Rodents are one of the most resourceful pests when it comes to getting into your home. Mice and rats can squeeze through the tiniest cracks to gain access and they require very little space to travel inside. Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the fall and winter months as they go in search of warmth, food and water. While a rodent sighting can be scary enough, these pests also pose serious hazards to your home and your health. They can gnaw through cardboard, paper, and even electrical wires, putting you at risk for fires. They are known to carry bacteria, like salmonella and hantavirus, and can contaminate your food, kitchen surfaces, and other areas of your home. Even rodent droppings are dangerous – helping spread these pathogens to you and your family.
- Use doorsweeps and screens on windows and doors. Make sure to keep them in good repair and replace them when needed.
- Use screens on vents and chimneys, as well.
- Seal up any cracks and holes on the exterior of your home with caulk or steel wool, especially around utility pipes.
- Store food in airtight containers. Make sure to empty your trash often.
- Clean up any spills and crumbs immediately. Don’t leave food out overnight, including pet food. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis.
- Keep basements, crawlspaces, and attics clean, decluttered and dry. Use plastic storage containers instead of cardboard when possible.
- Check foundations and windows and replace any loose mortar and weatherstripping.
- Check for sources of moisture and eliminate them (e.g. leaky pipes, clogged drains, clogged gutters). Make sure downspouts are directing water away from foundations. Consider installing a gutter guard system.
- Inspect everything before bringing it into your home including grocery bags, boxes, packages, furniture, and appliances.
- Keep piles of firewood elevated off the ground and at least 20 feet from your home. Keep grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed back so it isn’t touching the house.
If you do find signs of rodents in your home, best practice is to remove them and prevent re-entry as soon as possible. This is best accomplished by a professional pest control company who can not only eliminate the nuisance pests, but help identify nesting sites and points of entry to help prevent reinfestation in the future.