Mice and rats are a year-round nuisance, but they tend to get more devious in the winter. As temperatures drop and moisture disappears, your not-so-friendly neighborhood rodent population flees from their outdoor dwellings to your warm garage, basement, attic… you name it.
The point is, they’re coming.
And yeah, it really is that dramatic.
Rodents are notorious for carrying diseases, allergens, parasites, and even other pests like fleas. Their ingrained impulse to chew leads them to gnaw through wood, air/heating units, and even exposed wires underneath your car.
The fact is, rodents are dangerous! They’re dangerous to your health, dangerous to your home, and dangerous to your peace of mind. Stay on top of rodent control this winter—and all year-round for that matter—by following these five valuable tips.
1. Landscape, landscape, landscape.
Before rodents invade your home, they get their feet wet (so to speak) in your yard. Strategic landscaping minimizes your property’s appeal to rodents and encourages them to move right along.
Exterior upkeep tactics begin with eliminating standing water and properly managing any fruit or vegetable plants. It is imperative to clear away fallen leaves and debris from planters, gutters, or anywhere on the ground. Keep all bushes and shrubbery well manicured.
Also, it is a good idea to keep all bushes and trees trimmed at least six feet away from your home’s walls or roof. These cheeky pests will use your beautiful greenery as ramps to scale your walls and roof for a way inside your home—don’t give them that opportunity!
2. Properly store all food.
If for some reason you’re actually trying to infest your home with rodents, the quickest way to get there is to leave food sources out in the open.
So if having rodents in 2019 isn’t your goal, then for goodness’ sakes keep your food properly cleaned up and stored.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as wiping down your kitchen counter after dinner. Rodents, being the objectively filthy creatures they are, happily eat things we would never consider “food”—like your pet’s waste.
The major ways you can keep all food sources secure include:
- Ditching cardboard and plastic vessels for sturdy, airtight containers; rodents can gnaw right through the flimsy receptacles.
- Restricting food to designated areas inside your home. Crumbs can get really out of hand, really quickly.
- Putting pets on a feeding schedule. Pet food left out might as well be a neon advertisement for a rodent oasis.
- Keeping adequate lids on both outdoor and indoor trash cans.
- Properly disposing of pet waste. *silent gag returns*
3. Arm yourself with steel wool and caulking foam.
Rodents have a magical ability to walk through walls.
Okay, well not technically. But, they can fit through holes as impossibly small as ¼-inch wide… tiny enough to seem preternatural.
These furry, flea-infested beings can chew threw a lot. It’s actually quite shocking. They can even start electrical fires while chewing through wiring inside your walls, so avoiding these home intruders is not just a matter of sanitation—it’s about safety as well.
The good news is their powers of mastication end with steel wool and caulking foam. Regularly inspect your walls, windows, doors, and baseboards for tiny holes and fill any you find with a bit of the metal and foam.
If you’re having trouble locating where rodents are gaining access to your home, you may want to consult a professional. Rodent exclusion services include inspecting for entry points as well as making repairs… so no sweat off your back!
4. Don’t underestimate your rodent problem.
You see a rodent scurry across the far end of your yard. and think to yourself, “Eh, it’s just one mouse. As long as it’s outside, who cares?”
You should. You should definitely care.
What starts out as a single rodent quickly devolves into a lawless chaos of disease and damage. But, by the time you catch on to rodent activity, there’s most likely more than one. Rats hide out in their nests and multiply like crazy—not a problem you want to ignore.
5. Get professional help.
Once rodents move in, it’s a long process to get rid of them all. The most effective method of long-term rodent control is through a system of bait boxes used by pest professionals. These locked bait boxes have tiny holes just big enough for mice and rats to slip in and out.
Since only rodents can access the product inside through the holes, bait boxes are a great pet-friendly option. Also, the products are engineered so that there’s no secondary transfer—your cat won’t be affected if it eats a mouse that’s ingested product.
Classic rat traps are another tool… but they’re harder to use than people think. Rodents are actually incredibly sensitive and smart, so they’ll only venture onto these traps if they are placed correctly—usually against at least one wall. These traps also may not be a great choice if you have curious children or pets in the house.
6. Don’t give up!
Both types of control require patience. Rodents are very nervous creatures, and they need to become accustomed to bait boxes and traps as part of their daily scenery before they’ll venture near either of them. We highly recommend that our customers not move bait boxes or traps set by us. Doing so hinders effective rodent control by both reigniting rodents’ suspicions and negating our strategic placement.
Don’t wait until you’re forced to play defense with the rodents—start proactively protecting your home today! Use these prevention measures to keep this winter (and every season for that matter) mice and rat free. If you have any questions about how we treat rodents or even about rodents in general, give us a call! When fighting off rodents, we’re all in this together.
Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/prevent_infestations/index.html https://www.epa.gov/rodenticides/identify-and-prevent-rodent-infestations http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pchousemouse.htm https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/10-easy-tips-to-prevent-mice-and-rodents-inside-the-home/