Winter is coming and with it uninvited guests. When the outside world becomes too cold and windy for rats and mice, they seek refuge in the insulated, warm homes all over the West Midlands. Birmingham with its suburbs is the prime target for this migration, with a recent report showing it to be the “Rat capital of the UK” with nearly 15,000 rat-removal callouts in one year. The West Midlands as a whole are hardly faring better.
This is a problem
As we’ve touched upon on our Rat Removal and Mice Removal pages, these pests carry with them the risk of diseases, property damage and can even pose a risk to your pets. We will always be more than happy to respond to any pest problem you may encounter, but there are a few things you can do yourself to help prevent the infestation from occurring in the first place.
What can you do?
Working from the inside-out, here are the key actions you can take to defend your home from rats and mice when the temperature drops.
Check for cracks and any other openings in the walls and floors
Cracks and holes can sometimes be hidden behind furniture and kitchen appliances, but it pays to occasionally inspect these areas for any potential access points that the rats and mice could use to enter your home. Pay special attention to the kitchen, as it is a prime target for these pests. Remember that a mouse will see a hole as small as ¼“ as a potential entry point that can be expended by chewing and clawing through it.
Inspect your doors and windows
As with walls and floor, ensure that your doors and windows don’t have any openings where they meet the walls, be it holes or bends in the doors or doorframes, gaps in window frames or any other opening where the pests could enter.
Seal openings for cables and pipes
Where there are cables and pipes running to the outside, make sure that there is no gap between them and the holes that were made to accommodate them. Any holes made that are larger than the cables and pipes inside them can become an entry point for pests. As with cracks and other holes, sealing them offers the first line of defence against mice and rats.
Store the food you need and discard any old food
Leaving open or stale food in your cupboards and on the counters is a perfect invitation for rats and mice, if they do enter your home. Try to keep all food in resealable bags or containers that can be securely closed, as any open food sources, or leftovers left unprotected, will attract pests. Be especially careful with food that is past its prime, or is developing mould. It will attract other pests as well, so make sure you dispose of it in time.
Keep your garbage in check
Whether its items you can recycle, regular garbage or biological waste, make sure you regularly empty the bins and keep them clean to avoid mould growing inside. The same goes for the bins outside your home, which are usually the first targets for hungry pests.
Maintain the cleanliness of your home
A clean home is a good way to avoid attracting rats and mice. They might still choose to seek refuge from the weather, but keeping them deprived of food will limit their spread once inside. As both pests can have litters multiple times a year under the right conditions, keeping their numbers low is vital to preventing excessive damage to your home.
Check for cracks and openings on the outside of your home
Now that the interior of your home is as protected as can be, it’s time to move outside. Again, check the walls for cracks and do a visual inspection of your roof, if possible, to determine if there are any access points that rats and mice could use to enter your home. Seal any openings if necessary.
Keep your garden secure
Overgrown plants and bushes are an ideal hiding place for pests, and making sure they’re trimmed will make rats and mice look for safer locations to live and nest. If you have a completely closed garden, keeping the fence in good condition will present a good barrier from pests. Again, look for any possible entry locations.
On cats, repellents and traps
If you’re reading this with a purring ball of fur on your lap, congratulations! Your rat and mice problem is likely under control. But even if you don’t have a cat, making friends with the neighbourhood cat is always a good idea – they are nature’s pest exterminators that will regularly inspect your garden for you. Alternatively, if you feel that you want to offer some additional protection from rats and mice, there are a number of natural and store-bought items you can use to repel pests. Placing mint or bay leaves on your windowsills and areas around your home where mice and rats would hide will deter them, while traps can be used to control an infestation if the pests are already in your home. Mothballs are a deterrent as well, just remember they are toxic to pets and children, so place them somewhere out of reach.
If they are already in your home
The advice above works for preventing pests from entering your home in the first place, but if you’re already dealing with a rat or mice infestation, and the cat has made friends with them, it’s best to leave the work of evacuating them to local professionals. Give us a call and a qualified pest control technician will inspect your home for pests, make sure they’re gone, and give you advice on the spot on how to stop it happening in the future!