As the temperatures decline many of us have to brace ourselves for the cooler months ahead—and we are not the only species making preparations. Mice, too, are hard at work as they find ways to move indoors to establish cozy nesting sites before the winter months arrive. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent rodents from making your home their winter domicile.
- inspect and seal exterior of the house
- eliminate outside trash and garbage cans; make sure cans have lids
- maintain vegetation around your home
- clean spillage around bird feeders and store bird seed in plastic tote or metal garbage can
- move wood piles away from house
- leave pet food bowls out overnight
- forget to check opening around utility lines leading into the home
- underestimate the mouse population in your home
- forget that mice are nocturnal
- put out rodenticide at the first sighting of a rodent
In order to enter a building or structure, mice need an opening only about the size of a dime. Common mouse entryways into homes or buildings include gaps around exterior pipe ways or vents and openings around doors and windows. Use a high quality silicone sealant in cracks and crevices the size of diameter of a pencil or larger to thwart entry.
There is no need to feed rodents when you don’t have to. Eliminating a food source, such as access to garbage cans, by making sure lids are tightly sealed will go a long way in preventing mice from thinking of your home as a convenient snack bar.
Those shrubs and flower beds certainly add curb appeal to your home, but they are also attractive to rodents that are seeking safe harborage. Keeping vegetation trimmed will be less attractive to rodents looking to make a home in the safety of overgrown flower beds.
Proper storage of birdseed or wildlife food will prevent mice from getting a free meal. A metal can or plastic tote with a tight fitting lid is vital to keeping not only rodents away, but larger animals such as raccoons as well. Cleaning up any spillage when accessing the bins or from feeders will also help keep rodents from repeated visits.
Keeping the wood pile away from the home is a smart strategy in keeping rodents from gaining access indoors. They won’t hitch a ride on the wood you bring in, but proximity to your home gives rodents an opportunity to check out other access areas that may look more inviting than a wood pile.
If you feed your pet outside, throw out any remaining food and bring the bowl inside. Leaving cans of cat food outdoors for the neighborhood stray cats will attract not only rodents, but larger animals such as raccoons.
Inspect the exterior of your home, and seal any openings the size of a diameter of a pencil or larger, including gaps around utility lines routed through the walls of your home.
Mice populations grow rapidly, with one female capable of producing multiple litters and more than 30 offspring in one year. Where there’s one, there’s more. Underestimating the mouse population is a primary reason for control failure with rodents.
Mice are nocturnal creatures and will generally only come out at night seeking food and nesting material. This means mice may not be spotted until they have become well established in a home or building. Droppings, chew marks, and scratching sounds in the walls are clues there is a rodent problem.
Rodenticide use is risky inside of a home. Rodents that consume the rodenticide may die in hard to access areas, such as inside of walls, which will then attract secondary pest invaders to eat the decaying rodents, compounding your pest problem. Additionally, pets and children may discover the rodenticide before the rodent does.
Rodents can transmit diseases such as food poisoning-pathogens when food or food surfaces are contaminated with infected rodent droppings or urine. Rodents can also cause significant amounts of damage to household items such as food, clothing, and furniture through gnawing, or by contaminating items with their droppings and urine. A pest management professional can provide advice or a targeted treatment to deal with an infestation and offer advice on how to keep your home rodent free.