As temperatures drop, rodents seek warmth in your house

As temperatures get colder out, everything that’s living outside is on the hunt for a warm, dry place to sleep… many inside your home.

“Any time we break down below 40 degrees, I’m getting phone calls,” said Todd Arrington, wildlife exclusion manager at Hilton Head Exterminators, where phones have been ringing off the hook since temperatures began to drop in January.

“They don’t wanna be outside, they want to be somewhere nice and warm, just like you,” he said.

He’s not talking about bugs. “We’re not talking about ant traps, we’re not talking about the spray your pest-control guy sprays around the outside of your house,” Arrington said, “That’s great for bugs and insects, but it’s not gonna help you when it comes to wildlife and rodents.”

Arrignton took News Three to a house in the Sea Pines Plantation to demonstrate the issue.

“Look up, there’s a hole, right up here…. where they got in,” he said, “They chewed through to get to the spray foam.”

Many folks calling in for help were spotting signs like this….

“Look up here and you’ll see some droppings on the ledge and there’s droppings inside the pile of spray foam you’ll see little black dots look like big fat pieces of rice.”

Arrignton said there are a lot of places rodents can get in, “whether they come through the dryer duct line… your exhaust vent under your hood.”

He said “a mouse needs just over a quarter inch to get through; a rat needs just a half inch to get through.”

“When you’re walking around the outside of your house, check your soffits, your eves,” Arrignton said as he pointed up to an eve that was coming off, “See how this one has come loose? All it takes is for a critter to start chewing on that edge, make a bigger hole, and it’ll get in your house.”

Next to it, he said be sure to check your soffit vents, “It’ll notoriously start to rot… because you had them painted you don’t know they’re rotted.

He said if you can put your finger through it without much effort, then a rodent can definitely get do the same.

The biggest holes are left after pipes like air conditioning are installed.

In the crawl space of the home, he pointed at hardware cloth placed around a pipe.

“There actually used to be a big hole right around this pipe right here where it was split,” he said, “Wire’s been installed over top of it to seal the gap. That’s something you can do at home. If you pick up hardware cloth and little wire ties, and tie in place, to seal up the hole.”

After closing up the hole with wire, be sure to run silicone around it to seal up any remaining gaps a rodent could get their teeth around.

If a rodent gets in your home, they can find a path to get anywhere.

“In your attic or crawl space, you have power lines that run up through your walls. Well the way they run up through your walls is through holes that were drilled for those lines to go through, those holes are just even a little bit bigger than they should be, they can start chewing around that hole to make a big enough hole to get through, and then they’re in your walls, and that they have full access.”

He also suggests to keep all food sealed in plastic containers where rodents can’t get through. “Especially your dog food, believe it or not the rodents love it, it’s full of protein,” he said.

“Every so often, once a year, twice a year, check your house out,” Arrington said, “It’ll save you a lot more money later and keep you rodent free.”

The best thing you can do is keep your home clean, he says, the more clean you are, the less likely these critters are to get in and make your home theirs.


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