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Rodent Control in and Around Your Home

With the thermometer dropping in upstate New York this winter, expect rodents to flee to your home en masse. Norway rats, roof rats, house mice, and other types of rodents would love to set up a nest, chew and gnaw the walls, eat and contaminate your food, spread disease, and cause general mayhem in your Rochester home this winter. We don’t want your holiday present this year to be Hotel Rodentia in your walls or living room.

Have you ever seen a dead rat before? Not a fun experience. Plenty of people find these little critters terrifying, and no wonder! Rodents can carry diseases such as salmonella, leptospirosis, hantavirus, and are thought to be the original carriers of the plagues during the European outbreak in the Middle Ages. Rodents can cause you and your loved ones a lot of grief, but we know some solutions you can implement to get rid of rodents and prevent an infestation this winter.

Rodent-proof your home early before the snowy season takes over and your efforts for rodent control and prevention are more difficult to implement.

Rodent Infestation Signs

Here are signs of a mouse or rat infestation.

  • Nesting piles. When rodents nest, they gather scraps of paper, wood shavings, or tear up insulation for their litters.
  • Nocturnal Sounds. Rodents are most active during the night. Rats will fight each other over food and territory, and mice will make scurry and squeak noises. Both rodent types will gnaw and scratch on walls while they explore.
  • Feces. Rat droppings are cylindrical and rounded on the ends. Mouse droppings look like small, dark grains of rice.
  • Prints. You may find little paw prints of rats or mice in dirt or food they have accessed, like flour, sugar, spices, or grains.
  • See a Rodent. Don’t worry; most people never see a live rodent in their home because of their nocturnal nature. But if you come across one during a midnight trip to the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll know it’s time to take action.
  • Pet Behavior.The acute senses of dogs and cats can be a useful indicator, though they aren’t good diagnostics of rodent presence in your home. Alert behavior, agitation, or other unusual dog or cat behavior may be a sign of a furry intruder.

Eliminate Rodent Attractions

Prevent rodents from being motivated to enter your home by sealing up attractants. A myth has circulated that rodents are only attracted to dirty homes, but that isn’t true. Rodents look for food and a place to hide. Keep your home rodent-free with these steps to eliminate rodent attractants.

  • For Food:

    Purchase airtight containers for all your dry goods, including flour, sugar, grains, cereal, and spices. Never leave food out because a rodent’s keen sense of smell is much more acute than ours. Rodents are most motivated to gain entry if you leave scraps of food lying around or dirty dishes in the sink. Clean the kitchen thoroughly and store food on a high shelf.
  • For Pet Food:

    Pet food is a beacon for any rodent. The highly nutritious dog and cat food left out is a sure and certain rodent attractor. Keep these foods stored in airtight containers and on a high shelf far out of reach. Do the same for birdseed and planting seeds, if you keep them.
  • De-clutter the Yard

    Piles of fallen leaves and tree limbs are excellent nesting sites, and fallen fruit, vegetables, nuts, or berries are a sure attractant for rodents. If you keep a bird feeder, hang the feeder far off the ground, and make sure the ground below it is free of any fallen seeds.
  • For Compost:

    Compost piles should be 20 feet from the home, at least, and should be 1 foot off the ground. Install chicken wire or metal screening around it for additional protection, especially if you compost food.
  • For Firewood:

    As with compost piles, keep your firewood pile 20 feet from your home and at least 1 foot off the ground. Install chicken wire or metal screens around the firewood pile as well, since this pile is an excellent nesting site.
  • Trim Vegetation

    Shrubs and bushes are excellent hiding places, and if rodents can hide, they have time to find access points or build a nest. Trim your grass short, and trim bushes, hedges, or other shrubberies at least 1 foot from your home perimeter
  • Garbages.

    Frequently empty the interior garbages, consider purchasing special garbage bags with a seal, and ensure the exterior garbage, whether metal or plastic, is at least 20 feet from your home and has a tightly sealed lid.

Seal Entry Points

Rats and mice can fit into minuscule spaces ranging from the size of a quarter to the size of a dime! Pay extra attention to find any gaps, as a single seal could permanently eliminate a rodent problem.

Use steel wool, caulking, copper mesh, metal screens, or a combination of all of these to seal the following places:

  • Accessible gaps in siding.
  • Gaps around water, gas, or electrical piping.
  • Cracks and crevices around doors and ground-level windows.
  • Install a metal screen around larger entry points, including window wells, chimneys or fireplaces, or other holes you may find.
  • Cracks and gaps around the home foundation, including sill plates.

Fox Pest Control

If you are afraid a rodent, mouse, or rat has entered your home already, over-the-counter methods exist to eliminate rodents. Glue boards, rodent bait or bait stations, and peanut butter snap traps are available for consumer purchase to get rid of rats or mice. However, we discourage the use of live traps and poison bait, since these can be dangerous for children or pets if not properly used. Additionally, when a rodent eats the bait, it doesn’t die immediately and could end up dead inside a wall somewhere and stink for weeks. With live traps, including glue boards, be advised that a homeowner who approaches a live rat or mouse without the proper expertise could contract a disease the rodent might carry, or even receive a bite.

Our Pest Professionals are available to you to formulate a treatment plan. If you have rodents in your house, don’t wait. Follow the steps outlined above and call today for a free estimate. Your Pest Pro from Fox Pest Control will work with you to restore your peace of mind. Pest Control? Think Fox Pest Control.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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