The first line of defense against a rodent infestation is your home itself. The best way to control rodent activity is to deny access to your home or structure. The following are some basic steps you can take to “Rodent Proof” your home.
First, if you currently have an infestation, I recommend calling a professional. If you find signs of rodent activity you must also be very careful how you handle the clean up. Rodent droppings can carry the Hanta Virus; this disease can be very serious and even fatal. You can catch this from breathing the dust from old droppings or rubbing your eyes after coming in contact with the fecal matter. When cleaning, you should wet the area down with hot, soapy water and a disinfectant. Then wipe up with a wet rag or sponge. If you vacuum the droppings always use a vacuum with a heppa filter. I would always were a face or dust mask and gloves while cleaning. Obviously wash up after you are done.
My goal, however, is to help you prevent an infestation by identifying ways a rodent can enter your home. One of the first things you need to know is that if a rodent can get its head through an opening the body will follow. A mouse can get through an opening the size of a dime. Keep that in mind as you survey or inspect your home. First look at the doors; are there gaps around the bottom or sides of the doors? Look for light around the bottom seals. If you see a significant gap, install door seals or sweeps. Have a handy man or door company adjust or replace your door to get a tighter seal.
Next check all pipes or vents that come into your house. Look for gaps where they come through the wall. Look for broken vents or screens and replace as necessary. A good quick fix, if you find any holes or cracks around pipes, is to stuff the openings with steel wool, brass wool, or even window screen will work in a pinch. The rodents will not chew through this material. Also, keep all windows and doors screened and shut whenever possible. Don’t forget to check all your vents outside and around the foundation of your home. If you find damage or entry points, hardware cloth works great. You can bend and form it right into place.
If you think you have mice in your home look for there droppings around any entry point you might have located during your inspection. They will be rod shaped and usually no more then a Ã?Â¼ inch long. Mice can defecate 50-100 times per day. If you find a lot of droppings, say under a sink with pipes that have gaps around them, there is a pretty good chance you found an entry point. Mice also do not see very well. For this reason, they normally walk along walls and edges using there whiskers to help guide them. Keep that in mind when looking for activity and also when placing traps. Obviously placing traps in areas that the mice travel will be more effective then putting them in the middle of a room or hallway. On a side note; peanut butter is still my favorite bait for trapping mice. Putting 2 or three traps in a row can also increase your catch rate. Your trap placement should be with the trigger of the trap next to the wall, as close to an identified entry point or food source as possible. Another good practice is to buy a few multi catch traps or “tin cats” from a hardware store. I like to keep them on either side of my garage door because the door is open so often.
One last recommendation, over grown weeds and grasses are perfect cover for rodents. Keep your landscaping properly maintained to reduce these harborage areas. Always think sanitation both outside and inside. If you keep unsealed dog food, recycling, or food type refuse around your home, they act like a giant magnet for rodents and other unwanted pests. Keep garbage in tightly sealed cans, store dog food in air tight containers, do the same with recycling. Sanitation is the backbone of any good rodent control program.