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 go over every inch of your home, you can also do an inspection yourself. Look for any entrances or openings rodents could get into, including in the basement, cellar, or pantry. Shining a bright flashlight into corners and dark spots can flush out any stubborn rodents who are not dissuaded by people moving around near them. If the inspection itself does not fix the problem, however, there are plenty of other methods to utilize.
2. Keep all Food in Sealed, Airtight Containers
Like bears, dogs, and other animals, rodents have a keen sense of smell when it comes to food. Cardboard boxes and bags will not measure up to their scratching and digging abilities, so keeping all food that is not secured in a safe, locked area should be put into sealed airtight containers. This goes for pet food as well, as the paper bags the options tend to come in would present little challenge for a determined mouse able to smell the food inside.
3. Check all Doors and Other Entry Points
It is important to make sure doors and windows stay closed when rodents are a concern, but they are also small enough to slip in through the smallest of cracks and even under fully locked and closed doors. Weatherstripping, caulking, sealant, and heavy objects are all options beyond regular home maintenance that can help to keep rodents out of the home.
4. Regular Cleaning and Sanitizing
A clean home is a happy home, and this is especially true when it comes to keeping the home free from rodents and other pests. Mice and rats are less likely to take an interest in a clean, clutter-free kitchen than they are in a kitchen with an uncovered trash bin and pieces of food littering the floor. Any sort of mess can attract rodents, who not only consume trash and food waste but utilize other pieces of clutter and garbage for their nests.
5. 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, rodents simply live outside and therefore are more likely to make an appearance 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.
Mousetraps are so well known and popular that there is even a board game named for them. Granted, the board game is far less bloody than actual mouse traps. Traditional traps that utilize a spring and a clamp may be too gruesome for some modern homeowners, but there are alternatives. Some traps have no harmful effect other than a psychological one, such as sticky traps that mice and other small rodents cannot free themselves from without help. These types of traps allow the homeowner to take the rodent outside and free them safely if that is the desired result.
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.
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, they have access to much stronger chemicals (if that is the route you choose to take) and 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 upkept. A mouse can be just as easily attracted by an open window as by the smell of a meal.
As with any home repair or maintenance project, there are certain risks involved in pest control. The risks of chemical and mechanical methods are obvious, especially if there are children or pets in the home, and heavy cleansers and other chemicals can affect multiple systems including digestive and respiratory. As long as proper health and safety precautions are taken, the risks are all lessened significantly.
Is is 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.