Finally, some cooler weather! After a summer of particularly extreme heat, cold fronts have moved through East Tennessee. Lest the cooling temperatures put you off your guard against pest threats, I wanted to issue a pest control alert, and this particular warning is especially directed to our customers and friends in Sevierville. Let’s talk about the rodent threat that is rising in East Tennessee.
You may remember from our previous post about rodents that mice and rats begin to cause trouble in earnest during the fall. Cold weather often drives them inside where they can find comfort in your warm house because, let’s face it, once they’re inside, they’re only as cold as you are. However, this year’s heat may have raised the stakes for rodents and increased the problems for homeowners.
Mice and rats don’t like to be too hot. They dehydrate quickly, and rats are particularly dependent on reliable water sources for survival. This summer, Russell’s received phone calls about rodent problems, which is fairly unusual. The mice and rats were attempting to force their way inside because the heat was so extreme that they wanted to borrow your sink, walk-in shower, or leaking pipe to keep their families cool. Now that the evenings are becoming brisk, they are not at all motivated to move out.
So, why is this relevant for residents of Sevierville in particular? Well, Sevier County has just the environmental variety that mice and rats find attractive. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are highly commercialized and feature dozens of restaurants and hotels. The presence of many humans in close quarters provides easy pickings for rodents. They hardly have to scavenge for food when so much is available in trash bins. Property owners in commercially-centered areas like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge must constantly be on their guard against full-scale invasions from unwanted guests.
On the other hand, Sevierville also has acres and acres of peacefully remote wooded areas that make the Smokey Mountains so enjoyable. Unfortunately, woodlands are also a favorite of rodents. Mice and rats live in woods and fields; we just usually don’t see them there. However, if the field-dwellers are struggling to survive, a secluded, picturesque cabin is just the place for them. Rural Sevierville residents can be quickly overwhelmed by a rodent problem in the fall.
To top it all off, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Kodak, and Townsend (though it’s in Blount County) are all host to many rental cabins. People from all over the country have cabins in the Great Smokey Mountains, which may only be occupied for a couple of weeks a year. Vacant structures without consistent pest control run a high risk of sustaining rodent damage. We’ve heard stories of mice creating large nests in mattresses, storage bins, and insulation, which the property owners only discovered on the first day of their planned vacations!
The moral of the story is that all residents of East Tennessee, particularly those in Sevier County, should be aware of the potential threat of rodents. Put down snap traps or glue boards in your vacant cabins. If you’re comfortable with the idea, read the labels of mouse baits and put them in areas where people and non-target animals can’t encounter them. Or, contact Russell’s Pest Control. We’ll monitor the situation four times a year, so you don’t have to worry about it.