Where Do Rats & Mice Go When it Gets Cold?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

Rats and Mice Take Cover for Fall and Winter

Every year as we start to bundle up a bit, and keep the doors and windows closed, we seem to get uninvited guests that want to winter right along with us—rats and mice.  It’s true that we at Cascade Pest Control get more calls for rodents as the weather gets cold.  It seems that rodents—rats, mice, and sometimes squirrels too—make their presence known in the late fall or winter when it’s cold.

When in the field inspecting homes or businesses for rodents, we often get asked questions about what the typical behavior is for rats and mice when the weather turns cold. This post answers your questions about what rats and mice do in the fall/winter months – and what you need to know to protect your home or business.

Where do rats go when it gets cold?

Rats and mice prefer nesting in a warm building, with protection and abundant nesting material.  However, here in the Pacific Northwest mice are often active, even under snow, during the winter.  And rats in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area are met with a mild, moist climate and can remain active throughout the winter.

Do rats hibernate?

No, rats do not hibernate. They only become less active.  But that’s if they’re living outdoors.  If they’re living in a heated home, they will remain active.  Our native deer mice are active year around…though may slow down while under snow.

Does winter weather send rats and mice indoors?

Yes.  Rats and mice are attracted “indoors” to live in homes and other buildings year around.  But as it gets wet, a dry environment is favorable.  And if they get some heat from the home, they can remain active during the winter.  Great for them; bad for us.

Why are rodent issues more common in winter?

Covered in more detail below, our homes have built-in cavities that provide safety, insulation for nesting, and the warmth radiating from the inside living space is all so nice for rats and mice during the cold winter.

Let’s face it, we provide rats and mice nicely protected cavities within our walls, attics, between floors and substructure crawlspaces.  And, what’s more, we fill it with perfect rat and mouse nesting material—home insulation.  Then we turn on the heat and keep these rodent pests comfortable, perhaps even warm enough to keep breeding through the winter.  And after all that, we leave a little grease in our barbecue or someone in the neighborhood has a garbage can that doesn’t quite close.  There you have it.  You’ve invited these uninvited rodent guests!

Winter Rodent Control and Rodent Exclusion

Cascade rodent control technicians have a greater challenge when it’s damp and wet to investigate your home and determine the extent of your rat or mouse infestation.  But that’s what we at Cascade Pest Control do—the tough work of tracking down rodent pest infestations, sometimes in the tougher reaches of your house or business structure.  So about the time it’s wet and cold we are checking around homes, sometimes crawling under homes, getting wet while we solve rodent problems.

But why so many more rodents in the winter?  Well, yes, the cold does drive them to locate hidden areas and nest for the winter.  But there may be other factors at work.  Kurt Treftz, cofounder of Cascade Pest Control, has 40 years of experience that indicates a few more things might be going on.

For one thing, if the summer was warm and dry, it helped the breeding of rats and mice.  Then the fall comes, and before it’s too cold to slow down rodent breeding, the blackberries come out, apples fall to the ground, and seeds from a variety of bushes and trees get dispersed.  All hearty food for rodents.  So, there may be an outdoor surge in mouse and rat populations just as it starts to get cold.

But all this young rat population eventually moves out of their original nests, strike out and find new nests of their own.  The existing rat population may even be burdened pushing a good number out all at once.  And so, as it gets cold our homes and businesses are prime targets.

But as long as rats and mice have to nest through the winter, and our homes and commercial buildings are suitable nesting areas, we will continue to have an increase in rodent infestations and rodent control calls in the winter.

Call the Rodent, Rat and Mouse Control Experts – Cascade Pest Control

Let us help protect your home and family from rats and mice this winter. With over 40 years’ experience in rodent control and rodent exclusion, Cascade technicians are trained and certified using methods that are safe and considerate of the environment.

Call Cascade Pest Control Today:

Tacoma-Seattle-Everett-Anacortes-Bellingham 888-989-8979

Leavenworth, Wenatchee and Chelan County 509-590-9243

 

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