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Winter time can be a very busy time for rodents as they attempt to find warm shelter and sources of food. Oftentimes, their primary target is your home. Just a few rodents that may seek shelter inside your home or business during the winter months include rats, mice, squirrels and in some cases opossums and raccoons. Even though you may think your home is secure it is possible for these rodents to enter your home or business through any type of opening including pet doors, missing vent screens, holes in walls and other openings such as openings around pipes or even your dryer duct vents.

Your roof can also be a great access path for rodents who are intent to make their way into your home or business. While many people are not aware of it, rats actually have the ability to climb onto trees or even plants that may be located nearby your home or office building. From there, it is quite easy for them to make their way inside. These rodents can squeeze through extremely small spaces. Mice, for example, can squeeze through spaces the size of a nickel. Rats aren’t quite that talented but they can make their way into a space even as small as a half dollar.

Besides the nuisance and destruction rodents can cause to your home and business, rodents are also a major source of disease including such deadly diseases as arena virus and hantavirus. Hantavirus can be contracted by inhaling airborne particles from rodent droppings as well as saliva or urine that was left by infected rodents. Although Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is relatively rare, almost half the people who develop it will die from it. Other diseases that are associated with rodents include more than 200 human pathogens.

Rodents primarily tend to try to make their way inside beginning from around October through February. Each year it is estimated that more than 20 million homes are actually invaded by rodents.

Mice, in particular, can cause quite a few problems. In addition to these diseases they tend to carry there is also the concern regarding allergies. Common house mice actually give off tons of extremely small droplets of urine as they make their way around. A study conducted on this revealed that a protein found in mouse urine can be responsible for allergies in children.

Rodents also leave their dropping in many areas of the home including along the walls (where they tend to travel,) under baseboards, inside attics, pantries and garages.

You may become aware of a rodent problem when you see signs such as gnawing on items like cardboard boxes, packaged goods and even on the walls. This is particularly common around vents and pipes.

Rodents can also be quite destructive by chewing through wood, plaster and wallboard. They are also known to chew on electrical wiring, which could result in an electrical fire.

There are several guidelines that should be kept in mind in order to keep rodents out. First, always make sure all the holes in your home or building are completely sealed. If it is even as large as a pencil, it should be sealed. Also seal all cracks. If you notice signs of rodents in and around your home do not hesitate to contact your local pest management firm or exterminator. He or she can help to identify the source of the problem, conduct a survey to determine the extent of the infestation and then develop a plant to control the matter. Avoid trying to handle the matter on your own. An experienced and trained exterminator can help to search out all the hiding places where rodents may seek shelter and then target them in an effective manner.