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Beware of the rodent invasion

Rat amongst the pipes

Last weekend many parts of the UK woke up to find a blanket of white. When I looked out of my windows, I saw a grey day with icy cold sleet. It was exactly the sort of day when all you want to do is nestle into your armchair, open a packet of Bourbon biscuits and settle down to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. It certainly isn’t the sort of day you want to be outside.

Unfortunately, it’s the same for our rodent friends - now is the time they are looking to come into our homes to make themselves cosy for the winter months. Outside they are finding food supplies scarcer and the weather colder and damper, inside they find dry, insulated homes and a ready supply of food in our cupboards and on the floor. Rodents will often make themselves homes in lofts and out of the way places, but they are always keen to have access to a good food supply.

You may feel that there is nothing wrong with sharing your home with a mouse or two, but the reality is they can cause real problems. These furry creatures will scratch, gnaw and rip items apart to make nesting materials and they will also chew through electrical cables. This can cause fires, as well as cause structural damage, not to mention the urine and droppings they spread over large areas.

In my opinion prevention is better than cure and, while you may need to call in professionals to help with this annual problem, there are still a few preventative measures you can undertake yourself by blocking up access routes into your home.

Firstly, it is a good idea to check around the outside of your home to make sure all the air bricks are intact - Victorian air bricks often have gaps large enough to allow a mice to enter. If you find you have a problem, a fine mesh panel can be fitted over the air brick.

Secondly, it is a good idea to remove the kick plates at the bottom of kitchen units. Once you have done this, you will be able to see if there are any signs of mouse droppings and remove any food detritus. Removing the food will discourage mice and removing the droppings means you will be able to see quickly if any more mice arrive.

Thirdly, it is probably a good idea to clear out your under-the-stairs cupboard. It is a quiet, warm place for mice to live in, and often service pipes will enter and exit through this cupboard. These holes can provide excellent routes for rodents to move around the house.

Finally, lofts are a very popular place for rodents, and squirrels, to make their homes. They can often gain access into the house via damaged soffits and fascia boards. They can then make nice, warm harbourages in the loft insulation and will happily chew their way through paper and cardboard boxes containing valuable family heirlooms and Christmas decorations. If you see a squirrel going into the loft, take action quickly before you have a family of squirrels or, when they start gnawing through the joists, you will have a very expensive repair job.

These simple preventative measures will reduce the likelihood of your home having a major problem, but remember if you think you do need professional help, Cleankill can survey your home and help you make it rodent safe.