Keeping Mice out of your Home and Garage

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Keeping Mice out of your Home

It’s autumn and that means mice. This time of year mice are entering homes in preparation for winter. While it’s impossible to never have a mouse, there are things you can do to make your house less attractive to them.

Why do mice like my house?

Mice love older homes. These houses have gaps and other small holes that make it easy for mice to get inside. Older homes often have detached garages, which are built like sheds rather than insulated homes. These garages are not airtight and there are usually large gaps around the garage door or between the foundation and the walls. Newer homes are much more energy efficient, which means steps have been taken to close these small holes, but that doesn’t mean the new homes are immune. Take a look around your yard and see if you have these features that make your house more attractive to mice.

Yard Features that attract mice:

  • Dense shrubbery. Mice are timid creatures and need places to hide. If these are against your home, it will give mice the perfect place to hide while they look for a way into your home.
  • Wood piles. Everyone loves a fire in autumn, but those wood piles can host a number of pests. Stack firewood away from your home and keep wood covered and dry to deter insects and rodents.
  • Scrap piles. Mice love to nest in any small space. That scrap pile in the yard is the perfect place for them to nest. If these piles are against your home, heat from you room will warm the space, providing the perfect environment for mice.
  • Bird feeders/baths. While feeding your feathered friends, keep in mind that many rodents love seed and that birdbath provides a source of fresh water as well.
mouse in grain

Can I get rid of the mice on my own?

While your pest professional is your best resource for rodent management, there are some things you can do on your own to combat the problem.

DO

  • Close off gaps in your home and garage- Use caulk and steel wool to fill in small holes and gaps leading into your home. Mice can squeeze through holes that seem smaller than they are. If you see a gap, caulk it.
  • Declutter and reorganize- Mice can chew through cardboard and plastic bags. Use heavy duty bins that seal tightly in your garage. Raise bins and other storage off the floor. This will reduce the number of potential nesting spots. If you see evidence of mice in your pantry, clean up open/spilled food and seal staples away in sturdy, tightly sealed containers
  • Clean up your garage and pantry- Grass seed, bird seed and pet food will feed mice all winter long. Open food containers in your pantry will attract these pests to your kitchen.
  • Outside keep your lawn and garden trimmed, and remove lawn debris and scrap piles. Tidy lawns are less prone to mice.

DON’T

  • Use scent repellants- Mice quickly become accustomed to repellants making any effects short-lived.
  • Rely on a cat. Cats can reduce the number of mice in an area, but they cannot reach all areas that mice tend to hide.
  • Use sound machines or ultrasonic repellers- They simply do not work.
  • Use cayenne pepper. Mice may not eat this spice, but it doesn’t deter them.
  • Ignore signs of an infestation. Mice breed rapidly!

While there’s no way to guarantee you will never have a mouse. There are things you can do to make you home less attractive to them. By following these tips you can help keep your home a safe haven for you and your family, not mice.

MicheleKeeping Mice out of your Home and Garage
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Fall Pest Prevention

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Fall is the best time to prevent new pest infestations. With the weather cooling down, insects and rodents are looking for a place to bed down for the winter. Don’t make your house more attractive to these critters. Follow these tips to keep pests out of your home this winter.

Locate Pest Entrances

Take the time to inspect the outside of your home. Insects can enter through any small gaps in your home’s exterior. Look for gaps in the caulking around windows and doors, around vents and pipes, even around cables. (Be extra careful around electrical wires.)

Next, check along the edges of your siding and where your siding meets window and door frames. Note any gaps. Look for small gaps where insects could get behind the siding and nest. Also look for larger gaps and holes or signs of rodent damage. Squirrels and mice will enlarge smaller gaps to accommodate their size. Look for chew marks or darker patches around holes. These are signs that small mammals are using these as entrances into your home.

Inspect weather stripping around your doors. Look for missing or worn areas. Next, check your screens. Look for holes in screens or gaps between screen and window frames. Repair, if possible.

Eliminating Pest Access Points

If it is safe for you to do so, fill small gaps and holes with a high quality caulk or other appropriate material. Use weather stripping around windows and doors. And don’t forget around your garage door. Adding weather stripping around your garage door will not only help keep pests out of your garage, it will keep your garage warmer and save you money on your winter heating bill.

If gaps are larger or show signs of rodent usage, stuff holes with steel wool or copper mesh. Rodents will not chew through metal mesh. You can also use expanding foam to fill larger gaps. Once foam has dried, use a utility knife to cut off excess.

Making your home less attractive to insects

Remove sources of moisture. Insects and rodents need water to survive. Make sure you are not providing it. Look for leaks in and around your home. Check your attack spaces for roof leaks and excess moisture and remediate these. Add a dehumidifier to your basement and keep the humidity at 40% or under. This will make your basement less hospitable for insects.

Around your exterior, clean out gutters and remove leaves and mulch from contact with your home’s foundation. Trim shrubs and trees away from your home and remove dead vegetation including autumn leaves promptly. Stack firewood away from your home’s exterior.

Deter Rodents from Your Home

Remove food sources by keeping rubbish contained in appropriate bins. Secure pet food and bird seed in metal containers with latching lids. Examine your home for other possible food sources and remove them.

Eliminate possible nesting areas my removing clutter from your garage and in dark hidden areas of your home such as in closets and under cabinets. Store items on raised shelving units that allow you to clean debris from beneath. You will be able to see signs of an infestation immediately, allowing you to remediate before the problem has a chance to grow.

While it’s impossible to make your home immune to pests, by following these tips you will make your home less attractive to them this fall. If you find signs of an infestation, give us a call. We can help you to locate the source of the problem and tailor a solution specific to your needs.

MicheleFall Pest Prevention
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