November 28, 2019
Mosquito season is behind us, but that doesn't mean we don't have to deal with pests until spring. While mosquitoes and other warm-weather pests have gone into hiding, there are other pests that are ready to take their place. And, some of those pests that went into hiding can make an appearance in our common areas during the winter months. Here are a few things you should know about winter pests in Maine.
Warm Weather Friends
You're probably not going to see most ants inside your Maine home this winter. Ants are definitely warm-weather pests. But there is one ant that can get into your home and stay inside all year long. It is the infamous carpenter ant. These ants create galleries inside wood. If they have tunnels in a wall that is warmed by your fireplace or boiler, those ants can be active all winter long. But they'll need energy to do it. This will have them raiding your pantry and kitchen for food. You'll have to look for them at night though because carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal. While you don't have to worry about carpenter ants infesting your home during the winter, they could already be inside.
Most pests aren't going to try to get into your home in the winter. They're hiding deep in the ground or in caves, crevices, logs, trees and other places in nature. Many of them will go into a low energy state that is a lot like hibernation. But several pest animals are still active in the winter. They don't hibernate. Two of the most common animal pests during the winter months are Norway rats and house mice. If one of these rodents is exploring your exterior on a cold winter day, it could sense heat coming out and chew its way inside. If so, you're likely to start finding signs of rodents in your home, such as:
- Droppings in the cabinet under your sink, in the backs of your drawers and in attic spaces.
- Noises inside your walls. If rodents have made a nest in your attic, they'll have to climb down through your wall voids to get to your pantry. Usually, they create a nest close to their food source and you won't hear them.
- Holes in baseboards. If you find holes in your walls that are near the floor and in recessed areas, they could be rodent holes. Rodents have strong teeth and they are able to chew through many building materials.
- Holes in food packages. If your Captain Crunch is all over the shelf, you might have rodents getting in. If the dog food bag in your pantry has a hole in the bottom corner and dog food is all over the floor, don't be too quick to blame your best friend.
- It is more likely that rats go into it.
- The smell of urine in your attic space. Rodent urine can be quite noticeable over time.
House Guests of Your House Guests
If you have rodent house guests this winter, they could bring some house guests of their own. When mice and rats get into your home, you could have an infestation of ticks, flea, lice or mites break out. Those warm-blooded animals can bring ectoparasites in with them and they can do a pretty good job of spreading them around your home. This can expose your pets to harm. It can also expose your family to harm. Many ectoparasites can bite humans directly, and they are capable of spreading some pretty scary diseases.