October has arrived, and with overnight temperatures already below freezing, winter in Utah is on its way. Snowstorms are expected to hit very soon, and that means a whole host of outdoor vermin will be finding ways to escape the cold weather. Here are just a few common Utah pests that will be trying to enter your home this winter.
Household Basement Dwellers: Mice, Rats and Voles
Mice and rats are warm-blooded creatures, which can be found in many northern Utah cities such as Logan and Ogden, are renowned for their ability to chew through a variety of materials. Their physiological design permits them to enter your house via openings that appear much smaller than their bodies. Rodents are common in agricultural areas, as many species thrive on a diet of grains. Rodents breed quickly, and some types of vole or mouse have no set mating season, meaning they may reproduce during the winter. Some rodents carry a disease known as hantavirus, which is transmitted through bite wounds or droppings.
Utah state epidemiologists estimate that the state sees about one case of hantavirus every year. The most common methods of pest removal for rodents include baited traps and poisons.
Kitchen Crashers: Termites, Ants, and Cockroaches
There are a number of troublesome insects that you may find in your kitchen, ranging from ants to cockroaches to termites. Ants are typically the most benign of the three, and scientists at Texas A&M University have found that fire ants often kill fleas and ticks. However, fire ants also bite humans, and carpenter ants can cause damage to wooden furniture. The best way to get rid of ants (including fire ants) is to spray their entry point with insecticide, then locate their anthill outside and drench it with two gallons of a water-insecticide solution. It can be difficult to find their homes once the snow has fallen, so if you live in a heavy snow area such as Alpine or Alta, be sure to search the ant hills out early in the winter.
Cockroaches, which multiply quickly, may carry a variety of diseases and give off an unpleasant scent. Dead cockroaches and droppings may trigger allergies or asthma attacks in some people. As cockroaches excel at hiding and evading people, extermination should be left to a professional. Termites love to consume lumber products, and can quickly wreak havoc on wooden furniture or foundations.
Baiting termites with boric acid can quickly kill the population. Large infestations, however, are best left to a professional pest removal service.
Unexpected Barnyard Guests: Birds, Bats, and Squirrels
Birds, bats, and squirrels are just a few of the various unwelcome guests that may show up in your barn, shed or workshop this winter.
Some birds may carry harmful diseases, including the avian flu virus. Some bats can carry rabies, and their droppings may produce a fungus that contributes to fatal lung disease. Squirrels can carry a host of diseases including rabies, tick fever, and Powassan virus. Bird and bat infestations are sometimes dangerous, and certain species of each are protected under the Utah Sensitive Species List—making it illegal to kill them. For these reasons, removal of birds, bats, or squirrels is best left to a professional service offering pest control in Utah.
There are a number of different pests that may try to head indoors for the winter, and although do-it-yourself solutions are out there, a professional pest control service has the expertise to rid your home of pests safely and effectively. If an infestation is causing you grief, contact a pest control expert today.