Rodent control is a major issue for many homeowners. Rats and mice have the ability to transfer diseases, contaminate food and cause structural damage. They are also accomplished chewers, known for gnawing their way through barriers with their powerful front teeth. In fact, the word rodent originates from the French word, rodere, which means “to gnaw.”
Rats and mice cause billions of dollars in damage each year. The best way to prevent this damage is to prevent rodents from entering your home in the first place. Rodent-proofing your home is the first part of a multi-step approach. Follow these top three methods for rodent control:
For effective control of rodents, it is important to ensure that rats and mice have no way of entering your home. Do a thorough inspection of your house, checking for cracks, crevices and other openings. The Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, advises sealing all gaps with an exterior-grade sealant, or cement whenever possible.
Large areas around pipes should be covered in mesh first, and then sealed with cement. Metal panels at the bottom of wooden doors or windows can help prevent rodents from chewing through. You should also cover ventilated areas with mesh.
Prevent exterior access
Trees, weeds and overgrown vegetation can provide access to your home and serve as a food source for rats and mice. For effective rodent control, keep trees trimmed, ensuring that no branches are touching the outside of your home. Eliminate weeds and cut back grass and vegetation, keeping it at low levels.
Store outdoor items and firewood at least a few inches off of the ground. If you have outdoor pets, try to schedule feedings during daylight and do not leave food out overnight. To prevent rodents from accessing garbage, keep trash bags tightly sealed and stored in garbage cans with lids. If you have excessive trouble with rats or mice, consider using rock or concrete landscaping along the edges of your home to keep vegetation at a more suitable distance.
Remove inside attractors
Sanitation is critical to rodent control. Rats require about 1 to 2 ounces of food per night and at least double the amount of water. Mice require less food and do not require water daily. Do not leave food out on the counter or in open storage. Put all food in airtight containers and keep it stored in cabinets and pantries, or in the refrigerator. Throw garbage out nightly, clean crumbs off of countertops and vacuum floors if necessary.
Rats and mice may enter other areas of the home as well. Rodents can nest in paper and cardboard products. Do not store boxes on the floor and keep clutter to a minimum. In bathrooms, ensure faucets are kept off and that there is no standing water on the floor.
Preventing access to harborage and food is only the first step to keeping rodents out of your home. The most effective method requires a multi-step pest approach. A number of traps, baits and rodenticides are also available. However, these methods can be dangerous and should not be employed without the help of a pest management professional. Ensuring that your home is not a welcoming place for rats or mice will help make any other form of traps or rodenticides more effective. But using a single method alone is not enough.
To establish the most effective rodent control plan in your house, call Terminix®. An experienced technician can discuss effective methods for eliminating rodents in your home.