Small animals frequently seek shelter in homes, sheds, garages and offices when the temperatures drop significantly and suddenly we see an increase in rodent activity in our usually rodent-free spaces. It’s not just homes or duplexes, it can be as easy as leaving an apartment door open during move-in. Rodents can zip in unnoticed and slip under apartment doors because they’re small and fast. Mice are tricky because they’re experienced sleuths and can squeeze in places you wouldn’t believe. Voles can wreak havoc on your lawn or other grassy property and squirrels will absolutely search for a way into your attic or through the ceiling when it gets too cold! Here’s what you need to know about keeping rodents outdoors this winter!
They have a ninja-like ability to fit through a space as small as a dime, meaning they will nest almost anywhere low and enclosed such as: behind cabinets and furniture, around utility hookups, particularly near and around heating along the walls in apartments, underneath piles of clutter such as newspapers or clothing, or anywhere else that’s cozy for a little mouse family. They can be difficult to remove from your property and can multiply quickly, making them a pest you simply can’t ignore. To keep them out, replace worn and torn weather stripping and window screens, plug any hole bigger than a dime with steel wool and clean up spills, garbage and crumbs as they happen.
The bigger and less adept cousin to the mouse, voles will want to spend more time in your yard rather than in the home. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean they can’t destroy your lawn. Voles create shallow tunnel and runway systems under the snow and ice, making a mess of lawns and gardens because they’re still quite active and don’t stop eating anything and everything during the winter. Creating a barrier they can’t penetrate will deter them, such as hardware cloth as lining for flower beds, gardens and underneath mulch around trees and other plants. Clearing clutter and piles of vegetation from your yard will give them fewer places to hide and mixing in some gravel with your soil will also steer them in the other direction as they prefer soft soil for digging.
Where mice will try to come in at ground level, squirrels tend to try to find their way in through fissures in the roof, dryer vents, chimneys and other utility access points. They’ll want to stay somewhere away from the action, such as attics, basements, sheds or garages, where they’ll set up a nest to stay for the winter. They like to keep to themselves, but that doesn’t mean they’re quiet. Squirrels will chirp and chatter at all hours of the day and carry disease and parasites just like any other rodent. They don’t hibernate, but if they find a cozy place to keep warm, they’ll spend as much of their time there as they can. Trim back any branches that overhang your roof, repair any holes or cracks in the roof and siding, keep bird feeders away from your home as much as you can and spread spices like cayenne as squirrels have an aversion to peppers.
With the cold snap that is headed our way in February, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of these critters trying to come inside from the chill. If you’re worried you might have more on your hands than you can handle, give us a call at 403.262.1666 and we’ll help you take care of any winter rodent issue!