Nobody likes having uninvited guests in their home making a mess of things and damaging its structural integrity. Mice and rodents are some of the most pesky and persistent pests to get rid of. Here’s an interesting fact about mice: Mice only need a quarter of an inch of space to get into a building. This means that if you want to keep them out of your home, you’re going to have to get on their level and see things from their angle. One of their superpowers is contortion, so getting through the narrowest of spaces is just a regular day at the office for them.
Humans that don’t want to live with pests need to consider Mice & Rodent Control before the cold temperatures arrive. When the weather gets cold, rodents do not hibernate, they look for warmer shelter and a steady food supply. For your comfort and peace of mind, you definitely don’t want your home to become their winter home. And all too often, a mouse’s winter home becomes its year round home. Rodents are not the kind of roommates you want around. Here are a few steps you can take to keep mice and rodents out, keep the things and people you want in.
Find the Weak Spots
The definition of a weak spot is different depending on the pest you’re trying to eradicate or prevent. As far as mice and other rodents are concerned, taking a deeper look at the exterior of your home is a great place to start. Any cracks, holes and crevices need to be addressed. Rodents are superior contortionists and can fit through some pretty unreal spaces. Check in and around landscaping, like bushes, gardens and trees, for holes and burrows. Look for holes, loose boards and siding and cracks in and around your house near the ground. These are going to be their best entry points. Don’t forget to check your garage, shed and any other structures on your property.
Seal Off Entry Points
Once you have identified the weak spots that are likely to be targeted by mice and rodents, it’s time to seal up these potential entry points. Closing off any possible entries can be as simple as applying exterior grade caulk to any existing cracks and holes. It can also be a bit more involved, like replacing stones, boards or pieces sof siding. The sooner you block off entry points, the less likely you are to experience rats in your home. Most rodents would rather keep searching for winter residence than work at gnawing through any secure defenses you set.
Eliminate Food Sources
In addition to warm shelter, mice and rodents are also looking for food to eat. Rodents are not very picky eaters. Sure, they’ve got their favorites, but they’ll settle for just about anything, even paper. Keep in mind that rats and mice can chew through just about anything, including rubber and metal, to get to a tasty enough meal. Couple their chewing ability with their ability to climb most surfaces and you have a real recipe for rodent trouble. It is absolutely key that you get rid of any food sources outside your home that would attract mice and rats. Trash cans, bird feeders and pet feeding stations are some of the more common outdoor food sources that attract pests. Whenever possible, keep these items indoors and away from any rodents. Only place garbage and yard waste outside on trash collection days to further discourage rats and rodents. Remember, a home isn’t a home without food. Mice won’t stay where there’s no food.
Consider Natural Enemies
Keeping pets that are natural enemies of rodents is an excellent way to deter them from moving into your house. Dogs, cats and snakes are just a few natural predators of rodents. Predators help to keep the rodent population in check. Cats, in particular, are superior hunters of rats and mice. They get a high from killing these animals for sport. They like to lay deceased rodents and other prey animals out as presents for their owners. It’s the natural order of things. If you already own a cat or dog, it is likely that you don’t have a rodent problem, as mice will typically smell them and be wary of taking up room in your home. Remember the cartoon, Tom and Jerry? In real life, cats are far more successful at keeping rodents in check.
Traps and Poisons
In addition to sealing up your home and taking precautions not to give rodents any interest in your house, you may want to consider placing traps around your property for good measure. If you’re comfortable with the idea, there are also plenty of poisons on the market that can take care of any pests or infestations. Traps come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are intended for outdoor use, while others are better suited for indoor use. When you do a good job of sealing your home and eliminating things that attract pests to your home, you may only need outdoor traps as a fail safe or as a security measure to stop any potential problems from rearing their little pink noses and whiskers.
Hire an Exterminator
Fear not! If you’re not comfortable with dealing with rodents or short on time and experience, you can always hire a professional exterminator to fortify your home against rats and mice. Not only can an exterminator make your home less appealing to rodents, they can also properly deal with any infestations you may already have. They can set traps and monitor them, they can provide poison, they can even apply chemicals that will repel rodents and other pests. You can even consult with an exterminator on the best options for your lifestyle and family.
Where Rodents Love to Roam
Bearing in mind that mice can get through openings the size of a dime, homeowners have to be vigilant in the fight against mice and rats. They will inhabit any room in your home without apology. Here are some of their favorite haunts and what you can do to win back your home if you were too late in making use of some of the earlier discussed suggestions.
- Kitchen. Since your kitchen is where most of your food items are, you’re likely to see more rodents or evidence of them here. To drive them out, it is important to clean daily, store food in airtight containers, regularly empty trash cans and eliminate any leaks. Thoroughly cleaning under appliances is also suggested. As already noted, where there’s no food, there’s no mice.
- Attic. The attic is a favorite hideout for rodents. It’s dark and dry and warm. Not to mention, there’s not a lot of foot traffic to disturb them and their breeding. You can keep them out by inspecting your attic for any possible entry points like cracks and holes. Also give your roof a thorough inspection, looking for loose roof tiles or shingles, gaps in the attic vents and any other mousey looking possibilities. It’s also recommended to check in on the status of the attic a couple of times during the winter, and even more often if you experience strong weather events.
- Garage. A garage is another favorite mousse haunt. It’s secluded enough and warm enough with plenty of places to hide. If there are any vehicles that are not in use, you may be surprised to learn that rodents will often live under the hood or in the seats. Vehicles have tons of wires and plastic and things for them to gnaw on, and seat cushions make for a comfortable bedding and nesting material. Keep your shelving free of debris and when possible, store things in plastic bins. Check doors for gaps and make sure that you’ve sealed off any entry points.
- Fireplace. Here’s the one place that most homeowners fail to consider rodent-proofing. Not only is the chimney an excellent residence for rats and mice, so is your wood pile. Be sure to keep your wood pile at least 20 feet away from your home and put a cap on your chimney so that no unwanted guests can crawl in and settle in. Even birds, squirrels and bats will move in if you fail to seal off your fireplace properly.
Once you’ve done all that you can do to make your home unappealing to mice and rodents, it’s time to take measures to ensure that they stay away. There are plenty of products on the market that help to repel these common pests. Some are as simple to use as plugging in a lamp while others require a little more elbow grease. Be sure to read the labels on proper usage and how to best apply them for the best results. And remember, there’s no shame in hiring an exterminator to help you solve an infestation or rodent-proof your home. You don’t have to put up with mice in your home at any point in the year. The undue trouble they cause is not worth your sanity.