Have you heard an unexplained scrabbling in your loft, seen nibbled bits of packaging around the house, or found droppings in your larder? The long nights are upon us, Christmas is just around the corner, and we are all turning the heating up a little bit higher. This is the time of year you will find you are sharing your home with rodents.
Avid readers of my blog will remember a couple of years ago I received a call from my partner telling me a mouse was in our Christmas tree. Nobody’s house is immune to these pesky little rodents but there are some things you can do to deter a mouse or rat infestation.
To beat them, you need to understand what the rodent wants. This is very simple: food, warmth and security. Your house is warm, you have food, you have materials to make comfortable nests, and you have dark spaces that offer security. This makes it an ideal target for the opportunist rodent.
You might think the answer to an infestation is very simple – put down poison. NO! The days of throwing nasty chemicals around are long gone. In addition to the safety concerns over pets, children and other wildlife, using poisons when you don’t have the expertise to fully understand the situation you are dealing isn’t good for the environment and can, frankly, be a waste of money
It’s true, sometimes, poison might be the only option because once rats or mice have infested your property, they can be really difficult to remove. If you find you do have a rodent problem, I recommend getting professional help. A professional pest control technician will use a combination of rodenticides and traditional traps and will find and block access points to stop the rodents entering your property.
The problem is, waiting until you have a problem and then reacting to that problem means you are always one-step behind the rodent. Far better to be proactive – prevention is always better than cure. Most of things you need to do to put-off an opportunist rodent are fairly simple and should easily become part of your annual house maintenance programme.
With that in mind, here are my six top tips for keeping rodents out of your house this winter:
- Keep food in sealed containers. Rodents love a free and easy meal. This will often be the thing that first encourages them into your property. If you keep your food sealed and hidden, they won’t be encouraged.
- Look after your rubbish. Good rubbish management is vital. What we think its inedible, a rodent will think is a banquet. Make sure you employ good bin management, with all foodstuffs being placed in bags in durable bins with lids.
- Tidy your garden. Your garden is a cash and carry of food and nesting materials for a rodent. Make sure it is clean and tidy, with grass cuttings being bagged and removed.
- Trim your climbing foliage. Most people forget how good rodents are at climbing, they will use ivy or wisteria to access your house. So, if you can, keep it away from the house, but if this isn’t possibly, make sure it doesn’t reach the roofline – the attic is a great place for a rat or mouse to hide.
- Drain the swamps! Okay, it may be impossible, especially in winter, to remove all sources of water, but it is a good idea to reduce them. A rat requires 60 millilitres of water a day and so if you can reduce its availability in your garden, you are helping to discourage them.
- Make life difficult! A rat can access your property through a hole as small as two-centimetres and mouse only needs a pencil’s width. It therefore makes sense to check all the access points to your premises. Ensure air bricks aren’t broken, check there aren’t gaps around your windows and doors, and fit interceptors to drains, to stop them being used as highways into your house.
The truth is, rodents are tenacious and it is impossible to make a property 100% rodent-proof. They are, however, also opportunists and are looking for an easy life. If you offer them a property with easy access to all the things they want, they will take advantage. If you make life difficult for them, they will go and look at one of your neighbour’s houses.
If you need help with a rodent problem at your business or home, call us on 0800 056 5477.