Watch For Signs of Rodents and Pests This Fall and Winter

As temperatures drop, rodents and other pests try to enter homes

FAIRFAX, VA – 10/27/2017 — As the weather gets cooler, rodents like mice and rats look for warmth inside of homes. In fact, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) estimated 45 percent of rodent issues occur in the fall and winter. Other fall invaders seeking warm places to overwinter in homes include stink bugs, box elder bugs, lady bugs and spiders.

“Not only is a rodent infestation a nuisance, but these pests are known to spread a variety of dangerous diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus,” said Brett Lieberman, owner of Fairfax-based My Pest Pros. “It’s important for homeowners to know how to spot a rodent and pest infestations within their homes and to take the necessary steps to avoid these unwanted visitors.”

Common signs of an infestation include:

  • Droppings: These pellets are often left behind in places where food is stored, such as kitchen cabinets or pantries, as well as under sinks, inside chewed cardboard boxes, along baseboards and on top of wall beams.

  • Gnaw marks: Mice are known to bite through walls, wood and wires. The damage to wiring within walls can increase the risk for a house fire.

  • Nests: Rodents prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance. Be on the lookout for shredded paper products, cotton, packing materials and other fabrics, as house mice like to build nests out of these materials.

  • Rub marks: Rats tend to leave dark grease or dirt marks — from their oily fur — along walls and floorboards as they follow a trail throughout the home between their nest and food.

  • Strange noises: Scurrying in the walls or in the attic could mean a rodent family is present. Rodents are especially fond of attics as it’s an insolated area for nest building.

Home owners can help pest-proof their property, by doing three things: deny access, deny food and deny shelter.

  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.

  • Caulk gaps around doors and windows.

  • Install door sweeps on all exterior doors.

  • Repair or replace window and door screens.

  • Caulk gaps or repair holes where pipes and utility lines enter the structure.

  • Repair damaged mortar around windows and the foundation.

  • If needed, replace the weatherstripping around doors and windows.

  • If you have a chimney, make sure that the chimney cap is in place and undamaged.

  • Install or repair the screens on attic vents, pet doors and mail slots.

  • Make sure that crawl spaces, attics and basements remain dry and well-ventilated. If necessary, use a dehumidifier in a damp basement.

  • Outdoor trash receptacles should have secure lids that remain closed at all times.

  • Firewood should be stored a minimum of 20 feet from the home’s exterior wall. Do not store firewood directly on the ground.

  • Trim shrubs and foundation plantings so that they are not in contact with the building. Your goal should be to create a perimeter that allows you to walk between the plants and the wall easily.

  • Remove piles of dead leaves, mulch or debris that might be near the foundation.

  • Repair any pipes or faucets that leak or drip.

  • Install or repair gutters and downspouts so that water will be directed away from your foundation.

  • Foods that are purchased in paper wrappers or cardboard boxes should be transferred to airtight containers. Plastic containers are usually sufficient to prevent cockroaches and similar pests from gaining entry, but metal containers offer greater protection from mice and rats.

  • Choose a trashcan for the kitchen with a tight-fitting lid and empty the trash regularly.

  • Do not allow dirty dishes to remain in the sink or dishwasher.

  • Keep kitchen floors and counters clean and free from crumbs, grease or spilled liquids.

  • Keep the cooktop, microwave, refrigerator and oven clean. Clean out the crumb tray on your toaster after every use.

  • Before you bring them in, carefully inspect all items that have been left outside. Whether you are bringing in a package that was left on your front porch, outdoor decorations or plants that you plan to overwinter, make sure that you are not bringing a pest in with the item.

  • Do not leave food in a pet’s dish for an extended period. Clean the dish after use.

  • Many people leave large bags of pet food on the patio after opening. These bags of pet food should be stored in a secure container to avoid feeding pests instead of pets.

  • Before unpacking them, take boxes that have been stored in the garage, shed or attic outside and check them carefully.

  • Keep cosmetics sealed and the outer case clean.

  • In the bathroom, keep shower doors, sinks, mirrors, bathtubs, shower walls and plumbing fixtures clean. Many pests find toothpaste, soap scum, lotions and shampoo appetizing.

  • Clear out clutter. Eliminate stacks of old magazines, newspapers, junk mail and paperbacks.

  • If you have a recycling bin, keep it at least 15 feet from your home or office.

  • If you save plastic or paper bags, store them in an airtight container.

  • Pay careful attention when unpacking groceries. Many a pest has been carried into a home inside a sack of potatoes, a paper bag or cardboard box used to pack the groceries, a carton of sodas or other items purchased in a cardboard box.

If a rodent or other pest  infestation is suspected, it’s best to contact a licensed pest control professional to assess the situation. For more information on signs of rodents and prevention tips, please visit

About My Pest Pros

My Pest Pros is a family-owned pest management firm located in Fairfax, VA. My Pest Pros provides pest control services for homes and businesses  in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

Media Contact
Company Name: My Pest Pros
Contact Person: Brett Lieberman
Phone: 703-665-4455
Country: United States