Rats! The cold weather brought unwanted guests

January 13, 2010 4:05:09 PM PST
The cold weather may have left you with an unwanted visitor. The freezing temperatures sent all sorts of pests looking for a warm place to sleep and your attic is the perfect spot. So what can you do about it? Rodents are on the move because of the recent falling temperatures and they just might be moving in with you.

Exterminator Adam Bernal is on the prowl.

"You can tell where the tunnelage leads through," he said.

In the north west Houston attic, the prey is a rat. Bernal says the recent freezing temperatures brought rodents of all shapes and sizes into Houston homes looking for a warm place to stay. Now that they have found it, getting them to leave may not be easy for homeowners.

"When the temperature began to drop, you could really hear them and I thought the squirrels were trying to get in to stay warm and I thought I better call someone to see what's going on up there because I am not going looking," said homeowner Bridgette Jenkins.

The cold is not the only thing that has rats and mice on the move. Experts say it's mating season and so all homeowners need to take steps to keep their houses free of unwanted guests.

"They will set up camp and live right inside the walls and attic and as long as they are left undisturbed, they will stay for generation after generation," said Steve Martin with ABC Pest, Pool and Lawn.

"And you will hear them?" we asked.

"Oh yeah," he said. "Most of these are, with the exception of squirrels, are nocturnal, so you will hear them at night."

Exterminators say placing wire over any gaps where your siding meets the home's facade or along any walls will help keep rodents at bay. It's also a good idea to place wire into the weep holes too.

"Basically, if you can get your thumb into there, a rat can go through there," said Martin.

And if you have an attached garage, be sure to put wire mesh over the breezeway gap, which connects the garage to your home.

One good thing about the cold -- mosquitoes may be a little less severe this spring, but as far as roaches go, they probably were not affected too much.