They appear with a scratching sound, or perhaps they make their presence known by leaving droppings where you are sure to find them. Rodents in the home can make it feel like a dirty, unsafe place and even make those factors into reality.
What Steps Can I Take to Keep My Home Rodent Free?
Ultimately, keeping the home free from rodents and other pests boils down to keeping it clean and making sure food is kept in sealed, airtight jars. Certain sounds smells, and tastes can prevent rodents from entering your home, as can sealing all cracks and entrances.
But what about the specifics? What sorts of things will deter rodents and what sorts of things will kill them? Read on to find out ten steps you can take to keep your home rodent-free!
1. Full Inspection
While you can hire a pest inspector to inspect every inch of your home, you can also do an inspection yourself. Look for any entrances or openings rodents could enter, including in the basement, cellar, or pantry. Shining a bright flashlight into corners and dark spots can flush out any stubborn rodents that are not dissuaded by people moving around near them. However, If the inspection does not fix the problem, plenty of other methods exist.
Get to Know Your Opponent
Rodents aren’t just uninvited guests; they’re crafty intruders. They can sneak in through the tiniest entrances, turning your basement, cellar, or pantry into their private clubhouse. So, the first step? Understanding their sneaky tactics.
Conduct a Home Inspection
With this newfound knowledge, it’s time to turn detective. Conduct your own comprehensive home inspection.
- Check every corner and crevice of your house for potential rodent entrances.
- Don’t forget to inspect your basement, cellar, pantry, and other secluded areas.
- Dark spots can harbor unwelcome guests. So, grab a flashlight and shine brightly in all corners. You might just flush out some stubborn rodents trying to keep a low profile.
2. Keep All Food in Sealed, Airtight Containers
Outfox Your Furry Invaders
Ever thought you’d have to outsmart a rodent? Well, it’s time to put your thinking cap on because, just like bears and dogs, rodents have an uncanny sense of smell – especially when it comes to food.
Think about it: A cardboard box or paper bag is nothing more than a minor inconvenience for their determined scratching and digging. These tiny critters won’t stop until they hit the jackpot inside. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Upgrade Your Food Storage Strategy
Your pantry needs a makeover – rodent-proof style! It’s time to ditch those flimsy boxes and bags and level up to airtight, hardy containers.
Here’s a little rundown to help you in the process:
Table: Food Storage Upgrades
|Old Storage||Upgrade to…||Why?|
|Cardboard boxes||Airtight plastic or glass containers||Rodents can’t chew through these.|
|Paper bags||Sealed, lockable containers||These give an extra level of security against any rodent trying to dig in.|
|Open pet food bags||Sealed pet food containers||Don’t forget about your pet’s food! Rodents don’t discriminate when it comes to dinner.|
What to Store in Sealed Containers
- All food items in boxes and bags (Cereal, pasta, flour, sugar – you name it!)
- Pet food (A hungry mouse doesn’t care if it’s human food or pet food!)
- Any other perishable items that could attract a rodent
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking these steps might seem like a lot of work now, but it will save you from a potential rodent headache later.
3. Check All Doors and Other Entry Points
The Not-So-Obvious Entry Points
Think your windows and doors are just for you and your welcomed guests? Rodents beg to differ. These furry infiltrators have a knack for slipping through the smallest of cracks and under fully closed doors. But don’t let that give you a fright; we have solutions for these crafty creatures!
Seal the Deal with Weatherstripping and Caulking
Upgrading your home security isn’t just about alarm systems. When it comes to rodents, it’s time to get up close and personal with sealants, caulking, and weatherstripping. These little tools can become your best defense against an unwanted rodent invasion.
Let’s break it down:
Table: Rodent-Proofing Your Home
|Doors||Weatherstripping||A weatherstrip under the door will deter those sneaky under-door infiltrations.|
|Windows||Caulking||Caulking can fill in gaps and cracks, leaving no space for rodents to squeeze through.|
|Small cracks in the walls||Sealant||A good sealant can block tiny holes that might be invisible to your eyes but not to a rodent’s!|
|Spaces under heavy furniture||Place heavy objects near potential entrances||Strategically placing furniture can help block possible rodent access points.|
Home Maintenance – The Rodent Edition
As part of your regular home maintenance, make it a habit to:
- Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible
- Regularly check for cracks and gaps, especially in secluded areas
- Replace weatherstripping and caulking when worn out
Remember, when it comes to keeping rodents out, no gap is too small, and no step is insignificant. You would not believe the way I’ve seen them get into some of the properties we do property management for!
4. Regular Cleaning and Sanitizing
Why a Clean Home Makes for a Happy (and Rodent-Free) Home
Have you ever heard the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”? Well, in rodent-proofing, cleanliness might as well be your new religion. You see, mice and rats aren’t too different from us; they’re attracted to cozy, cluttered corners and love a good snack when its easily available.
Kitchen Confidential: Rodent Edition
The kitchen is the heart of your home. Unfortunately, it can also become the heart of a rodent’s nest if we’re not careful. An uncovered trash bin or stray crumbs on the floor can serve as an all-you-can-eat buffet for these critters. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of maintaining a kitchen that sends rodents running for the hills.
Table: Rodent-Proofing Your Kitchen
|Uncovered trash bin||Use bins with a tight-fitting lid||An uncovered bin is like an open invitation to a feast for rodents.|
|Food crumbs and spills||Clean up immediately after meals||Even the tiniest morsel can attract a rodent.|
|Clutter||Regular decluttering sessions||Clutter-free spaces leave less room for nests.|
Cultivate a Cleanliness Routine
The key to a rodent-free home isn’t just one big cleaning session; it’s regular maintenance. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always clean up right after meals. Don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight.
