps with cement, caulking, or flashing, depending on the location.
Reduce Food Sources
The next step is to remove as many food and water sources as possible. You might have to overhaul your pantry and decant everything into metal, glass, or thick plastic containers.
Don’t leave pet food or water bowls down for long periods of time, and make sure you wipe up spills and crumbs quickly. Try not to leave dishes overnight. It can be tempting, but rats and mice could be feasting right off your dinner plates.
Make sure all trash is stored in steel or thick plastic trash containers with lids that close securely.
Target Areas of High Activity
Before you lay out rodent control products, try to spot where the rats are nesting and running around the most. You should be able to see telltale signs, such as:
- Rat droppings
- Nesting materials like shredded paper or fabric
- Chew marks
Once you’ve identified where the rodents are hanging out in your home, set your traps here.
If you’re laying out rodenticide, be mindful that this is a toxic substance. Make sure you place it far out of reach of pets, small children, and wildlife, and find a way to secure or contain the poison to prevent rats from moving it.
If you’re using snap traps, be careful that you’re not placing them in an area where you or a family member could accidentally set one off. Getting your finger caught in a rat trap can cause significant injury.
Try Various Approaches
The solution to your rodent problems probably won’t lie in one product or approach. Rodents are tenacious, intelligent, survivalists who also breed like crazy.
To truly rid your home of these unwanted tenants you’ll most likely need to try various approaches.
If you want to get rid of rats and mice fast, the quickest and easiest way is to call in professionals. Professional rodent control usually provides more effective results. It can also save you a lot of time, hassle, and stress.
Here at Pest Solutions, we take a 360-degree approach to rodent control. This includes everything from surveying your home for entry points and building custom solutions to prevent re-entry.
We have various methods for catching rats, including green options that aren’t detrimental to the environment. We also ensure complete safety for you and your family.
We Offer Customized, Effective Pest Management
Overall, winter is a good time to carry out pest control for rodents. Most rodent control products still work in winter, especially if you keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
But DIY rodent control can require a lot of time, patience, and trial and error.
If you want to solve your rodent problems fast, you may need the help of a professional pest control company.
Pest Solutions is a one-stop shop for all your pest control needs. We offer customized rodent control plans, tailored to your home and needs. Contact us to request a free over-the-phone estimate.