Many homeowners know the feeling of unease that accompanies finding mice or other rodents in their home. Whether in the kitchen, attic, basement or dining room, a rodent sighting can incite surprise and fear in even the most composed homeowner. Unfortunately, these common pests are resourceful creatures that can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack, and they require very little space to travel inside. In fact, mice can easily fit through spaces as small as a nickel!
Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the cooler fall and winter months, and once inside can cause more than just an unpleasant infestation. Rodents put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. More frequently, though, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacteria, such as salmonella, on their bodies and contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment.
Fortunately, there are 10 simple steps homeowners can take to prevent rodent infestations:
- Install door sweeps on exterior door, and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers, and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
- Inspect items, such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages, brought into the home for rodents.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house, and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
- If you suspect a rodent infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem immediately. Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, and a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight if left untreated.
Source: National Pest Management Association/PestWorld.org