Rodents in your home can cause a lot of damage, contaminate foods, and spread disease, Keeping those mice, rats, and other rodents out of your home is the best way to prevent this damage, contamination and disease.
To make your home more resistant to rodent destruction … Rodent-Proof It! Like pest-proofing your home, this is done by sealing and cleaning – inside and out. Following are recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to do just that:
1. SEAL RODENTS OUT OF YOUR HOME
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a half dollar. And if that hole is only the size of a dime … the rodent is likely to gnaw around the edges until it gets big enough for it to get through.
So, the first step in keeping rats and mice from coming into your home—or into your garage, storage unit, or other outbuilding—is checking inside and outside for any gaps or holes, then sealing these both inside and out. CDC recommends:
Look for and Seal Holes and Gaps Inside your Home:
- Inside, under, and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and stoves.
- Inside closets near the floor corners.
- Around the fireplace.
- Around doors.
- Around the pipes under sinks and washing machines.
- Around the pipes going to hot water heaters and furnaces.
- Around floor vents and dryer vents.
- Inside the attic.
- In the basement or crawl space.
- In the basement and laundry room floor drains.
- Between the floor and wall juncture.
Look for and Seal Holes and Gaps Outside your Home:
- In the roof among the rafters, gables, and eaves.
- Around windows.
- Around doors.
- Around the foundation
- Attic vents and crawl space vents.
- Under doors.
- Around holes for electrical, plumbing, cable, and gas lines.
With their strong, pointy teeth, rodents can chew through many materials. To keep them from gnawing through your sealant, you need to use materials they can’t chew through. Some of these which can be found at hardware or home stores include:
- Steel wool. Fill gap or hole with steel wool, then apply caulk around the steel wool to hold it in place.
- Lath screen or lath metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting. These can be best for larger holes.
- Flashing. Around the base of the home, install flashing—like that commonly used on roofs.
Rodents will seek ways to enter your home in search of warmth, food or water. So no matter how many traps or other rodent equipment you use inside your home, you will most likely continue to have mice or rats if you don’t seal the holes through which they are coming in.
2. KEEP IT CLEAN
Keeping rodents from finding easily accessible food, water, and shelter is the second step in ensuring that rodents don’t find your home a great place to live. This means cleaning up potential food sources and nesting materials and sites, both outside and inside your home. To do this:
Outdoor Rodent Prevention
- Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
- Keep bird feeders away from the house. Use squirrel guards and keep spilled seed from accumulating beneath the feeder.
- Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid – and keep it closed.
- Never store firewood against the house; keep woodpiles as far away as practical.
- Keep compost bins at least 100 feet away from the home – or as far as possible.
- Do not leave pet food outdoors overnight – this is when rodents are most active
- To reduce potential nesting sites, keep grass and shrubs trimmed, rake up and get rid of leaves, use stone instead of mulch near the home, and get rid of old vehicles, tires, or other items around the property where mice and rats can nest.
Indoor Rodent Prevention
- Keep food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
- Clean up spilled food immediately, and don’t allow dirty dishes, pans, and utensils to sit in the sink.
- Once a pet is finished eating, pick up and clean out the bowl. Do not leave food or water out through the night.
- Dispose of trash and garbage frequently, use rodent-resistant cans, and clean regularly with soap and water.
- Discard old newspapers and other such items. Keep stored items in plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes (that rodents can chew through). Regularly check storage areas where mice and rats could build nests … and have babies.