How to Prevent Rodents From Entering your House
Mice and rats in the house are a homeowners worst nightmare! Luckily, keeping rodents out is completely within your control. Be proactive and follow these steps!
Photo courtesy of Daily Express
If you’ve heard a friend, family member, or neighbor relay the story of an experience with rodents invading their home then you can’t help but begin to worry about your own home. Despite common misnomers, rats aren’t just sewer dwellers, and mice don’t only inhabit barns. The truth is, rodent infestation can happen anywhere!
Unlike other creatures, rodents are not particularly afraid of humans. Your presence in the house will not deter them from trying to gain entry and nest. Effectively stopping mice from entering a home takes vigilance, planning, and proper execution.
You are ready to take action, but you don’t know where to begin. How do you prevent mice from entering a home? Learn the what, why, where and how of keeping your home safe from rats and mice:
What: what types of vermin are we talking about?
The most common types of rodents you’ll find in residential homes are the House mouse, the Roof rat, and the Norway rat.
Photo Courtesy of getridofrats.org
The Norway rat is the largest of the three, and the roof rat is often mistaken for a mouse. When you are gardening or doing yard work it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for their tracks or droppings. Rodents will hang around the yard while they scout out a way to get inside.
Rats and mice are excellent climbers, and they can chew though just about anything. As it’s name suggests, Roof rats are known to come in through crevices in the roof and nest in the attic. Mice an rats have different patterns of behavior and different dispositions. For example, rats tend to be shrewd and cautious while mice are curious and take more risks. All of the above rodents are nocturnal and are most active at night.
Why: why would rodents invade my home?
If forced to, rodents can survive outdoors, but they need some sort of shelter. They are adept at burrowing, but won’t actually live underground like a mole or a gopher. Climbing trees is also something they can do, but they don’t nest in trees either. Ideally, they prefer to inhabit and nest in damp, dusty, and isolated places- like your attic, basement, or garage. Rodents are the ultimate moochers. They want to live off of your well-regulated temperature controlled shelter.
In addition, rodents are food scavengers. Rats and mice can live off f the scraps and crumbs stuck to the dirty dishes you leave in the sink or the unswept kitchen floor. You can unknowingly be a viable food source for rodents. When they feel comfortable enough, rodents will invade your pantry and cabinets for more food. What do these vermin like to eat? You don’t want to unwittingly set out a trap or feast to attract a rat or mouse.
Just like people, different rats have slightly different food preferences. Norway rats actually are pretty healthy eaters if they have the choice. They love fresh fruit, fish and meat. Leaving a fruit basket out on the counter would be a treat they couldn’t resist!
Fresh veggies, seeds and nuts are what the little Roof rat loves to eat. Keep your salad out of reach! Surprisingly, their absolute favorite thing to eat is cat food. Your pet cat may be competing for its meal if the food bowl is easily accessible.
All rats love to eat any type of grains- cereal, granola, bread, you name it. They prefer it fresh, but will eat it stale too. When it comes right down to it, rats are opportunistic feeders. They’ll gobble up whatever is readily available and their stomach can handle just about anything including tree bark, inspects, trash or compost. Rats can even be attracted to oils and other fats that may not have been thoroughly cleaned from counter tops, floors or appliances.
We all think mice love to eat cheese, but they actually prefer more carbs! The house mouse in an omnivore that seeks out grains, fruits and seeds. If you notice that your garden produce is being devoured, the house mouse might be nearby! Stopping mice from entering home means cutting off their food source entirely.
Where and How: Exactly where and how are rodents likely to get into the house?
Diagram courtesy of Get Rid of Rats
As you can see from the diagram above, there are a multitude of ways that rodents can gain entry to your home. Those critters are determined, and where there’s a will there’s a way! Basically, they are looking to take advantage of any weakness in the exterior of your home. Open vents, loose roof shingles, gaps under doors, are common culprits.
We’re not exactly sure how, but rats can squeeze through a hole that is only ½ inch in diameter! Mice can get through crevice smaller than that. When you are a new home-owner, you have to go through many home inspections- ventilation systems, plumbing, chimneys, etc. But when was the last time you had those things closely inspected? If it’s been more than a year, chances are there’s been wear and tear that leaves your home susceptible to rodents.
Preventing rodents from getting in
Check the house perimeter and seal all entry points
When it comes to how t prevent mice from entering the house, you must begin by walking the perimeter of your home. Inspect carefully, and find and seal any spots in your home’s outer walls that could be an entry point.
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!
Take precautions and guard your home by looking for any holes in your roofing. To do this, lift up damaged shingles and pry out the nails underneath. The damaged shingles will slide out. Underneath you’ll need to repair the hole in the roof, then replace the old shingles with new ones. You can use roof cement to securely reinforce the new nails.
Other repairs you may need to consider are vent covers and a chimney 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.
Check the shed and the yard
Next on the inspection list: your shed. It’s a top pick for a rat nesting ground. It’s dark and isolated, and also collects standing rain water around it. Sheds are commonly used for storage, and rats will go town burrowing, gnawing, and nesting in storage containers if they get the chance.
The woodpile is another one of rodents 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!
Keep storage neat and clean
Don’t make your home inviting to rodents. Check up on your storage spaces like the attic and the basement and give them a good cleaning. If deep cleaning and disinfecting isn’t in your skill set, have the pros do it for you. it’s a worthwhile investment in maintaining the integrity of your home.
For more information on how to rat-proof other parts of your home, visit GRC!