As summer temperatures begin to dip into cooler fall weather and the days get shorter, instinct drives rodents to start the hunt for a warm place to spend the winter — even in areas that don’t regularly experience hard freezes.
The bad news is that, sometimes, rodents decide that your home is the coziest place to wait out the cold and food-scarce winter months. With a cupboard full of food and consistent heat, your house looks like a four-star hotel to these pests.
Luckily, you don’t have to roll out the welcome mat for rodents. With a little preparation in late summer or early fall, you can seal your home against furry intruders and drive them to seek shelter elsewhere.
Assess the Perimeter
When you have some spare time, take a walk around your house. Check for cracks in your foundation, missing bricks, open utility pipes, cracks in the dryer vent hose, and windows and doors that don’t quite seal. If you find cracks, call a professional to fix them or seal them yourself with caulk made from silicone.
Larger openings can be filled with steel wool because the rough texture repels rodents — they don’t like the way it feels as they try to slide by it. Replace leaky windows and seal openings in the side or bottom of your door. Make this an annual practice that not only will seal your house from cold winter drafts that can increase your energy costs, but will seal your home off from rodents looking for a nest.
Don’t leave any crack unsealed. Remember that a small rodent can squeeze through a hole as small as the diameter of a quarter.
Include a roof check in your perimeter assessment. Look for missing shingles or broken attic vents. If a rodent makes its way into your attic, you might end up with a tenant for life. Rodents love attics because they’re warm and relatively free of human intruders.
Check Your Wood Pile
If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a fireplace, fight the urge to keep your woodpile conveniently close to the backdoor. You may not want to leave your cozy living room and walk across the yard to grab another log for the fire, but if you keep a wood pile nearby, you might be playing host to a family of rodents.
Rodents regularly make their homes in wood piles, and if you leave your door open while you lean outside to grab a log off the pile, a rodent could scurry right in. Keep your woodpile far away from your door, making it less likely that a rodent living in it would move inside your house.
If a rodent does make its way into your home, give it a reason to move right out again by taking away food sources. Wipe your counter of crumbs every night. Clean under appliances where crumbs can hide. Tightly seal open containers of food in plastic or glass containers in your cupboard. Store your snack supply from the big box store in a plastic tub.
Often, people overlook their pet’s food bowl as a rodent food source. Be sure to keep your pet’s food in a sealed container rather than storing it in an open bag. Consider purchasing a food bowl that’s slightly elevated so that pests can’t easily access it, and never leave a full bowl of pet food out overnight.
Even with all of these tips, a rodent could still take up residence in your home. But you don’t have to live with that unwanted roommate! Contact Jones Bros Pest Control, Inc., for a free quote, and we’ll quickly deal with your furry winter guest.