MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - January 26, 2015) - Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes each winter because like many Americans, they prefer to spend the cold months indoors. According to Terminix, a leading provider of pest control services, calls about infestations of mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons significantly increase during the winter months.
"Different regions can have unique pests, but these four wildlife nuisances consistently cause winter problems for homeowners across the country," said Buck Hempel, manager of wildlife and exclusion services at Terminix. "It's important to know the signs and catch them early, before major damage is done. If you don't know what to look for, have a professional assessment done."
To prevent these critters from damaging your property and spreading dangerous diseases, consider the following little-known facts from Terminix.
1. THE SMALLER THE CRITTER, THE BIGGER THE INFESTATION.
Small rodents such as rats and mice are resourceful and nimble, able to enter a home through openings the size of a quarter or nickel, respectively. Once inside, the agile animals require very little space to travel unnoticed and breed very quickly, with one mouse birthing up to a dozen babies every three weeks. This means 50 to 100 mice can make themselves at home in no time.
2. CHECK YOUR ROOF -- IT'S A COMMON PLACE FOR PESTS TO ENTER.
Many homeowners mistakenly believe rats and mice only enter on the ground level, when in reality they are skilled climbers and jumpers. They will scale brick, wood, siding or stucco to find a point of entry, often near vents, wires, pipes, windows or doors. Once one finds a hole or creates a hole by chewing, others will follow -- it's not uncommon to have multiple species of animals living in separate parts of one home. For example, squirrels in an attic have no problem sharing that space with mice.
3. IF YOUR HOME HAS PESTS, YOUR PETS ARE AT RISK.
Infestations are very dangerous for cats, dogs and other pets. Rodents can spread more than 35 diseases and carry up to 200 human pathogens, many of which can be contracted by cats and dogs -- including lice, intestinal worms and rat-bite fever. Pets are also an overall ineffective method of pest control, as most rodents scurry in attics and wall voids bigger animals can't reach. If you see signs of an infestation, keep your furry friends safe and call in professional help.
4. CRITTERS CAN THRIVE IN EVEN THE CLEANEST OF HOUSES.
Although sanitation and the exterior condition of the home can sometimes be factors in animal infestations, they are not the most common reason. Most nuisance animals entering into homes are the result of construction flaws that leave natural gaps and openings for entry in search of warmth, shelter and food. Contrary to popular belief, most of these cases are in urban areas, not rural. And it's often a neighborhood affair -- as critters breed in one home, they may look to nearby homes for additional room and resources.
5. ACT FAST, OR DAMAGES CAN BE EXTREME.
It doesn't take long for a pack of animals to do serious damage on a home, from soiling and trampling insulation to punching holes in roofs. A buildup of their excretions can create air quality problems that are potentially hazardous to humans, and in the worst cases, gnawing on electrical wires can cause destructive house fires. Studies estimate up to 25 percent of fires of "unknown origin" are actually caused by rodents. Repairing the damage can be expensive -- think thousands of dollars in insulation replacements, attic restorations or structural repairs -- and if you're looking to sell your house, infestations are often deal-breakers.
Animal-proofing exclusion services are the best option to properly seal and protect your home from rodents and winter pests. If you've noticed any signs of infestation -- including droppings, unusual noises or squeaks, a musty odor, marks of gnawing or nests -- you may need rodent and wildlife control support and exclusion work, and should call a professional as soon as possible.
With the Terminix Pest Control Plan, you'll be protected by a proactive approach that offers you protection against 27 common pests, including rodents, ants, cockroaches, spiders and more. A technician will fill all of the home's holes, not just the area in question, to ensure there is no opportunity for the winter pests to re-enter in a different location. Best of all, when you retain service with Terminix, you're protected by the Ultimate Protection® Guarantee, the strongest guarantee in the business.
Terminix is the leading provider of termite and pest control services in the United States. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services more than 2.8 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 11 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc.To learn more about Terminix, visit www.Terminix.com.
ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV) is a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services, operating through an extensive service network of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and licensed locations. The company’s portfolio of well-recognized brands includes Terminix (termite and pest control), American Home Shield (home warranties), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), Furniture Medic (furniture repair) and AmeriSpec (home inspections). The company serves approximately 5 million residential and commercial customers through an employee base of approximately 13,000 company associates and a franchise network that independently employs an estimated 33,000 additional people. The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.