Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing writer and editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attract Buyers, Not Pests
Did a mouse drop by your open house? Little did you know—it may have already moved in.
January 11, 2013
Homes, especially vacant ones, are a common refuge for small animals and bugs seeking warmth in the winter months. Learn how to protect your listings with these tips on dealing with three types of cold weather pests–rodents, wildlife, and insects.
If winter pest activity around a home gets out of hand, contact a licensed pest professional for an inspection and customized treatment program.
Culprits: House mice, roof rats, Norway rats
Threats: Gnawing through electrical wires can cause fire. Urine and fecal matter can contaminate food and harbor diseases.
Prevention Tips: Install weather stripping on all doors and windows; trim overgrown branches, plants, and bushes; advise clients not to leave dirty dishes in the sink or pet food out at night.
Culprits: Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, bats, various species of mice and rats
Threats: Chewing holes into a home’s structure to reach hidden areas. May carry rabies, hantavirus, or LCMV.
Prevention Tips: Inspect crawl spaces; cover attic vents and fan openings with wire cloth; advise clients to use hard plastic or metal waste bins with tightly fitted, clamped lids.
Culprits: Stink bugs, lady bugs, cluster flies, kudzu beetles
Threats: Feed on plants, fruits, and crops
Prevention Tips: Seal all cracks and crevices with caulk; place screens over doors and windows; install door sweeps under all doors.
Source: Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director