You see them running around all summer and don’t think much of it. They dash across your lawn, leap from tree to tree, maybe steal some seeds from your bird feeder. Squirrels and chipmunks are common New Jersey rodents, as are rats and mice. While you might not pay much attention to them in the summer, you’ll want to be sure to take some time to think about them as the weather grows cold.
In today’s article we are discussing each of these four furry pests, why you don’t want them invading your space, and how to avoid such a fate.
The eastern gray squirrel and the southern flying squirrel are two common types of squirrels in New Jersey. They are both gray with white underbellies and bushy tails. Eastern gray squirrels are typically a bit larger than southern flying squirrels, but both enjoy leaping from tree to tree, or house to house.
Squirrels eat a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. They are also known to eat eggs or small bird, on occasion.
Chipmunks are slightly smaller than their squirrel cousins. They can be identified by their reddish-brown bodies, which have distinctive black and tan stripes down their backs and faces. Chipmunks live in burrows underground but will climb trees to avoid danger. They have similar diets to squirrels, eating seeds, nuts, fruits, and plant bulbs.
House mice and deer mice are two common types of New Jersey mice. Both are smaller than squirrels and chipmunks, and house mice are smaller than deer mice. House mice have a grayish body, cream-colored belly, and small, dark eyes. Deer mice have a brown or black body with white feet and a white belly, and large, dark eyes. Both have big ears.
Mice eat seeds, nuts, insects, and fruit, among other things.
Norway rats and roof rats are two common types of rats found in New Jersey. Norway rats are the bigger of the two (and the biggest of all the rodents mentioned here). They have brown shaggy coats with some black hairs interspersed and a grayish-white belly. Norway rats have small eyes and ears and a short, blunt nose. They are poor climbers.
Roof rats are slightly smaller than Norway rats. They have smooth, black coats and their underside can be black, gray, or white. Roof rats have long, pointed noses and are excellent climbers.
Rats will eat whatever they can find, which typically results in a diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, and grains.
The Dangers Rodents Pose
These four pests may seem harmless and even cute (at least some of them), but they can be incredibly destructive and dangerous. Here are a few reasons why:
- Rodents have front teeth that continuously grow, which means they must constantly chew in order to keep their incisors at a manageable length. If they live outside your home, they can destroy gardens or ruin items in your shed or garage. If they get into your home they will chew through insulation, walls, pipes, and wiring, causing significant damage and posing a fire hazard.
- Rodents can bring other pests into your home, pests such as ticks and fleas.
- Rodents carry and transmit diseases, including Salmonella and dysentery.
- Rodents will bite when threatened.
- Rodents leave urine and feces behind, posing a health hazard.
How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Home
Fall is the most likely time of year that rodents try to get into homes. They need warm shelter and a consistent food source through the fall and winter, and your house might be just the ticket. To ensure your house is as uninviting as possible to rodents, do the following:
- Keep trees trimmed back from your house to avoid easy access to your roof.
- Keep wood piles and leaf and brush debris a distance from your house.
- Keep outdoor garbage cans tightly covered.
- Check around your home’s foundation and walls for cracks, holes, and crevices, and fill any holes you find, even the tiny ones.
- Cover vents and cap your chimney.
- Make sure soffits and roof shingles are intact.
- Fix leaks, and repair water-damaged property.
- Limit food sources by keeping food in sealed containers.
- Call ChemTec Pest Control. We can make your home a place where rodents don’t want to be, and we have the expertise to notice problem areas you may not pick up on.
This fall, keep rodents outside where they belong. Visit our website to learn more.