Houston is known for many things: great sports, a beautiful downtown, fantastic food, and hot weather. Residents of this city know they’re lucky, but they’re not the only ones that enjoy Southeast Texas. As Houston heats up this spring, there’s one problem to be extra cautious of; rodents. Texans are familiar with how stressful a rodent infestation can be, and if you’re not careful, you could be a pest’s next victim. Let’s explore the different rodents common to the Houston area and talk about ways to prevent them from getting inside your home or business.
Common Rodents in Houston, Texas
There are a few different types of rodents that can invade your building. Each rodent brings a different mix of diseases and house threats, so it’s good to consider each of them in your prevention plan. These rodents include:
- Rats: There are a few different rat species common to the area, but chief among them are the Norway rat and the roof rat. Norway rats grow to around 11 inches in length, have muddy brown coats, and are fairly rounded compared to other rats. Roof rats, by contrast, only grow to about 5-7 inches and are much darker and pointier than their Norwegian counterparts. Both species can carry some serious diseases, including leptospira, Bartonella, salmonella, hantavirus, and plague.
- Mice: Deer mice and house mice are both common and prolific problems for Houston homes. Deer mice are grayish-brown, slender rodents with larger ears, while house mice are brown, black, gray, or white, and have smaller ears. No matter the size or species, mice are vectors for many of the same diseases as rats.
- Squirrels: They’re mostly pests in your backyard and around your bird feeders, but if they manage to get in your home, squirrels can be a major nuisance. Squirrels are less likely to carry diseases than other rodents, but they can potentially transmit tularemia, Lyme Disease, leptospirosis, salmonella, and rabies.
Additionally, each of these pests can cause serious house damage. Rats and mice create nests in your home’s foundation, chewing through many things to feed their young and build their nests. This includes wires, wood paneling, pipes, and insulation. Squirrels are especially notorious for chewing through wires, and an infestation could force you to hire a costly electrician if the nest isn’t removed fast. There is also a risk of fire breaking out when rodents get into a home and chew on wiring.
Rodent Prevention Tips
Now that you know why rodents are a real problem, how do you keep them out? Your best bet is to make your house as unattractive to pests as possible. Rodents are primarily attracted to two things: clutter and food. If your house has a lot of cluttered spaces, including piles of clothes, junk, or trash, rodents might camp out and start their nests there, since they prefer dark, undisturbed spaces.
Additionally, open food sources are the perfect motive for rodents to move in. If your food storage, including pantries and cabinets, have even the tiniest cracks, a rodent could make its way inside and start feasting. Be sure to keep all your food, including pet food, stored in sturdy sealable containers.
How To Keep Rodents Out
Of course, making your house unattractive is only half the battle; the other half is sealing your house from these furry intruders. Rodents can wedge themselves in cracks as small as 2 cm wide or smaller, meaning little cracks are doorways to big problems for your household. These cracks can exist anywhere in your house, including your window panes, door frames, chimney, vents, roof shingles, and crawl spaces. To identify entry points, perform a thorough inspection of your property, and caulk or fill the spaces accordingly. Remember, rodents can chew through metal pipes and cinder blocks, so even if the hole leads to a thick wall, it’s no match for rodent teeth.
If you find that a rodent has made its nest in your home, don’t try to take matters in your own hands as DIY options often make the problem worse. Reach out to the experts at GreenForce Pest Solutions, Houston’s premier exterminators for all your rodent and pest problems. We can help you be rodent-free.