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Winterize: Rodent Control around Your Home

Winter is coming and so are the pests. Rodents cause every kind of problem for homeowners. Common rodents such as house mice (Mus musculus), Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), the black rat (Rattus rattus), and roof rats gnaw holes and cause other damage, such as damage to electrical wiring, which can cause a fire before you even knew about the problem. They make messes with their droppings or when they tear up material for nesting. Have you ever found a dead rat near your Lubbock home? No one wants that. Rats and mice contaminate food often carry diseases such as hantavirus or salmonella. Rats are attributed to be the leading carrier of the black and bubonic plagues.

No matter what type of rodents enter your home, no one wants their children or pets near a mouse or rat. Learn what rodents leave behind so you can identify a rodent problem at home, and learn to take the steps to rodent-proof your home.

Signs of Mice and Rats in your Home

Contrary to popular belief, a dirty home doesn’t cause a rodent problem. A dirty house doesn’t mean rats and mice. If you find these signs in your Lubbock home, feel no shame. Everyone has problems now and again.

  • Mouse poop. Rat droppings are larger than mouse droppings, cylindrical, and rounded at the end. Mouse droppings are the size and shape of a grain of rice.
  • Scratch marks. Anywhere one of these fuzzy critters might try to access may show gnaw marks or scratches. Entry points like holes for gas, water, or electrical piping, or gaps in siding. Any food storage location can also bear signs of damage. You could also see tiny paw prints in dust, dirt, flour, or sugar where they have scurried.
  • Piles of debris. When these furry invaders nest, they gather soft materials together for their litters. You may see scraps of paper, wood shavings, or even bits of insulation scattered around the floor of your shed, garage, or pantry.
  • Nocturnal noise. Rats fight for food or territory, and both rats and mice scratch or gnaw the walls, or make scurrying noises while exploring.
  • Pets on alert. Some pets are natural mousers, and any dog or cat will grow wary, agitated, or excited if they sense a rodent nearby. Just keep in mind that these warnings aren’t enough by themselves to diagnose a rodent infestation.

Control and Prevent Rodent Attractants

Food of every kind will bring rodents into your Lubbock home. Follow these precautions to discourage these pests from motivation to invade in the first place.

  • Seal your food. Metal or plastic containers with airtight seals are best to keep the smell of your flour, spices, sugar, and other food from attracting rodents. Store these containers high off the ground.
  • Pet food. Dog and cat food are beacons for an infestation because of their high nutrition. Birdseed is also a strong attractant. Seal and store these in airtight containers high off the ground.
  • Garbage. Consider purchasing special garbage bags with seals. Regardless of what you choose to use, keep the indoor garbage containers empty, especially at night, when rodents are most active. Ensure your outdoor garbage is at least 20 feet from the house and has a strong lid that stays tightly sealed.
  • Clean the yard. Fallen fruit or seeds are a strong attractant as well. Tedious though it may be, keeping these off your garden or lawn will improve the rodent activity in around your home.
  • Garage and shed. Use all these same preventative measures in your garage or shed, especially if you keep planting seeds. Maintain a clean environment and be sure to remove clutter.

Eliminate Rodent Entry Points

A rat or mouse can fit into a gap as small as a quarter. Mice can fit into spaces the size of a nickel or even a dime! Use these techniques to ensure rodents cannot find access to your Lubbock home this winter.

  • Seal gaps

    Steel wool, copper wire mesh, and silicone caulking are effective tools. Find gaps around sill plates and foundation, gaps in siding that is low to the ground, and even the tiniest cracks around door or window frames. Ensure your window screens are sealed well and in good repair.
  • Reduce shrubbery

    To reduce the number of hiding places a rodent can find around your home, trim shrubs at least 1 foot from your home. Any leaf piles or fallen tree limbs should be cleared as quickly as possible to reduce hiding and nesting sites.
  • Compost and Firewood piles

    Firewood piles and compost piles, especially food compost, should be at least 20 feet from the house and 1 foot off the ground. Install a chicken wire fencing or metal screen around each of these piles for extra protection.
  • Other Tips

    A metal screen, combined with copper wire mesh, steel wool, and caulking, is an effective way to fill gaps in chimneys or fireplaces, especially if your chimney or similar structure is made of brick.

Professional Rodent Infestation Control

Household remedies for an infestation also exist. These range from bait stations, rodent baits, live traps, snap traps, good old peanut butter traps, glue boards, or other over-the-counter remedies are available. We don’t recommend you use live traps since someone with only an instruction manual and a pair of gloves could easily be bitten and contract a disease from an infected rat or mouse.

Luckily, you don’t have to face this problem alone. Pest Professionals with Fox Pest Control live up to that title. They are friendly and courteous, and they will work together with you to create a plan of action to restore your peace of mind. Don’t wait to get rid of rats or mice. Call today.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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December 9th, 2019

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