How to Stop Rats and Mice from Wintering in Your Home

How to Stop Rats and Mice from Wintering in Your Home

When the temperature starts to drop, rats and mice will seek food and shelter indoors. There is no hibernation period for these rodents, and they stay active throughout the winter months. If the conditions in your home are more inviting than the weather outside, rats and mice might very well decide to set up camp behind your refrigerator – or anywhere else where they’ll remain largely undetected.

Your home doesn’t have to be the Motel 6 for rodents, though. You can take preventive measures to keep your home rodent-free.

What Attracts Rats and Mice to Your Home?

Rats and mice – and other rodents – are mammals, which means they need to maintain a warm body temperature to survive. In January, the average high temperature in Richmond is 47.5°F and the average low is 28.2°F; the outdoors can get a bit chilly. Couple the frigid cold with dwindling winter food sources, and it’s easy to see why rats and mice might seek indoor shelter.

Why do they choose one home and not another? That’s a pretty easy question. Whichever home is most inviting is the one they’ll migrate to. With that in mind, here are some of the things rodents tend to look for:

  • A home that is especially messy, with food left on counters and in sinks, and spills that aren’t cleaned up immediately.
  • Wood piles, leaf piles, shrubs, and/or debris that are nestled against the home’s exterior.
  • Pet food inside the home that is not appropriately sealed and pet excrement outside the home that is not removed immediately.
  • Food and water that are easily accessible, especially in trash cans and compost piles.

Sure, it may seem like you have quite a battle on your hands, but keeping rodents out of your home is not as difficult as it seems.

6 Ways to Stop Rats and Mice in Their Tracks

1. Store Your Food, as Well as Your Pet’s

Keeping your countertops and other surfaces clear of food and residue will ensure rats and mice don’t consider your home an all-you-can-eat buffet. Check for crumbs under the counters, refrigerator, and other appliances. Make sure all food is stored in sealed containers to prevent easy access. Remember, rats and mice like dog and cat food, so keep these sealed, too.

2. Seal Points of Entry

Seal off any place that makes it possible for a rat or mouse to gain entry. These rodents are known to squeeze through very small gaps – even as small as the width of a pencil. So, close off any opening larger than ¼-inch. Repair any window screen that has a tear. Seal any cracks in walls or the foundation with wire mesh. Examine spots where pipes enter your home; if there are gaps, fill them with mesh and caulk. Finally, if you have a chimney, add a cap; rodents are excellent climbers.

3. Move Firewood Off the Ground

Firewood is a favorite hiding place for rats and mice. So, if you keep a stash of firewood outside your home, elevate your logs at least 18 inches off the ground and store your log pile away from your home.

4. Install a Brush Strip

Block the small gaps at the base of your exterior doors – which are common with older doors – with a brush strip. For easy installation, choose one with an adhesive strip rather than screws. Brush strips are not only a rodent deterrent, but also saves energy by keeping the heat inside your home.

5. Remove Clutter

Rats and mice prefer basements, attics, and garages, because these are frequently the areas that have clutter. And clutter = convenient hiding spots. Make these areas less tempting by removing the clutter, especially stacks of old newspapers and other junk. Don’t leave laundry on the floor. Piles of boxes clustered together can also be inviting, so remove these, too.

6. Maintain Landscaping

Trim any branches hanging close to your house, because they can provide rats – especially roof rats – with easy access to your roof or attic. Tidy up any overgrown vegetation and remove weeds and leaf piles to ensure neighborhood rats and mice have fewer hiding places.

Don’t Hesitate to Call a Professional

The first step in keeping rats and mice at bay this winter is by knowing what attracts these rodents to your home in the first place and then taking the steps outlined above. The second step is contacting a company that provides professional rodent control services, such as Eco Pest Control. Our trained staff are expert in rodent control and removal. We can inspect your home for signs of rodent infestation, help you set up a customized prevention plan, and tackle any infestation problem you might have.