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11 Fall Pest Control & Prevention Tips

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.

If you have any questions about rodent control please send an email to asktim@debugpestcontrol.com.

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Bonus Blog Article

How to get rid of mice in the garage this winter

Have an attached garage? It may be how the mice are getting into your house. 

Make sure that garage door seals correctly. If it doesn’t you might need the Xcluder Rodent-Proof Garage Door Seal.

Tim Horgan, Service Manager at Debug Pest Control

An attached garage is an often overlooked portal for mice looking to get into your house for the winter. Every time you open the garage door to leave for work, come home from work, or do any kind of car maintenance or chore in your garage–you’re creating an opportunity for mice to enter your home. 

And once mice are in your garage, it’s only a matter of time before they get into your much warmer house. 

How do I know if I have mice in my garage?

If there are mice in your house, they are probably the common house mouse variety. They’re very small and come in a wide range of colors from white, gray, brown, and black. They have a pointed snout, small eyes, and round ears. 

If the mouse you are seeing has a white underbelly, bigger eyes, and a short tail, you may have a deer mouse in your house. If you aren’t sure, a professional pest control technician can easily identify the mouse you have in your garage. 

Maybe you haven’t seen a mouse and instead you’ve seen their droppings and grease trails in your garage. Maybe you’ve seen their bite marks on your bags of bird seed. If you are seeing signs like this, chances are the mice have moved in, you just haven’t seen them yet.

How are they getting in?

As we mentioned earlier, your garage door is a major point of entry. But, they can get in even if you don’t open your garage door all winter. Your garage is safer and warmer than outside and mice are going to do everything they can to gain entry to your garage. 

Mice only need ¼ inch opening to enter your garage; that’s really, really small. 

Are there easy ways to keep mice out of my garage?

One of the easiest things you can do is to declutter your garage as much as possible. Don’t give mice anywhere they can easily hide and avoid detection. The more stuff you have in your garage, the harder it is to detect the mice. You want to spot the mice early–when there are only one or a few mice in the garage. The more clutter you have, the higher the chances of your not seeing the mice until you’re infested. 

Do yourself a favor. Skip the spray foam. Mice will chew right through that.

Tim Horgan, Service Manager at Debug Pest Control

Another easy, affordable preventative tip is to put your bird seed and pet food in sealed plastic containers. Bird seed and pet food are an easy food source for mice. They can easily chew through the plastic and paper bags that your bird seed and pet food come in, so it’s important to take the food out of those bags and pour them into sealed plastic containers. 

Some folks think they can go to the big box home repair stores and buy the spray foam. The spray foam is great for drafts, but does nothing to stop mice, who easily chew through the foam. Not only do those general spray foams not work, they often cause added damage to your home by trapping moisture and causing wood to rot. 

Caulk and steel wool are some easy and affordable DIY rodent control tools to help keep your garage free of mice. Go around the perimeter of your garage and apply fresh caulk along the foundation, around your windows, and in any cracks in your soffit or siding. Steel wool pushed into these openings makes it hard for rodents and mice to chew through any opening. 

Getting rid of mice that are already living in your garage

If there are mice already living in your garage–or if you’ve tried to get rid of them yourself, but they’ve persisted–it’s time to call in the professionals. Professional pest control can help you trap the mice living in your garage and also install professional exclusion devices like garage door sweeps.  

At Debug, we believe in the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you want to eliminate mice from your home, call us and we’ll come out and identify how the mice are entering your garage. We’ll work with you to identify their access points and then close those spaces up. We’ll install professional exclusion tools and we’ll monitor the situation to make sure it’s working. 

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