As winter settles into northern Texas, many pests and rodents will be on the lookout for a warm place to ride out the winter. Most animals and insects will hibernate or overwinter under logs or in the soil. But a determined few will find their way into your house looking for a comfortable place where they can find food and warmth. Protect your home this winter by being vigilant and being on the lookout for these common winter household pests.
Mice are probably the most common pest found in Texas homes. Mice are attracted to dark places like our basements and attics where they have plenty of material to make nests out of. Cardboard boxes, clothes in storage, and insulation can make great nesting material for mice. Signs of mice activity include the obvious signs of chewing as well as small black droppings near walls and random piles of seeds or discarded shells. Check the exterior of your home for cracks and holes. Mice can squeeze through an opening the size of a dime.
The only thing worse than finding a mouse in your house is a big ugly rat. Rats like making their nests in basements, crawlspaces, and attics where they have plenty of material to chew up. Rats have very poor vision, perfect for living in complete darkness. Instead, they rely on their smell, hearing, touch, and taste to navigate. Rats are fast breeders and fast growers. They can mature into an adult in about three months. A single female can produce 3 to 12 litters of between 6 and 8 babies in a year. Because their teeth never stop growing, they need to gnaw on things just to keep them short. This can damage wooden beams, walls, bricks, wires, pipes, and insulation.
Brown recluse spiders make the list of most deadly insects in the world. These arachnids are timid but deadly. They can be identified by a violin-shaped marking on their abdomen. They usually only venture out at night in search of food. Brown recluse spiders like to conceal themselves away in places with little human activity like attics and basements. They are not actively looking for a fight but will bite if they feel threatened. The bite of a brown recluse is not only excruciating, its venom has the ability to destroy skin cells in and around the affected area.
In the winter, raccoons, like many wild animals, are busy eating as much as they can find and putting on as much weight as they can. Raccoons don’t fully hibernate. Instead, they hole up in their dens during the coldest days of winter and are able to sleep up to a month without eating. But when they do come out foraging for food they can cause quite a headache. Raccoons have been known to unscrew jars, undo locks, unlatch doors, and untie knots. So keep your garbage sealed and secure and make sure there is no way a raccoon can gain entry into your attic or basement.
While you deal with protecting your home from pests let the lawn care experts at Lawn Lab worry about your lawn. Sign up for our lawn care program now to get on our list for next spring and get a head start on lawn care.
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