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Tips to Keep Rats and Mice Away From Your Home

More than one strong man or woman has jumped and screamed at the sight of mice at night — and no wonder! Common rodents such as house mice (Mus musculus) and Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus) gnaw holes and cause other damage to walls or carpeting, and when they enter your home they create a mess with their droppings or when nesting. Find a dead rat nearby? Extremely unpleasant. Rodents contaminate any food they find and chew through electrical wiring, which can cause a fire hazard. Probably most concerning, rats and mice often carry diseases such as hantavirus or salmonella.

Learn the signs of a rodent issue in your home, how to prevent rodent attraction, and how to seal rat or mouse entry points into your Lexington home this autumn.

Signs of a Rodent Control Issue in your Home

Especially during the autumn and winter months, rodents search for shelters for warmth, comfortable nesting places, and to find food. Watch for these signs of rats or mice:

  • Droppings. Rat or mouse droppings are dark and cylindrical. Look for these along walls or near food sources in your cupboards or pantry. Rat feces appear larger and oblong, while mouse feces taper at each end.
  • Chew or gnaw marks. Find these in the back of pantries or closets or near pet food and dry food containers.
  • Wooden or paper fragments. Rodents pile paper, tissue, wood chips, or wall insulation to nest. Find piles in attics, crawl spaces, or near a leaky pipe, so keep these areas dry, ventilated, and leak-free.
  • Scratching or squeaking. As nocturnal mammals, rodent activity occurs most often at night when danger is less imminent. Listen for scratching or squeaking in attics or walls.
  • Pets exhibit alarm behavior. When dogs or cats hear or smell a rodent, they become alert. Some argument has circulated as to the benefits of pets at home, due to the rodent attraction pet food causes.

Seal Food Sources for Rat Control and Mouse Control

Rodents have a keen sense of smell. Follow these steps to keep your food from rodents and reduce the likelihood of a rodent infestation.

  • Seal and store dry goods. Seal all dry food in metal or plastic containers, preferably with an airtight seal to contain the aroma of your spices, flour, sugar, oats, or other dry goods. Keep these containers high off the ground or in a refrigerator. Never leave any food out, always clean up food remains, and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. To cool a pie or cake, place it in a refrigerator or other sealed location.
  • Seal and store pet food. Pet food or bird seeds are excellent food sources for rats and mice, too, so seal these up tightly. Clean spilled pet bowls or any seeds left lying out.
  • Seal garbage containers. Consider purchasing special garbage bags with airtight seals, or purchase garbage bins with lids. Ensure outdoor garbage containers, whether metal or plastic, have a lid and do not have any holes.
  • Keep the outdoors clean. Gather fallen fruit or seeds from exterior landscaping. For composting, elevate the smell of decay until raised at least one foot off the ground, especially for food scrap compost.
  • Clean your garage and shed. To protect planting seeds in your garage or shed, seal them in tight containers elevated off the ground for protection.

Control and Seal Rodent Entry Points

The mouse and rat skeletal structure can fit into minuscule spaces, even as small as a dime or quarter! You’ve sealed up your food, now follow these simple steps to seal up your home. Heed these steps for your garage and shed as well.

  • Seal entry points. Use steel wool and caulking to seal cracks, holes, and gaps in sill plates and along the foundation, the outside walls, around doors and ground-level window frames, and around pipes, including electric or gas.
  • Trim shrubbery. Hidden rodents find entry spots easily. Minuscule gaps in aluminum or wooden siding pose no problem for mouse entry . Trim shrubs 1-3 feet from the home perimeter.
  • Firewood piles. Keep these piles far from your home or shed to reduce nesting spots.
  • Other Tips. Install a metal screen around openings or large gaps near your chimney or other apertures you detect. Place door sweeps on all external doors and ensure your shed and garage doors seal completely when closed and are maintained in good repair. Always close doors when coming or going to prevent simple rodent entryways.

Control a Rodent Infestation

Many people set mouse traps or utilize other home remedies to get rid of mice and rats from their Lexington home. Rodent baits work well for house mice and to get rid of rats, including the roof rat. Glue boards are also a common trap, but are widely discouraged because there are more humane means of mouse and rat extermination. Snap traps with peanut butter control mice also.

But don’t stop there. Fox Pest Control is able to meet your need to control rat populations, including Norway rats, which are resistant to many over-the-counter rodent baits. Our technicians are pest professionals and will provide friendly and effective service, including rat trap settings, identification of a rat infestation, rat removal recommendations, and bait station number and placement. Call today if you suspect a mouse or rat invasion. Control a mouse or rat problem with Fox Pest Control.

Posted on November 27, 2019.

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