As I cleaned out a storage unit a couple days ago I sensed movement in my peripheral vision. I turned my gaze toward the area of motion just in time to spot a long, slender tail disappearing into a hole. The incident alerted me to the fast approaching seasonal invasion of mice and rats.
Soon the rodents will move to their winter residence in homes everywhere. Are you ready?
I haven’t seen the signs of rodent activity in my house yet, and thinking about that I find myself slightly surprised because temperatures lately are colder than normal. I turned my furnace on around two weeks ago. Most years I wait until the end of October or early November before I do that.
With temperatures so far below the usual upper 60s early rodent signs in the house wouldn’t surprise me. A few always seem to find their way inside no matter how many preventative steps I take to block their entry.
You can take action to keep the majority of mice and rats out of your house, though if you live in an area where their numbers are large you’ll still need to deal with a few. Especially if you live next to a field where farmers just harvested their crops. Those little rodent critters have food dropped from the machines to last them a while, but soon that colder weather will drive them into nearby buildings.
Most often you only need concern yourself with invasion from mice.
Walk around your house paying particular attention to the foundation, and look for any openings. Remember that a mouse only needs a small crack to get in. They squeeze through spaces where you wouldn’t think an insect could pass through.
Seal off all those openings you find with metal. Steel wool works fairly well for this. Mice easily chew through softer materials if they sense an opening.
I once turned on my dishwasher and flooded my kitchen floor. After a couple hours of mopping and clean up an inspection revealed a hole in my dishwasher drain hose that a mouse chewed in order to get to the other side of a cabinet wall the hose passed through.
I widened that hole with a jigsaw before replacing the hose just to makes sure I didn’t run into that problem again.
Inside the house always watch for those calling cards that mice leave behind. You know what those are don’t you? They’re the little black droppings with the pointed ends that mice expel from their bodies as waste.
By the way, if those droppings are blunt on the ends you have cockroaches, not mice. Roaches have no sphincter to squeeze the droppings out so the ends won’t have points.
If you find mouse droppings it’s time to catch those little pests before they start multiplying (which doesn’t take long).
Pest control techniques for eliminating rodents include setting traps, putting down glue boards, and/or positioning poison baits. Whichever method you use make sure you place the catch tool near, but not directly on the mouse’s path of travel, they shy away from new items that suddenly appear.
If you use baits remember that after the rodent eats it he’ll run back into his hole, and die inside the wall. That means you’ll suffer through a smell that lasts three days to a week (for mice), longer for a rat.
Rodent control isn’t difficult, and their habits never change. Once you learn those habits, and keep an eye out for rodent signs, you’ll quickly get control of infestations.
The key is to start your mouse and rat pest control inspections early.