How one can shield your PA home from ticks and rodents this fall

While fall isn’t the time when most people typically worry about pest infestations, the time of year does drive some species indoors to seek warmth, and they could be causing problems in your Pennsylvania home.

The National Pest Management Association’s Fall and Winter 2022 Forecast predicts that Pennsylvania residents will continue to see a higher than normal population of ticks during the early winter months.

“Expect relief from mosquitoes and biting insects as cooler autumn temperatures move to the region. However, average fall temperatures could mean tick activity remains high into the early winter months. Look for rodents who will head indoors in search of shelter and resources as temperatures continue to drop,” says the NPMA’s seasonal forecast for the Northeast and New England region.

NPMA chief entomologist Jim Fredericks told the Center Daily Times that ticks only need a small window of warmer weather to become active.

“Today, we don’t usually think of ticks as winter pests. But unlike stink bugs and rodents, which seek shelter indoors, ticks are put into a dormant state when the weather cools,” Fredericks said.

On warmer fall and winter days, when it reaches about 50 degrees, ticks become active and start looking for hosts, Fredericks said.

Ticks shouldn’t be as much of a problem as they are in spring and summer as there are generally fewer warm days, but a walk in the woods in a 50 degree outside temperature might be enough for a tick to hitch a ride.

If you spend time outside on a warmer fall or winter day, be sure to wear an insect repellent designed to protect against ticks and check yourself and any pets or property for ticks afterwards, Fredericks said.

“If you can find and remove a tick within the first 24 hours, you can greatly reduce the likelihood that the tick will transmit pathogens that cause things like Lyme disease,” Fredericks added.

Tick ​​5.JPG Ticks can become active and search for hosts from as little as 50 degrees. National Pest Control Association

Fredericks recommended people shower indoors because it makes tick control easier. If you find a tick in the shower, you can usually wash it off right away.

In addition to ticks, the NPMA warns that rodents, particularly house mice, could be a nuisance to Pennsylvania residents this fall and winter.

House mice typically enter the home through gaps and crevices, and they only need a dime-sized hole to get inside, Fredericks noted.

A common entry point into homes is where garage doors reach the ground, Fredericks said, because worn seals can give rodents enough space.

It’s important to be alert and on the lookout for mice so you can spot an infestation before it becomes less manageable. A single mouse can produce up to 25,000 droppings in a year, Fredericks continued, and droppings could be the first sign mice have entered your home.

house mouse.jpg Here’s what you need to know to keep house mice out of your Illinois home as temperatures cool this fall. Thomas V. Myers, National Pest Control Association A brown house mouse sits and feeds.

Pest experts can help with mouse problems, and there are some home remedies as well.

If you decide to use a live trap and release method, be sure to check local regulations before releasing the rodent to a secluded location that is at least 2 miles from your home.

Meredith Howard is a service journalist with the Belleville News-Democrat. She is a graduate of Baylor University and previously worked as a freelancer for the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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