If rodents can find a way into your house, they will be more than happy to become your newest houseguest. As the weather becomes colder, people’s homes provide the perfect place for rodents to find warmth and protection.

Unfortunately, it is not very difficult for rodents to get into your home and once they’re inside, the problems will start. Here are some facts about rats & mice you may not know, but will help you understand how to better guard against them.

10 Facts about Rats

  1. Rats can enter your house through a hole or gap as small as half an inch.
  2. A brown rat can breed anytime through the year if the conditions are right. A female rat can produce up to five litters per year and the average gestation period is 21 days.
  3. Rats reach sexual maturity within five weeks and can start breeding immediately.
  4. Brown rats can live in any location.
  5. If a big portion of a rat colony is exterminated, those that remain will increase their reproductive rate and work quickly to restore the population to its previous levels.
  6. Rats carry diseases like Weil’s disease, viral hemorrhagic fever, Q fever, rat bite fever and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
  7. The brown rat is an omnivore and will eat almost anything at all.
  8. One female rat can produce up to 84 offspring in one year and an average of 20 young per female per year will survive to adulthood.
  9. Female rats can breed within one or two days of giving birth.
  10. The average lifespan of a rat is one year.

Facts about Mice

  1. A female house mouse has an estrous cycle of 4-6 days long.
  2. The gestational period for a litter of mice is approximately 19-21 days and females give birth to a litter of 3-14 babies.
  3. One female mouse can have approximately 5-10 litters of young per year, so mice reproduce very quickly.
  4. Mice can breed throughout the year.
  5. Female mice reach sexual maturity within six weeks of birth and males around eight weeks. Both genders can breed as early as five weeks.
  6. House mice can transmit diseases and contaminate food and food packages.
  7. Mice are very adaptable and can live in nearly any type of environment.
  8. A house mouse usually lives less than a year in the wild, but in a protected environment like a human house, they can live from two to three years.
  9. A female mouse is ready to breed again within two to four days of giving birth.
  10. The actual number of births a young mouse can have will depend on the quality and availability of food and size of the colony.

Controlling the Rodent Population

To be successful, rodents must have access to three simple things: food, water and shelter. However, combatting a rodent population is not so easy. Getting rid of them involves three different aspects: rodent proofing, sanitation and rodent killing.

Rodent proofing the home means using good sanitary practices like removing trash, and disposing of any junk or food sources that could be eaten by rats and mice. All the openings in the home where water pipes, vents and spouts enter the dwelling will need to be sealed off or filled in. Doors and windows should be secured tightly and any broken screens should be replaced.

Rodent proofing and sanitation are the things that require the most effort; in serious cases of infestation, it’s best to leave these things to the professionals.

For homeowners dealing with a rodent problem, there are traps and poisons available, but these will only offer so much relief. When dealing with a large rodent population, it pays to remember you may catch one or two in a trap, but how many others are still crawling around your home remains to be seen.

It’s a good idea to bring in a professional pest control company to check out the premises when dealing with rodents, because they can be extremely difficult to completely get rid of. If you experience any signs of rodents around your house, don’t hesitate to call the pest control professionals at The Bugs Stop Here, Inc.