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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

Make Your Home Rat-Free Throughout the Winter

Imperial Pest Prevention is excited to announce the latest update to our popular blog post, "Make Your Home Rat-Free Throughout the Winter," as of December 27, 2023. This timely update is part of our commitment to providing homeowners with the most current and effective pest control advice, especially during the colder months when rat infestations become more prevalent.

Rats and mice are usually active all year round. While other creatures may retreat to survive during the winter, these rodents become more active. And guess what? Their activities during the winter are not restricted to outdoor environments alone. Rodents love cooler weather.

If you make your home habitable for rats to survive, they wouldn’t mind spending the winter with you and your family. Scary right? Below are a few things to watch out for if you don’t want to have those disease-carrying creatures near your home this winter.

Why Do Rats Visit Homes in The Winter?

Rats tend to visit homes during the winter for several reasons:

  • Seeking Warmth: As temperatures drop, rats seek out warm places to nest and survive the cold. With their insulated walls and heating, homes provide an ideal refuge from the harsh winter conditions.

  • Food Sources: In the winter, natural food sources become scarce. Rats are attracted to homes due to food availability, whether from garbage, pet food, or crumbs left around the house.

  • Protection from Predators: Homes offer safety from predators that are more active outdoors. Rats find it safer to nest in a house's quieter, undisturbed parts, like attics or basements.

  • Breeding Grounds: Homes can offer ideal conditions for rats to breed. With ample food, warmth, and hiding spots, rats can reproduce quickly in a household environment.

  • Ease of Entry: Rats can squeeze through small openings. Gaps in doors, windows, or foundations, which may become more pronounced in winter due to the contraction of materials in the cold, provide easy entry points.

To deter rats, it's important to seal any entry points, keep food in sealed containers, maintain cleanliness, and possibly use deterrents or traps. If a rat infestation becomes serious, it may be necessary to consult Imperial Pest Prevention.

What Types Of Rats are in Florida?

Florida is home to several types of rats, each with distinct characteristics. Understanding these differences is crucial for proper identification and control. Here are the most common types of rats found in Florida:

  • Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

  • Appearance: Norway rats have heavy, thick bodies with a blunt snout and small ears. They are usually brown with scattered black hairs, and their undersides are gray or light brown.

  • Size: They are large, typically around 16 inches long, including the tail.

  • Habits: Norway rats are burrowers often found in basements or lower portions of buildings. They are also found in fields, farmlands, and around garbage dumps.

Roof Rat (Rattus rattus)

  • Appearance: Roof rats are sleek and agile, with a pointed snout, large ears, and a long tail. They are typically black or dark brown.

  • Size: They are slightly smaller than the Norway rat, usually around 13 to 18 inches long, including the tail.

  • Habits: As their name suggests, roof rats are excellent climbers, often found in attics, roofs, trees, and other high places. They prefer warmer climates and are very common in Florida.

Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) are also known as pack rats.

  • Appearance: Woodrats have large eyes, ears, soft fur, and a bushy tail. They are typically grayish-brown.

  • Size: They can vary but are generally smaller than Norway and Roof rats.

  • Habits: Woodrats are notable for their tendency to collect shiny objects. They typically live in wooded areas and can be found in tree hollows or in abandoned buildings.

Marsh Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris)

  • Appearance: These rats have brownish-gray fur on top and grayish-white fur on the underside. They have a long tail and a relatively blunt snout.

  • Size: They are small to medium-sized, usually around 5 to 7 inches in body length, with a tail almost equal in length.

  • Habits: As the name suggests, they are good swimmers in marshy or wetland areas.

Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus)

  • Appearance: Cotton rats have coarse, spiky fur, usually grayish-brown with a lighter underside.

  • Size: They are medium-sized, typically about 5 to 7 inches long, excluding the tail.

  • Habits: These rats are commonly found in overgrown areas with tall grasses. They are primarily ground dwellers and rarely enter homes.

Identification Tips:

  • Tail Length: Roof rats have longer tails than their body, while Norway rats have shorter tails.

  • Ears and Eyes: Roof rats have larger ears and eyes than Norway rats.

  • Body Shape: Norway rats have a bulkier, heavier body, while Roof and Woodrats are more slender and agile.

  • Droppings: Norway rat droppings are blunt at the ends, while Roof rat droppings are pointed.

Proper identification is essential for effective control and prevention strategies. If you suspect a rat infestation, it's advisable to consult with pest control professionals who can accurately identify and recommend appropriate control measures.

Don’t Give Rats A Reason to Visit Your Home.

If you don’t want to spend the cold months waking up to a toppled kitchen bin and rat poop around your home, don’t even give rats any reasons to visit. Click this pest control blog post if you need help identifying rodent droppings. Rats are warm-blooded, and a warm, cozy environment, like a corner in your kitchen, will make a great winter spot for them. So, once they visit, they’ll most likely move in – with their family if you’re unlucky.

Rodents will also find it difficult to obtain food when everything is covered in snow. Luckily, here in Florida, we do not have that problem. They’ll run at anything that looks like a food source – including your home.

