As the temperature drops during fall and winter months, rodent control becomes an important concern. Just as humans and pets seek shelter inside cozy warm homes, so do unwelcome visitors including mice, rats and other animals. Rodents can represent a major health risk to you and your children as they can carry and transmit many different diseases. In order to avoid having these dirty, diseased pests in your home, this article will provide a three-step approach to blocking entry to your home, making your house less appealing to pests by removing food sources, and finally, in the event you still have a pest problem, ridding your home of the rodents.
Mice and other small rodents can squeeze through very small cracks and holes, so be sure to seal any visible openings or cracks along the exterior or your house. Carefully look near windows and doors – as foundation settling can be significant, and gaps will often appear along these areas. Be sure to also look for and seal any openings inside your home: look around your baseboards, behind kitchen cabinets and appliances, closets and other areas rodents may gain entry.
Just as rodents are looking to stay warm during winter months, they’re also looking for food! Any available food supply makes an attractive target for rodents and should be cleaned up to cut down on possible infestation. If you store food in kitchen cabinets or a pantry, be sure to keep it in sturdy containers. Any thin or loose-fitting food bag is no match for a hungry animal. The same goes for pet food and garbage. Keep pet food in a heavy plastic or metal container that can seal out unwanted critters and keep your garbage area clean. Promptly remove especially messy trash and any food waste and consider using a garbage container with a lid.
Taking precautionary steps to eliminate sources of entry and sources of food will go a long way toward keeping pests outside your home this winter. But what happens if those nasty pests still find their way inside? The next step is pest removal or eradication.
Before dealing with a bug or rodent infestation, ask yourself if you are willing to tackle the problem on your own. Depending on the nature of the problem, some rodents, especially larger ones, should be handled by professionals. These critters carry a risk of disease and other health hazards. It’s not advisable to mess with them if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. However, if you’re up to the challenge, the first step in taking care of rodents is identifying what type of pest you have.
Identifying rodents can be easily done if you actually witness them, but if they’re aren’t visible you can tell by signs left such as gnaw marks, droppings, body trail marks (body marks left by animals running alongside wood), odor, etc. Once you know what uninvited guests you have, you can take the appropriate measures to get rid of them.
Handling a rodent infestation usually means using traps and bait, repellents, poison and more. Types of traps typically include live traps, glue traps, electric traps and snap traps. Plan ahead to determine the most appropriate trap for your situation. For example, live traps require you to remove the trapped animal, otherwise the rodent will suffer a painful death. Poison traps may result in a poisoned rodent dying in an out of the way place you can’t get to, resulting in foul odor and disease from the decaying carcass. Finally, the use of poison represents a major health risk for your family and pets.
Be sure to wear gloves, protective clothing and a mask when discarding trapped or dead animals to avoid contact with parasites, the risk of being bitten and other dangers. If you aren’t willing or able to deal with the necessary steps to physically block pests from entering your home including removing food sources, or to properly identify and eradicate pests (including with handling dead animals), consider contacting a professional pest control company.