Rodents are another uninvited guest that is very common this time of year. Rats, mice and even squirrels are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. With pet food, cereal, other household garbage and heat, our homes are very inviting to rodents.
Rodents do major damage to our homes. They will make holes in our duct work. Talk about losing efficiency. Sending cold air through a duct with holes in it during the hot summers in the Lowcountry has to waste some major dollars. Rodents also chew on wires that can mess up your electricity in your house and in the worst case that can lead to a fire. Just seeing or hearing a rodent in your home can be quit unsettling not to mention the disease, fecal pellets urine and other nasty things associated with rodents.
Rodents can rapidly increase in numbers by attracting other rodents through scent and also by having babies.
If you think you have an issue, act quickly. There are many wildlife control companies and pest management companies in the area that will be glad to help you manage this situation.
Exclusion is always the best way to deal with rodents; however, they are sneaky guys and can squeeze into very tight places. They say a mouse can enter a home through a crack the size of a dime and a rat can enter a home through a crack the size of a quarter.
Paying close attention to crawl space doors, foundation vents, flashing and attic vents are the easy obvious entry points. When you do a major exclusion job, you have to get the rodents that are already in your house out or you have just trapped them in your house.
Using baits can be tricky around homes with children and pets; however, they can be a very effective tool. The rodent can also die in an area (wall void, duct work, attic) that might smell up the house for a few days. Not real good during your holiday party.
Traps are nice because you can see what you have caught. Snap-E traps, T-Rex and the old wooden Victor traps are very effective. The Snap-E trap claims to be the fastest, most humane way to kill a rodent. Glue boards also work and are not spring loaded; however, a slower death for the uninvited guest.
Where you place the traps and how you bait them will determine how successful you are with the traps. Usually rodents travel along a wall – like a roach. Rodents are aware of their surroundings, so sometimes it is best to put a trap in an area with bait but without setting it for a day or two to see if the rodent is coming to it. Then set it and hopefully you will catch the rodent.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.
(Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mount Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600) or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at PossumSupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “ The Garden Clinic,” Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m., on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.)