Here are 11 tips to keep mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, and bats out of your home this fall and winter.
SEE ALSO: Pest-Proofing Your House in the Fall →
1. Keep trash cans clean, sealed, and away from your home.
Rodents and wildlife are constantly looking for food. One of the most common places for them to find food in your home is in the trash cans themselves. If you leave the lid off or if you have food debris inside it becomes much more attractive. Also, if the can covers are not particularly thick, rodents can gain easy access. Your best bet is to keep cans and barrels away from your home in case rodents do get in your trash.
2. Make sure to trim back any tree limbs that are hanging over your roof.
Wildlife can get easy access to your attics by jumping off of tree limbs overhanging your home and onto the roof. They can then sneak into the home via the chimney and any damaged openings. So, trim back to those trees. If you do need to cut down a tree. Be sure to plant a new one, and keep it away from your home.
3. Keep firewood dry and stacked away from your home.
You want to keep the firewood stacked away from home because it can form a harborage for rodents. If you keep the wood right up against the house it gives rodents a place to nest and keep warm. It’s also important to keep the wood elevated on a shelf so that is not right up against the ground, reducing the chance of wood-destroying insects. Also, keep it covered with a tarp, if it gets wet, it will likely be eaten by carpenter ants.
4. As the leaves begin to fall, keep your gutters clear.
It’s important to keep your gutters clear because this time of year often leads can build up in the gutters which causes water to backflow or overflow into the gutter itself this actually can result in some significant water damage on the eaves and roofs of your home. Water damage leads to holes and wood easy enough for rodents, termites, and carpenter ants to chew through.
5. Seal off any gaps or holes around the exterior of your home.
As we get into the colder months off, rodents are going to make more of an effort to get into your home to get away from the freezing temperatures outside. That’s why it’s important to go around the whole inspect for any holes gaps, fill them up with any type of steel wall or cement to make sure that the rodents can’t gain access.
A mouse only needs a 1/4 of an inch opening to get inside; a rat only needs 1/2 inch. Your best bet is to go around now, in the fall, and block everything off so you have no issues in the winter.
6. Inspect and repair any screens on attic vents.
When I go into older homes, I often find that when I go into the attic/gable vent doesn’t have a screen on the inside or the screen or it is in disrepair. These screens prevent squirrels and bats from gaining easy access.
7. Make sure all your dryer vents and exhaust fan vents are pest-proof.
It’s important to remember that your dryer vents and your exhaust fan vents will actually pump out heat during the colder months. Rodents will be drawn to this and will then try to get access to your home through these vents. Screen them and cover them.
8. Make sure your chimney has a chimney cap.
In certain situations, birds, bats, and even raccoons will get inside your chimney and even get stuck. Prevent these disasters by getting a chimney cap now.
9. Make sure all exterior doors have door sweeps.
A door sweep is a small gasket at the base of your door that prevents cold air, rodents, and insects from gaining access to your home. Bottoms of doors are easy for pests to enter. Pest control companies, like Debug, sell industrial-strength door sweeps.
10. Keep pet food (or animal feed) stored inside a container and kept inside of a structure.
A common mistake the homeowners make when purchasing pet food is that they keep the food in the bag that they purchased this bag. These bags are not pest-resistant. We recommend that you buy hard plastic containers to store food. You will want to do the same if you have horses, chickens, or goats!
11. Make sure to clean under your stove and refrigerator.
Many customers, when cleaning the home, forget to pull out their refrigerators and stoves and clean behind them. Organic matter builds up quickly in these areas which makes it an appetizing food source for rodents and cockroaches.
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