By Stephanie Larkin–
Mice and rat infestation can be a serious problem. They can spoil and foul food, and spread disease. No one likes to share their homes with rodents. You throw out food, spend hours cleaning up their droppings and listen to them skittering in the walls and floorboards at all hours of the night. Here are some tips to help you keep your home mouse and rodent free.
1. Prevention is the best policy.
It’s far easier to keep mice out than to get them out. Start by blocking holes and tunnels that provide access into your home for the furry little rodents.
Start with a careful visual examination of the foundation and all outside walls in your house. Look for cracks and holes that allow access. Mice can squeeze under the crack below a door, so no hole is too small.
A trick for finding small cracks and holes is to turn on all the lights in your house after dark, then walk around it carefully outside, looking for any places where light leaks through.
Patch any holes or cracks that you find, or stuff them with steel wool. It’s one of the few things that mice can’t chew through.
Make your lawn unfriendly to mice and rats. Keep it trimmed, and trim any bushes or shrubs near the house that make it easy for them to hide.
Trim trees so that the lowest branches are at least 18 inches above the ground.
Make sure that three branches that over hang roofs are at least three feet away from the house to discourage tree rats that can make the jump from a tree to the house.
Make sure that all window screens are secure and in good repair.
Cover chimneys with a spark arrester to keep mice and rats from coming down the chimney.
Install a sweeper at the bottom of garage doors and any other doors to outside. A mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime.
While you’re at it, look for any holes around pipes that go through floors, and for vents. Seal them off with steel wool.
Mothballs stuffed into holes or scattered along foundation walls and behind furniture can help keep mice out, but be aware that they are poisonous. If you have pets or small children, be sure to place the mothballs in places that are inaccessible to them.
2.Cut down on the attraction factor.
Mice are attracted by food, of course. Once you draw them close to the house by leaving food out for them, it’s just a short step to inviting them inside. Keep all garbage in covered metal or heavy duty plastic cans, preferably in an area that’s not attached to the house. If you have a shed or enclosed porch that is attached to the house, don’t use it for garbage storage unless the garbage is carefully stored away in covered tins or cans. Use mothballs to cover up the scent of food that might attract them as well.
3.Don’t feed the animals.
Indoors, keep food and garbage off the floor and counters. Don’t leave foods out on counters, including bread and cakes in cardboard or plastic bags. Mice will chew right through to get at the goodies inside.
Make sure that all dry goods are stored in plastic, glass or metal tins. Use canisters for flour, sugar and other dry goods. Put boxes of cereal in sealed plastic containers, or at least behind closed cabinet doors.
4. Opt for all natural rodent prevention.
Tom and Jerry fans take note – the mouse does not always win. One of the best ways to keep your home rodent free is to keep a furry companion. Not all cats are great mousers, but their presence is often a deterrent to mice and rats who will look for a more hospitable home.
5. When all else fails, call in a professional.
Professional pest extermination services are the best way to get rid of a rodent problem. A professional will know how to find access points and places where mice will travel, and has the license to use strong poisons and traps that will eliminate your problem.
Keep in mind that even a professional rodent abatement service is not a quick fix. It may take a few months before you notice an appreciable decrease in the rodent population, and you will have to keep up prevention efforts to keep them out.
About the Author: Stephanie Larkin is a freelance writer who writes about large businesses for home owners such as Orkin and terminixno.com/ Terminix
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