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Rodent-Proofing Your Home

Seven Poison-Free Strategies for Keeping Mice and Rats Out of Your Home

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Common Rat
Photo Courtesy of Keven Law 2009

Mice or rats are more than just a nasty nuisance; they can directly or indirectly transmit diseases to you or your family members. More often, it's indirectly through mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. This can include Lyme Disease and several not-so-pleasant fevers. So it's important to guard yourself from rodents entering your home not only to prevent Mom from tap dancing on the kitchen chair, but you need to keep them away for your family's health.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR RODENT-PROOFING YOUR HOME

  1. Don't feed the birds! Birds aren't always neat eaters. A free meal on the ground is a huge draw for rodents to hang around your house.

  2. Don't leave your garage door open for extended periods, especially overnight.

  3. Don't store 50 pounds of dog food in your garage. The aroma of pet food, bird seed, or GRASS SEED must be kept in airtight containers. While that metal trash can and lid may indeed keep Mr. Mouse from getting to your dog food, he doesn't realize that until after the aroma has lured him into your garage.

  4. The same should be said about the enticing aroma of garbage. Controlling these smells can mean all the difference between no mice and several families of them nesting in your garage and eventually in your walls.

  5. Do seal your air conditioner lines and other gaps dime-sized or larger.

  6. Resist overdoing it on the landscaping. Abundant, dense plant life near the structure creates an irresistible sanctuary and safe haven for rodents just outside your home. Unfortunately, the same lush beautiful landscaping so many of us admire and aspire to have are just as attractive to many of the pests we want to keep out of our homes.

  7. Clean up spilled "mouse food" immediately. A few pieces of dog food on the garage floor or some spilled bird or grass seed would be irresistible to a hungry mouse outside.

When a mouse or rat decides to visit, it's rarely seen. Usually, evidence that they have invaded your home is through finding chewed holes in boxes and bags of dry goods in a pantry, or dog food and grass seed bags in the garage. Rodents have been known to chew threw electrical wiring, causing expensive repairs, or even causing fires. Many times, it's their droppings (feces) that are noticed first. But the true danger in a mouse or rat's visit is often invisible. Various diseases, including the Hantavirus, are transmitted by the accidental inhalation of dust from a rodent's dried urine.

Click here for CDC instructions on cleaning up after a rodent's visit.

The most effective way to control a rodent population in your home is prevention. With a little bit of garage cleaning, yard work and caulking, you can avoid the major hassle of extensive cleanup that is necessary, even if only one or two mice have a party in your pantry.

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