6 Ways to Rodent Proof Your House for Spring
As warmer temperatures spread across the U.S., homeowners are happily preparing to get out and enjoy their lawns, patios, and pool areas. But nothing ruins a nice spring day like spotting or hearing a rat or mouse scurrying around your property or scratching between your walls.
In any residential setting, seeing a rodent is downright icky. But their presence can be even more problematic, because rats and mice can damage your home and landscaping and expose you to serious diseases, including the bubonic plague and Hantavirus.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take in and around to rodent-proof your property. This spring, add the following to your to-do list:
1. Eliminate food sources.
Rodents are omnivorous and crafty, so they will eat just about anything. One of the best ways to make your house unwelcoming to mice and rats is to remove all potential food sources from the exterior of your home. This means keeping your patio and grill area clean, and ensuring all uneaten pet food is immediately picked up. If you have a yard, store your grass seed in metal or heavy plastic containers. If you enjoy feeding your neighborhood birds, keep bird seed in a neat, spill-proof feeder.
2. Safeguard your garbage.
Rodents are also drawn to all types of garbage, which means it’s important to block their access to your household waste. Ensure any outdoor trash cans, recycle bins, and compost bins are sealed and free of holes. Check each container throughout the year; rodents can easily gnaw through plastic and even aluminum, so stay vigilant. Also, make sure the lids of these bins fit tightly. If not, secure them with rubber cords.
3. Carefully tend your vegetable garden.
In addition to eliminating things like excess pet food and garbage, it’s also important to ensure rodents don’t have a chance to eat your food. As residential vegetable gardens become increasingly common, in cities and suburbs alike, it’s no surprise that urban farmers often see an influx of rodents. If you garden, pick your vegetables as soon as they are ripe. The same goes for any fruit trees in your yard: Be sure to harvest pears, figs, and other fruit as soon as they are ready.
4. Block entry points.
Rodents can easily enter your home through cracks and gaps around your home's eaves, foundation, and pipes. Pest-control experts say rats can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter of an inch in diameter. The spring is a great time to closely inspect the exterior of your home and look for any potential entry points. Fill smaller holes with caulk, and use steel wool or waterproof sealant to block larger entry points.
5. Reduce clutter.
Rodents are drawn to cluttered garages, patios, and attics, because they provide safe and comfortable places to nest. Reducing the number of boxes, gadgets, and other miscellaneous items will discourage pests from moving in.
6. Protect your pool.
Rodents often view in-ground swimming pools as attractive spots to grab a sip of water. Unfortunately, they can easily fall in and drown, which creates a variety of health risks for your once-pristine pool. You can discourage mice and rats from exploring your pool area by, again, being careful to eliminate all food, drinks, and trash from poolside furniture and patio areas. Also, consider using a pool cover when the pool isn’t in use, especially at night, when rodents are most active. Finally, be aware that your pool heater is another warm, comfortable spot where mice and rats may want to nest. Regularly check its casing for gaps or cracks, and fill them as needed.
By taking these relatively simple steps, you can help make your home a lot less inviting to rodents this spring. However, keep in mind that even these items may not completely rodent-proof your home. When you spot a rodent on your property, it’s a good idea to take care of the problem right away. A growing number of homeowners are using humane rat and mouse traps to more effectively keep these pests at bay and protect children and pets from harmful toxins. These weatherproof traps can be used indoor or outdoor to kill rodents without toxins or electricity. The traps automatically reset themselves after each CO2-powered shot, and each CO2 canister can kill two dozen rats, ensuring that rodents are quickly and effectively eradicated from your property, in the most humane way possible.