Throughout the summer and autumn, the abundance of natural foodstuffs like fruits and grains mean that the number of rats and mice increase exponentially. But as the cold evenings of winter draw in, and the availability of food dwindles, pest rodents get plenty of motivation to find somewhere warm and dry to bed down. If you’re not taking preventative measures, they could choose your home. The following tips will help you protect your home from rodents in winter.
In addition to being an unpleasant sight, pest rodents can cause a great deal of damage to your home – gnawing furniture and shredding soft furnishings to build their nests. They also have a proclivity for chewing through pipes and cables which has been known to cause fires.
In addition to physical damage, pest rodents can carry bacteria that cause potentially life-threatening diseases. These are spread through urine and droppings which they will deposit throughout your home.
Waiting until after you notice the signs of rats and mice inside your home means that it’s already too late and action is required immediately.
Protect your home from rodents
1. Conduct checks for entry points
Rodents are notorious for their ability to squeeze through tiny gaps. A common myth that prevails is that mice and rats have collapsible skeletons that enable them to fit through any size hole. In actuality, it’s simply their sleek body shape and small size that allow them to do this.
The size of the gap they can get through is really only limited by the size of their skulls. As such, juvenile mice can fit through holes the size of a pencil.
Take a walk around your building and look for any gaps. Make a note of any areas of disrepair so that you can see to them as soon as possible. For example, spaces under the bottom of doors can be covered with draft excluders.
Rodents are used to burrowing and are excellent climbers, so don’t discount gaps that are high up on the building as potential entrances to your home.
2. Seal food
Any open containers that hold food scraps like waste or recycling bins must be carefully sealed. The majority of rodents are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. They’ll happily make a meal out of whatever you’ve left laying around.
This is perhaps doubly important for any bins outside of your home as it will be these that initially attract them. After they’ve found a good source of food they’ll venture further in and could progress into your main food storage area – your kitchen.
You should also ensure that you regularly clean the bins with soap and water and wipe down floors with a diluted bleach solution to discourage any unwelcome visitors.
It’s important that anything that has clearly been gnawed at is disposed of immediately as it could be contaminated with bacteria.
3. Keep your home and garden tidy and put away pet food and water
The less clutter in your home, the fewer places rodents have to hide and nest. Take the opportunity to clear out any unwanted items and free up some space. If you keep logs for wood-burning fires, be sure to check them regularly and if possible, keep them in a sealed container.
Overgrown shrubs are great hiding places for rodents and tree branches overhanging your roof provide a direct line to your home. Keep everything in your garden trimmed and tidy.
Rats need regular access to fresh water and your dog or cat’s bowl is an ideal source for this. Don’t leave out pet bowls overnight and be sure to keep bags or boxes of pet food off the floor. If your dog will eat it, so will an opportunistic rodent.
These tips should help you protect your home from rodents throughout the colder period, but if you would like further advice or need to utilise the services of a pest control professional, don’t hesitate to contact Safeguard today online or by phone on 0800 328 4931.