Yikes! There’s a Mouse in My House!
Domestic rodents are, not surprisingly, found near or at places where humans live. They depend on humans for their existence. In colder climates, they will move into your house as winter approaches, and when things get warmer, they will move out, but will not go far from your house, as long as free meals and a cozy safe place is to be had. The problem is that rodents such as mice and rats are capable of doing damage to your house by gnawing on wood and wires and even spread diseases. Therefore, it is imperative to control its population by taking certain precautions. The following are some of the main ways you can do rodent control and prevent mice and rats from turning your house into a hotel.
The Three Types
Domestic rodents come in three different types and each one has its unique characteristics. However, all of them tend to be nocturnal, which makes it hard to find them. The three types are roof rats, house mice, and Norway rats. Roof rats have dark brown hair and can reach as much as 17” in length. They tend to nest outdoors, near the house in plants such as ivy and blackberry vines. In wintertime, they will move into attics and garages. Roof rats tend to use utility wires and fences to move around. The favorite foods of roof rats are fruits, nuts, some types of plants, and any pet food that happens to be laying around.
The house mouse is almost exclusively an indoor creature and unlike roof rats, depend almost entirely on humans for their food supply. Therefore, you will only see them in places like restaurants, movie theaters, and of course, houses. At 3-4” house mice are small, but they are very agile climbers and can fit through just about any space. It feeds mostly grains and seeds but will eat just about anything, when desperate, including paper! Norway rats are the largest of the three and can get as big as 19” in length. Gray in color they are versatile in finding a place to live. You will find them near creeks, in sewers, underground boroughs near houses, under woodpiles, etc. They are not picky about what they eat either and will eat garbage, meat scraps, grains, etc.
Rodent Control Methods
Once you have identified that your home does have a rodent problem, there are steps you can take to get rid of them. However, eliminating rodents completely is not difficult but it is an ongoing process and requires constant attention.
The first thing to do is to eliminate their food source. After all, the reason why rodents are coming to your place is that they think they will get a free meal. If you take control of food access for rats, then you just accomplished a big part of rodent control. If you have bird and squirrel feeders, keep the area clean by sweeping away any leftover food on the ground. When storing food, make sure they are in rat-proof containers, especially if it is located in the garage. All trash cans used for dumping edible leftovers should have tight lids. Eliminate water source by repairing leaky pipes and faucets and keep your pet's food and water source covered at night time.
The next item on the list of rodent control is shelter. Rodents are for the most part nocturnal, which means they will sleep during the day in your garage or attic. Controlling access point to your home for rodents is the most difficult part of rodent control. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to limit their access. The following are the main thing to do.
- Make sure all holes or cracks, even as small as a quarter of an inch are closed/repaired
- Screens and vents should be replaced if found to be damaged
- Plants, shrubs or vines located near the house should be trimmed on a regular basis
- Make sure no trees are touching the roof of the house. Ideally, branches should be at least four feet from the roof/house
- Any loose lumber or other waste material should be placed at least 12” from the ground
Consult the Pros for Rodent Control
Once you have done your due diligence to decrease the rodent population in your home, it is better to consult professionals with rodent control experience to exterminate them, if rodents are still found on your property. This is because using tools like snap traps and poisons can be dangerous to children and pets.