Watch Out for the Love Bug: Protect Your Home From Rodent Infestations
Ah, February, the time of love, all things pink, and unlimited candies and cards. For many, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate, whether you’re having a night in with friends or going to a romantic dinner. As for pests? They like to mark the occasion by bringing new life into the world.
This Valentine’s Day, don’t let your girls night be ruined by rat droppings, or your dinner date canceled due to residual skunk spray. Here’s a list of pests that breed and give birth during the love month, and how to prevent a four-legged infestation in your home.
Although they’re fun to watch in parks, squirrels are no fun to have as pests. They’re notorious for chewing through electrical wires, damaging roofs, causing water damage, making loud noises, and more. Save yourself time, money, and sanity by knowing when to expect and how to avoid an influx of squirrels this spring.
If you see squirrels playing in your yard, they’re most likely males trying to woo the females. To prevent them from bringing their date night (and offspring) into your space, check your home for any possible entry points, such as gaps in your shingles. Move your cars regularly, as they like using warm engines and seats as nests.
Birthing after the mating season begins in February. If you start to hear noises and discover possible openings, don’t seal them, as this traps the mother and forces her to chew her way out. Instead, contact a pest control professional for a swift removal of the nest.
Rats and Mice
While rats and mice don’t stick to a strict mating season, after spending a winter cozied up in your home, they’re prone to be more active and reproduce often.
Rodents give birth multiple times a year with many in their litter, so it’s important to listen closely for squeaks or chewing. Their teeth are constantly growing, and your home’s wires are perfect for teething. Tiny black droppings, scratching noises, holes, and nests of cardboard or insulation are also tell-tale signs of infestation.
Rats and mice will mate and then leave their litters for you to deal with, so if you hear little four-legged creatures running through your walls, you may want to call in the professionals.
Typically solitary animals, skunks are the most active and social during mating season, which begins in February.
If skunks use your yard as their dating pool, you’ll quickly smell it. Instead of handling a love triangle like gentlemen, male skunks spray each other as they fight over a female’s attention. Likewise, a female skunk will spray a male if they’re uninterested. Unfortunately, the smell of these sprays can reach up to a mile away.
To avoid skunks in your yard and around your home, keep garbage tucked away and sealed, and don’t leave pet food out at night. If you have wood or rock piles, elevated sheds, or openings under your porch or crawl space, seal them quickly, as they’re the perfect denning site for momma skunks.
Unless you want to play host to a tribe of up to 20 opossum babies, it’s good to know about their mating habits. Breeding season begins around December, with most births occurring between February and June.
Like other marsupials, such as kangaroos, baby opossums stick to the mom for a while, developing in their pouch and then staying close by as they grow. To keep safe, the mother might have to seek shelter under your porch or in your attic or basement.
To prevent an opossum family from moving in, keep trash and pet food in containers with tight-fitting lids, pick any ripe fruits off of trees or bushes in your yard, clear any brush piles, fill holes under concrete slabs and decks, and if you have a pet door, keep it secure at night.
Our Valentine’s Advice
You don’t want to receive valentines from pesky pests (we hear black droppings are their favorite gifts to leave behind). And in the spring, you definitely don’t want to come between a momma and her babies. Instead, call in the professionals — and we don’t mean Cupid. This February, contact Stark Exterminators for a personalized pest control plan.