No matter where you are in the country, the winter brings unique challenges when it comes to professional management of rodents. While temperature plays a big role in rodent behavior and populations, there are other factors to consider as well. Whether it is a new or existing rodent control program, keep in mind the conditions that can affect rodent biology, behavior, and basic needs.
North vs South
In the southern US, it just doesn’t get as cold as it does in the north. Florida is not going to see the sub-zero temperatures of Wyoming. Where it does get freezing cold and snow and ice may be covering the ground, rodents will be looking for that nice warm home to spend the winter. Any type of warm building is an option for house mice, Norway rats, and roof rats…if they can get in.
In areas that won’t see a deep freeze, rodents may be more motivated by food than by a warm shelter. Structures that have open or overflowing trash bins, buildings with cooking odors that are wafting out, and sites with food storage are prone to hungry rodents. Sealing a structure is the best option whether rodents are looking for shelter or sustenance, but traps like the EZ Snap Rat or EZ Snap Mouse traps can be valuable around openings to capture any that try to slink in.
Pro Tip – sealing up structures not only keeps rodents out, it keeps many fall invading insects out too. And it may help save on heating costs.
Urban vs suburban
Urban areas provide more warmth and food supplies throughout the winter so rodents will be more active in these areas. With rodents being more active, it’s important to have bait stations with a constant supply of fresh bait. Using a station like the EZ Secured Rodent Bait Station keeps bait secured (on vertical or horizontal rods) and protected from non-target organisms.
Suburban areas typically have more space between structures and the food resources are more spread out. Trash isn’t picked up as often, particularly in residential areas. Rodents will be looking for the shortest path from their burrow/nest to a food source: look for the pathways they may be traveling and put traps in their runways. Where rodents have been an issue in either urban or suburban areas, it’s important to reduce sanitation issues so they have less of a food source.
Pro Tip – check garages, both residential and commercial. These areas often have overflow food storage and trash and they lead to main living/working areas.
Wet vs Dry
It’s predicted to be a La Nina winter in the US this year. That means that it is likely to be wetter than average in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, and upper mid-west. The southern half of the US is likely to be drier. So in those “wet” areas, rodents may be flooded out of their normal shelters and looking for dry areas – namely buildings. It may be better to move bait stations inside, or at least to higher and drier areas. Inside, the MBS Mouse Bait Station can be secured in secluded corners and edges while the EZ Secured can fit in tight areas like under shelves.
In the dry areas this winter, rodents may be looking for water. While house mice don’t necessarily need a daily source of water, both the Norway rat and roof rat need water. Water will be found closer to structures, drawing the rodents closer to buildings and people. Irrigation systems, ponds, leaking faucets, and more can be more than enough to support rodent populations.
Pro Tip – look at HVAC systems in both residential and commercial accounts. Not only do these have a running motor that provides warmth, they often have condensation that provides a water source for rodents.
No matter where you are this winter, rodents are there too. Their behavior may change with the season so keep in mind what they may be looking for: food, water, shelter, or all of these. Sanitation and exclusion are important to keep rodent populations low and out of structures. You can freeze out your competition by using the best professional bait stations and traps. For more information on rodents and management techniques, contact us here!