- Make sure to seal and store leftovers immediately.
- Regularly declutter your home, paying particular attention to secluded areas.
- Take out the trash regularly, and make sure your bin is sealed tight.
Remember, a clean home is a rodent-free home. So, roll up your sleeves and make cleanliness your new secret weapon against rodents. Stay tuned for Step 5, where we’ll dive into more rodent-proofing strategies!
5. Consistent Yard and Garden Maintenance
If the risk for rodents inside is strong, the risk for outside areas like the lawn and garden is even stronger. Not only do some gardens have vegetables that can attract rodents, but they simply live outside and therefore are more likely to appear there when something that appeals to them pops up. Mice and rats can hide in tall, unkempt lawns as well, which is why it is important to keep gardens fully weeded and mow the lawn regularly.
6. Chemical and Herbal Deterrents
Some pesticides do not actually have to kill the pests to be effective, and essential oils are a popular method. Tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and other strong-scented oils can be mixed with water and spread or sprayed near rodent-heavy areas to irritate the scent receptors of the rodents or, if they are tasting something in the same area, cause them to be disgusted by the taste and less likely to come back. Rodents are not fans of ammonia, smell-wise or otherwise, so using ammonia-based cleaners in the home both keeps the home clean and adds an extra layer of scent-based protection.
7. Chemical Warfare
A simple way to explain “chemical warfare” use against rodents is that it is simply poison. This method is perhaps the one that should be used with the most caution, as to children and pets, rodent poison may look like candy or something equally harmless. If children and pets are not at risk, rat poison, antifreeze, and other chemicals are effective pest control methods and are unlikely to leave survivors.
8. Humane Traps
The Mouse Trap: Not Just a Board Game
Sure, we all know ‘Mouse Trap’ as a fun-filled board game. But in real life, mouse traps aren’t quite as entertaining (or clean!). The traditional spring-loaded clamps might feel a little too much like a horror movie. But don’t worry, we’ve got a few alternative ideas that won’t leave you squeamish.
Humanity in Trapping: The Modern Homeowner’s Guide
Just because you’re dealing with pesky invaders doesn’t mean you can’t show a little kindness. Sticky traps and cages offer a non-violent, humane alternative to traditional methods. They work simply by immobilizing rodents, allowing you to relocate them safely.
Table: Trapping Rodents Humanely
|Type of Trap||How It Works||Best For…|
|Sticky traps||Mice and small rodents get stuck on the adhesive surface but are unharmed.||Small rodents, homeowners who want to release the creatures outside.|
|Cage traps||Rodents wander into the cage and trigger a mechanism that closes the door behind them.||Larger rodents, releasing them far from your home.|
Catch and Release: A Gentle Approach
If you aim to remove rodents without causing them harm, here are some steps to follow:
- Handle the trap gently once the rodent is trapped to avoid causing stress or injury.
- Take the trapped rodent far away from your home before releasing it.
- Check local wildlife regulations before release. Some areas may have rules about where and when certain species can be released.
Remember, dealing with rodents doesn’t mean you must resort to violence, they are living creatures after all! There’s always a way to handle the situation humanely.
9. High-Frequency Sound Deterrents
Many breeds of animals have much more sensitive ears than do humans. They can hear sounds we cannot, and the sounds we can hear are often much more intense or even painful for them. There are sound-based deterrents currently on the market that are irritating to human ears but painful enough for rodent ears that they prevent mice and rats from entering whatever room they are placed in. Many of these types of deterrents plug directly into the wall, into a USB port, or are powered by either a rechargeable battery or one easily found at any retailer that sells batteries for home use.
There is still some debate about the effectiveness of these devices, but some people swear by them. It may be worth trying it out for yourself.
10. Professional Help
Even though there are reliable methods to rid your home of rodents and keep them out for good, sometimes the problem is bad enough it requires more expertise than the average homeowner has. When the problem becomes bad enough, it is time to call in the professionals. A pest control service can not only use their considerable expertise to diagnose weak spots, but they also have access to much stronger chemicals (if that is the route you choose to take). They can flush rodents out of the innermost workings of your home.
There are hundreds of different methods for a rodent-free home that the internet has to offer, but the most effective methods boil down to a full, thorough inspection, keeping all food put away in sealed, airtight spaces, and keeping the home generally clean and upkeep. An open window can just as easily attract a mouse as by the smell of a meal.
As with any home repair or maintenance project, certain risks are involved in pest control. The risks of chemical and mechanical methods are apparent, especially if there are children or pets in the home, and heavy cleansers and other chemicals can affect multiple systems, including digestive and respiratory. The risks are lessened significantly as long as proper health and safety precautions are taken.
Is it Expensive to Keep My Home Free of Rodents?
While some rodent control methods can be pricey, one of the most important methods is not. Keeping your home clean and free of clutter and food debris goes a long way, as does making sure all accessible doors, windows, vents, and other openings are kept closed and checked regularly.
Is it Risky Having Rodents in My Home?
Absolutely. Not only can they carry diseases that young children and pets are especially at risk for, their droppings can get into food and other sensitive items, also putting everyone at risk for illness. In addition, constant repairs from a rodent infestation can become incredibly costly.
In short, unwanted rodents should be dealt with and removed from the home as quickly as possible. There are plenty of different methods that can be utilized for keeping your home rodent-free. Most of these steps are very low-cost and low-risk, making a rodent-free home well within homeowners’ reach.