Rodent Control 101: Tips for Keeping Mice and Rats Out of Your Home

Everyone is getting prepared for cooler weather… including the rodents! 

Keeping mice and rats out of your home involves a combination of preventative measures and, if necessary, intervention strategies. In this article, you will learn some effective steps you can take.

Seal entry points

Mice can squeeze in through tiny openings. Pay special attention to areas where the utility and plumbing lines enter the home. These cracks can be sealed using steel wool, caulk or expanding foam. However, steel wool can rust, which releases particles of dust that can be a breathing risk. Rodents can chew through foam and caulk that are used alone. It is wiser to use copper mesh and adhesives together to exclude rodents.

Keep a clean environment

Rodents are attracted to food, spills and crumbs. Store food in airtight, chew-proof containers made of glass, metal, or thick plastic. Using sandwich bags doesn’t usually work because the mice can smell the food and simply chew right through the bag to get to it.  Mice have even been known to chew wine corks thinking they were a food source!

Properly dispose of garbage

Simply disposing of garbage, whether inside or outdoors, isn’t always a solution unless the container or garbage that can be used can be tightly sealed. Putting trash bags inside of rugged trash cans with lids that seal, can keep these furry pests out.

Remove any excess water

Rodents are also attracted to water and require it equally to a food source. Leaky faucets and pipes as well as standing water in trays under potted plants are an unsuspecting area of concern. 

Prune vegetation and clear the areas up against the home

Overgrown vegetation and wood piled up against the house can provide potential hiding and access points to the home.

Secure outdoor storage areas

Sheds and outdoor storage buildings are perfect locations for mice and rats to shelter. Make sure the entry points are as secure as possible. Don’t use these buildings to store any type of food, like pet food or seeds, if possible.

Install door threshold strips

Door sweeps will help prevent rodents from squeezing under the door and into the home. 

Use mesh screens

Install sturdy mesh screens over vents, eave soffits and chimneys to prevent entry to the attic or fireplace.

Keep the attic and basement clean and tidy

Since these areas are sometimes the least occupied in a home during the winter, be sure to keep them well-organized and free of clutter. Rats and mice like to nest in areas that provide a more secure hiding place for them.

Set traps

If you have seen rat or mouse droppings, which indicate activity, you may want to set traps and check them daily to see if the rodent has “taken the bait”!  Snap traps and even live traps can be effective but, remember you will then be tasked with removing the dead animal to avoid decomposition. This type of rodent removal is best left to the professionals.

Tips for Unoccupied Winter Homes

If you happen to have a vacation home that you don’t occupy in the winter, there are several additional steps you may want to take to keep rodents from nesting inside.

  • Store any clothing items like socks in airtight containers instead of drawers. Mice can be very destructive and destroy these soft cotton items and use the remnants for their own bedding.
  • Once the drawers are free of clothing, open them up. Mice like dark, safe environments for nesting and they will most likely just scurry through without doing any damage.
  • If possible, remove all food sources. Clean under the couches, refrigerators, and other areas where crumbs could have accumulated during your summer occupancy. 
  • Remove the bedding completely if possible and store in an airtight container. If this isn’t feasible, try covering the bed with a thick tarp or similar material. Tuck it under the mattress like you do the sheets and it will offer more protection. 

In Summary

It’s important to be persistent and thorough when implementing any measure of rodent control.  It’s often a combination of tactics that leads to the most effective method. Additionally, acting promptly is crucial because mice and rats reproduce quickly, and your small problem can escalate quickly if not addressed immediately. 

Creating a mouse and rat free environment is the start but, monitoring and changing tactics may also be necessary. 

Hiring the professionals Massey Services can end up being a more successful strategy which will save you money and aggravation in the long run. They have expertise in dealing with rodent infestations and can recommend the appropriate strategies for your specific situation.