Rats and mice can cause serious structural damage to your home. They destroy plumbing, insulation, and electrical wiring. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management reports that insulation damage can cost you several thousand dollars in only a few short years.
Rodents are a serious threat to the health and safety of your family and your pets. They are carriers of many different kinds of bacteria and viruses that are transmissible to humans and animals. The damage rodents cause to electrical wiring poses a serious fire threat, and nest building in electrical panels can result in an expensive loss of property.
With sufficient food and plentiful nesting material, house mice can survive and reproduce at a temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Rodents breed fast. Their young are born just 20 days after mating and are capable of reproducing two months after birth. Once a rodent infestation takes hold in your home, it quickly grows out of control.
Here are some ways to gain a foothold on rodent control by discouraging rats and mice from becoming uninvited guests in your home.
Seal holes inside and outside your home to keep mice and rats out.
By gnawing, mice can gain entry through any opening greater than 1/4 inch across, and rats through openings larger than 1/2 inch. Fill small holes with steel wool, and secure it in place with caulk. Use cement, metal sheeting, or hardware cloth to close large holes.
Remove potential nesting sites from outside your home.
Move leaf piles, woodpiles, and mulch at least 100 feet or more away from the residence. Raise garbage cans, woodpiles, and hay at least one foot off the ground. Dispose of old vehicles and tires that rodents can live in, and keep your grass and shrubbery close to the home well trimmed. If you’re fighting an infestation, stop feeding outdoor birds to reduce the residue that serves as rodent food.
Clean up food and water sources inside your house.
Store dry food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids, and clean them frequently with soap and water. Keep your kitchen garbage in cans with tight-fitting lids, and dispose of it often. Wash your dishes shortly after use, and be sure you clean up spilled food immediately. Don’t leave pet food and water bowels on the floor overnight.
Check exterior doors.
Rodents often get into garages through open doors or by crawling under or beside poor-fitting garage doors. From there, they enter your home through pipes, along electrical lines, or around hot water heaters, furnace ducts, or laundry drains. Make sure all of your doors fit tightly. If the distance between the bottom of the door and the threshold exceeds 1/4 inch, build up the threshold.
Cover drains so rodents can’t use your pipes or sewage system as a route into your home. Equip floor drains, bathtubs, and showers with metal grates held firmly in place. The grate openings should not exceed 1/4 inch.
Keep unscreened doors and windows closed.
If you’re dealing with a rodent infestation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you choose the appropriate snap trap for catching either mice or rats. Glue traps and live traps are not advised because they tend to frighten caught mice, causing them to urinate. The germ-filled urine could expose you to diseases.
Rodent infestations jeopardize your family’s health and safety and pose a great threat to your property. Because they escalate so rapidly, the most prudent action is to consult an experienced and licensed pest control company at the first sign of these unwanted, furry houseguests.