So, to keep rats out of your home this winter, try to keep your house as rat-tight as possible. Fix and close up openings from which rodents could gain an entrance into your home. Rodent exclusion services performed by a licensed exterminator will work miracles, keeping rats and mice out of your home. And since they can use their teeth to carve out entries from the tiniest of holes, ensure that not even a ¼-inch wide hole connects your home to the outside environment.

Ensure that you clear out things like wood or debris piles that can serve as shelter for them. Also, trim three branches close to your roof and windows to keep rats from climbing through them. Also, avoid leaving nuts, fruits, and veggies to rot in your garden. Let them decompose in tightly sealed bins if you must use them as hummus.

Also, ensure your house is always tidy, as rats are more comfortable in disordered places. Do not leave leftovers and trash uncovered, and ensure that food crumbs are swept and disposed of properly.

Clean your house regularly, and consider the spaces underneath your kitchen appliances. You don’t want to leave out food particles rats can feed on in those places.

Empty and wash your pet food cans whenever they’re not in use, and ensure that your surrounding is not littered with pet droppings.

Also, keep your fresh and uncooked foods away from rodents' reach. Rats will resort to them if waste and leftovers are not available. Use air-tight containers made from glass or stainless steel for dry foods and store the fresh ones in the refrigerator.

Rats will undoubtedly pounce on any water source they find around your home. And, of course, they’ll love to hang around after the first sip. So, always inspect the water faucets in your yard and ensure no leakages.

Homeowner Tips to Rodent Proof Your Home

To rodent-proof your home and prevent infestations, here are some effective tips for homeowners:

  • Seal Entry Points: Inspect your home for cracks, holes, or gaps, especially where utility lines enter. Rats can enter through openings as small as a quarter. Use steel wool, caulk, or concrete to seal these openings. Don't forget to check areas like vents, eaves, and roof joints.

  • Maintain the Yard: Keep your garden tidy. Trim overgrown vegetation and shrubs and keep them away from the house walls. This reduces hiding spots and nesting areas for rodents.

  • Store Food Securely: Store food, including pet food, in airtight containers. Avoid leaving food out overnight, and promptly clean up crumbs and spills.

  • Manage Waste Properly: Ensure garbage bins have tight-fitting lids. Regularly dispose of garbage and avoid accumulating clutter, as it can provide hiding spots for rodents.

  • Eliminate Moisture Sources: Repair leaky pipes and ensure proper drainage around the home. Rodents are attracted to water sources.

  • Install Door Sweeps: Fit door sweeps on exterior doors to prevent rodents from squeezing under them.

  • Store Firewood Properly: Keep firewood at least 20 feet from your home. Piles of wood can serve as attractive nesting sites for rodents.

  • Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your home for signs of rodent activity like droppings, gnaw marks, and unusual smells. Early detection can prevent a full-blown infestation.

  • Use Rodent Repellents: Consider using natural repellents like peppermint oil in areas where rodents are likely to enter. However, these are usually less effective than physical barriers.

  • Professional Help: If you suspect a serious infestation, it may be wise to contact a professional pest control service such as Imperial Pest Prevention for a thorough inspection and treatment.

Remember, prevention is key. Maintaining cleanliness and vigilance can go a long way in keeping your home rodent-free.

At Imperial Pest Prevention, we understand the distress and health risks of having rats and mice in your home. As industry leaders in pest control, we offer comprehensive and effective solutions to rid your home of these unwelcome guests and prevent future infestations.

Expertise in Rodent Baiting and Trapping: Our skilled technicians are proficient in the latest rodent baiting and trapping techniques. We employ various strategies to capture and remove rodents from your home effectively. Our methods are efficient and designed to minimize discomfort to your family and pets.

Exclusion Services: Our exclusion services are second to none. We meticulously inspect your home to identify potential entry points for rodents and implement robust measures to seal these openings. This proactive approach addresses current infestations and deters future ones, ensuring long-term protection for your home.

State-of-the-Art Techniques: At Imperial Pest Prevention, we stay abreast of the latest advancements in pest control. Our team uses cutting-edge tools and technologies to offer the most effective and humane solutions to your rodent problems.

Customer Satisfaction: We take great pride in our exceptional customer service. Our glowing reviews and testimonials are a testament to our commitment to excellence. Clients praise our professionalism, efficiency, and the effectiveness of our pest control solutions.

Health and Safety Priority: Your family's health and safety are our top priorities. We use environmentally friendly and safe practices in all our treatments, ensuring the well-being of your household and pets.

Tailored Solutions: We understand that each home is unique. That's why we offer customized solutions to meet the specific needs of your property. Our team works closely with you to develop a plan to tackle your rodent issue effectively.

Prompt and Reliable Service: We know the urgency of dealing with rodent infestations. Our team is dedicated to providing prompt and reliable service, ensuring quick resolution of your pest problems.

At Imperial Pest Prevention, we're not just about solving your current issues; we're committed to ensuring you live in a pest-free environment. Trust us to be your partner in maintaining a safe and comfortable home. Let our expertise, reputation, and commitment to excellence be your peace of mind.

In need of a pest control company that services Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Deland, and the greater Deltona surrounding areas? If so contact us. Imperial Pest Prevention, A brand name you know and trust. We provide pest control, rodent extermination, lawn spraying services, and WDO Inspections along with Termite treatments and tent fumigation. 


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