As the temperatures begin to drop with the season, mice, rats, and rodents will be looking for warm places to stay. Whether you have just bought a new home and you are settling into homeownership or you are looking for ways to maintain your long-term home value, pest control is important but there's a concern you might be joined by four-legged pests, like rats, mice, and other rodents who may want to set up household in your new home, too. While you may be fine with an invited overnight guest or two, you draw the line when it comes to unannounced creatures of the night. Consider these tips to prevent rodents from moving into your home.
The easiest way to get started is by making a checklist of the areas that need inspecting. Mice like to hang out in narrow, tight spaces. Save yourself some time and download our which covers areas rodents commonly inhabit. As you check each one, simple note if there are any issues that need addressing or if the area gets an "all clear and good to go" score. Using a checklist eliminates the possibility of overlooking known areas rodents use to infiltrate the home.
Rodents leave telltale signs that will let you know immediately that you have a possible infestation. To begin with, what may seem like an impossible tiny opening for a rat or mouse to crawl through to us is , a very easy feat for them. Look for obvious entryways such as broken fascia, ripped screens (this includes the attic vent) and cracks and crevices around doorways and windows.
Check for holes or openings around dryer vents, under the sink pipes in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, in the wall around baseboards, and exterior areas where cabling or hoses, such as an HVAC system, may provide entry.
If you find cracks, crevices, and holes leading into your home, use caulk to seal the crevices and steel wool to plug the holes. Likewise, if screens are damaged and ripped, replace them with a heavy-duty screening material.
A sealed package of crackers or a loaf of bread left on the kitchen counter is an invitation to dine. Check food products in your cabinets as well as bags of cat, dog, or bird seed for signs of chew marks. To eliminate the attraction of the smells emitted by food products, keep them stored in airtight plastic containers. It's also important to keep garbage bagged and in a secure container.
When checking inside cabinets in the kitchen, storage cabinets in the laundry room, or under the sink in the bathroom, you may see small dark rod-like pieces. These are rodent droppings. You may also find them inside drawers in the kitchen. Once you discover where the rodents are entering and securing those should result in no more droppings.
Rodents making a nest will find a variety of items to use as nesting material. If you have items packed away in boxes in a storage closet or in the attic that contains paper or fabric, you will see signs of the material strew in unusual places. This may be at the entry point to a hiding place such as a small hole in the wall.
Another common sign of mice, rats, or other rodents are rustling or scratching sounds in the walls or ceilings. Often you will be able to hear them in a consistent space in the walls. Make an effort to listen in silence at different times of the day and note any places you hear soft or scratching noises.
If you have outdoor pets, chances are fresh water is available and possibly you feed your pets outside on the deck, patio, or screened porch. For outdoor enthusiasts, you may also have water dishes and bird and squirrel feeders offering a menu of tasty delights.
During the winter when food sources, are scarce and rodents are more interested in staying warm, they will be looking at the outdoor food and water buffet as a means of survival. Add to that a convenient entryway into your home and they have the perfect set up.
Remove water bowls and wash food bowls immediately once your pet has eaten. If there's an infestation, discontinue feeding squirrels and birds until all points of entry are sealed.
While a lot of efforts can be made inside the home to prevent mice, rats, and rodents from moving in to your home, there are a few key adjustments you can make to your outdoor spaces. Remove outdoor hiding spots such as stacks of wood, leaves, and mulch, and keep bushes, shrubs, and plants cut back and away from your home's exterior.
If you find rodents have already set up residence in your home, check out our blog on How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Home or contact our team at Clint Miller Exterminating for a fast and efficient eviction.