Spring. The season of blooming flowers, new life, and sadly RATS! That’s right, along with warmer weather and longer days rodents seem to flourish in the spring. Why are these furry pests a problem in the spring-time when they’re mostly known for being a concern in Winter? Spring is breeding season for many animals, and unfortunately, rats are just as frisky as other animals who whelp in the Spring. This means it's more important than ever to watch out for any signs of an infestation and keep them away away from our homes.
There are a few quick ways to take the fight to the rodents when it comes to defending your home.
Rodents are most commonly known for being a big problem in the Winter months. This is because they head indoors to find shelter as the temperatures drop and its harder to find food outside. But as we come into spring, they tend to head outside again as food becomes more readily available, making it easier for them to survive without being indoors. However, the more food available, the more they breed.
Rat Fact - all it takes is 3 weeks of being pregnant for a rat to have a litter of her own… and she can give birth to over 10 pups in a single litter. In a single year a female rat can produce around 1500 offspring - a scary thought, right?
Alongside the ease of finding food, rodents will also head outside because the warmer temperatures in general makes life a whole lot easier for them and they can find a comfortable place to live without having to hide inside our homes - that isn’t to say they won’t still want to come inside. Your home offers crumbs, safety from predators, and a cosy option against braving New Zealand’s often fickle Spring weather.
So how do they get inside our homes?
A frustrating thing about rats and mice is that they really are the nimble ninjas of the animal kingdom. To get into houses they climb and squeeze through gaps in walls or ceilings that even Bruce Lee would be proud of. To get to these entry points they will look for any way to get off of the ground, including finding good climbing spots like trees. Larger rats are also known to burrow beneath houses and live under floors. This can cause a multitude of problems as they nest in insulation, chew on timber, and, if they pass away, cause a dreadful stench that seeps up from your floorboards.
Battle Tip - If you have a lot of trees around the outside of your house, it is always a good idea to trim the branches back to make it more difficult for them to get onto the roof.
But why do they go inside during spring & summer?
Wherever food is available you can be sure that rodents will be trying to get to it. If you often leave food around the house, or your cupboards and pantries have open containers of food then this is exactly what they are looking for. Alongside food, rats will also look for a source of water, especially if there aren’t many places where they can find it outside. If you know your home is prone to moisture such as dripping pipes, or water bowls for your pets, then it may be a prime target for a thirsty rat.
What problems do rats & mice cause?
Aside from being natural pests, they can bring a whole lot of issues for you, your family, your home, and our native wildlife. It is common for rats to carry a range of diseases that can be very harmful to us humans. Rat-bite fever, which happens when an infected rat bites or scratches us, is particularly nasty. They also carry fleas and ticks that are usually only found outdoors. Plus, amore hazardous problem that rats cause is to the structure of your home.
Rat Fact - Their unique teeth are stronger than copper and iron meaning not only can they give a very nasty bite, they can often chew through walls, electrical wiring, furniture and fabrics!
How do I get rid of Rats and Mice?
Here are a few handy tips to include in your battle plan:
Though the tips above can help, rats are extremely difficult to get rid of once they have made a home in or around your property and because they are social creatures, once they get comfortable they will start to breed quickly. Even if you haven’t seen them in or around your house that doesn’t mean they aren’t there – look for the signs (such as containers or food packaging that have been chewed on, scurrying and quiet footstep sounds at night, rat droppings on the ground or behind your fridge or stove), and if you are concerned, call your local JAE team, the experts in Pest Control in New Zealand.
Read more about other Household Pests in our Guide to Pest Control in New Zealand
If you suspect you have a rat problem, then Call JAE on 0800 225 552 to be sure.