How to Rodent Proof Your Home
During the winter months, if you’re messy yet vigilant, you may notice an increase in rodent activity in your kitchen. Drawn indoors by the cold, kept cozy by the water heater and stove, and convinced to stay by the bountiful amounts of crumbs and scraps on your counters and floor, rats and mice have a nasty habit of making themselves at home in your home if you’re not careful.
There are a few obvious steps you can take to keep rodents out of your house, and some simple do-it-yourself pest control tips that can make a big difference, as well.
- The simplest way to keep pests out of your house is to keep food products put away; keep the counters, stovetop, and sink clean; and the garbage covered and disposed of regularly. Pet owners: don’t leave you’re pets’ food out all day and night; cat and dog food is also a favorite snack of sneaky rodents. If there is nothing for them to eat, the rodents have to leave your home in order to eat, thus reducing the chance that they make it their permanent residence.
- Pests get into your house from the outside through an opening somewhere in your home: obviously. If there is easy access to the outdoors from your kitchen, like a back door, basement, or garage, make sure it is airtight; mice can squeeze themselves through surprisingly small spaces. Installing good weatherstripping under your exterior doors will help keep pests out, and your heating and cooling costs down.
- You can go on the offensive by trying traps or pesticides to rid yourself of your unwanted house guests once and for all. Don’t know where to put the traps? Follow the poop. If you’re considering pesticide, make sure it’s a product that takes a week or two to operate; when they start feeling ill, rodents instinctually leave their hideouts and search out standing water. The last thing you need is dead rats in your walls: be careful.
- Like I said before: these guys can get in through anywhere! An extremist would search every wall, every nook and cranny, in and behind every drawer and kitchen cabinet in their home, and through every attic and basement, for any small opening that critters could crawl through. Not to mention around the foundation of the house!
More low-key – or straight-up lazy – people would simply check the kitchen and bathroom, in drawers and behind appliances. Often times if pipes have to be fed to an appliance like a stove, sink, or toilet, a handyman might leave an opening in wall to facilitate maintenance. Well, these openings lead into the vast crawlspace in your walls that goes throughout your house, and unfortunately also leads to the outdoors.
To patch up holes use steel wool, and spray foam insulation like Great Stuff. Rodents can’t chew through steel wool, and the insulation fills and seals the gap in your wall. Larger holes might require a plywood or drywall patch, or a combination of all three.
By keeping the kitchen clean and the food put away, and keeping your home sealed to the outdoors, you should be able to keep rodents out permanently