10 Tips For Winter Pest Control Problems
Winter is coming, and so are mice and rats! Get the Scoop on how to prevent pest control problems this winter.
The dip in temperatures, arctic wind chill, and lack of light drives us indoors for the winter season. Picture all the things you love about your home in the winter: baking cookies and family meals in the kitchen, reading a good book by the crackling fire, enjoying hot cocoa under the warmth of a blanket. Your house is your shelter, your fortress, and ultimate winter destination.
The opportunity to be warm, dry, comfortable, and well-fed- these are all reasons that rodents will try their absolute hardest to gain access to your house during winter. There is a misconception that mice and rats are wild, outdoor animals. Wild, yes. But these vermin definitely prefer to live in the shelters of the indoors. They do not burrow and seek shelter underground, and they don’t gnaw to nest in trees trunks either. Rodents are opportunistic and clever enough to live off man-made shelters.
The best home security system can’t keep rats out. You need to learn about rodent deterrents and key pest control methods to keep your home safe. Not planning on sharing your warm hearth and gingerbread cookies with rodents? Handle things in your home now before pest control becomes a big problem. Nothing ruins Christmas like a rodent infestation!
1. Move the woodpile
There are several stake out spots in your yard that rats can comfortably camp out in while they plot how to get inside. What rats really seek out above all else is a food and water source. They even enjoy dark and damp spaces. So it’s actually no surprise that the woodpile is one of their favorite hiding spots.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably stacked your wood pile right up against the house for convenient access. The woodpile will catch and collect rain, giving rats a water source. Rats will wriggle their way into the nooks and crannies of the stacked wood and find a comfortable spot to nest.
All the while, they’re checking the exterior of your house that the wood is stacked against for weak spots that they can gnaw through to get in! Be proactive and move your woodpile at least 20 feet away from the house. Contact your local rat control specialists to do a walk through and make sure your home wasn’t compromised!
2. Check Chimney and Vent Openings
Photo courtesy of Chimney Troop
Carefully evaluate the exterior of your home. Rodents enter attics through small, weather-worn holes or openings such as vents and chimney pipes. Bear in mind that rats can enter through a hole that is only ½ inch in diameter!
Secure all vent covers and confirm that the chimney has a cap. If you have uncovered vents or chimneys you’re practically inviting rodents inside your house! This is a relatively easy fix, but it is important to use a cover made of wire, not mesh, to keep rodents out. They can gnaw right through the mesh!
3. Get Serious about Food Storage
Your pantry is full of smells of tasty food stored within. Rats have a sharp sense of smell, so while your sugar doesn’t smell incredible to you, a rat will sniff it right out! How can you eliminate odors that you can’t even smell? You can contain the scents within your pantry by using airtight containers to store your food. If you want to add an extra deterrent, you could even plant scents that rats find offensive like peppermint oil, or bay leaf, on a shelf inside. Use these strategies and rats won’t have a reason to come sniffing around!
Your favorite pantry food staples- like flour, sugar, rice, cereal, nuts, etc- normally come in easy-to-chew-through cardboard packaging. Rats can gnaw through cardboard and plastic bags in a heartbeat! You may have to put a little money in up-front to invest in quality airtight food storage containers for your pantry staples, but you’ll be saving big time in the long run. Getting rid of a rat infestation is way more expensive than preventing one! Using airtight containers will also give you peace of mind that your food has not been tampered with or contaminated by a rodent.
As an added bonus, taking these precautions will also keep interested insects out of your pantry as well!
4. Seal Outer Nooks and Crannies
Any weakness in your home’s exterior will be an entry point for a rat or mouse. Cracks in the foundation, small holes worn into the roof and shingles, for example. Not quite sure what you’re looking for? Contact the experts at Green Rat Control to do a thorough inspection. They will find and seal all possible entry points with steel and a polyurethane sealant!
5. Upgrade your Old Cardboard Storage Boxes
How many of your valuable items are piled high in cardboard boxes in your attic or basement? These boxes are perfect nesting grounds for rats and mice. They gnaw into them and shed the packaging any inner contents to create a cozy nest.
Protect your storage items by upgrading to sturdy plastic bins with lids.
6. Take Out Trash Daily
If your garbage is setting out in a open accessible area, then you are basically setting out a holiday feast for rodents! Plan a trash schedule and get into a routine of emptying the trash daily. That way there will be no food or odors attracting rodents in for a meal.
7. Inspect Wiring
Photo courtesy of Nelson Comfort
One of the most dangerous things rodents can do in your home is tamper with electrical wiring. They love to gnaw on wiring, and damage to the wires can cause house fires! Check the wiring for all major appliances to make sure it is completely intact, especially in the kitchen, attic and basement. If you aren’t sure, have a professional check into it ASAP.
8. Are the Gutters doing their Job?
In addition to a food source, rodents also need a water source to survive. They won’t hang around your home if deprived of water. Your gutters should be installed so that they divert water away from the house. Otherwise, rain water might pool and collect along the foundation of the house, eventually leaking into the basement. It little probably wouldn’t be noticeable to you, but a mouse or rat could easily live off of that water source. Don’t give them one more reason to want to be your roommate!
9. Install Door Sweeps
Not sure how they pull off this trick, but mice and rats are both known for squeezing themselves through tiny holes that seem to defy the laws of physics. They commonly enter the house by squeezing right under the door itself! Install a door sweep to seal the gap between your door and the floor. An added bonus is that it will also help retain heat and regulate temperature inside, while it keeps frigid winter air out. Secure door sweeps on all exterior doors.
10. Professional Inspection
There’s only one way to be sure you’re doing all you can to manage pest control and deter rodents from getting in- have the professionals check out your property. With a carefully trained eye, the experts at Green Rat Control will perform an inspection inside and outside. Then they will put together a plan for successful rodent control measures. Finally, they can help you execute the follow through flawlessly. Your home will be safe and secure all winter long.