Mice love your home for many of the same reasons you do. It’s warm, charming, safe and convenient. It’s a great place to raise a family, and it’s a great place for mice to breed. Your home has everything a mouse needs to survive: food, shelter and water. The National Pest Management Association estimates that rodents invade about 21 million homes in the United States every winter, squeezing through spaces as small as a nickel.
It’s true that rodent issues are more common winter pest problems, but they are not only a problem when it’s cold outside. Mice are found in homes year-round. Your home is also safer and more convenient than living outside, where they face threats from predators and challenge of finding food.
Once inside your home, mice will find quiet corners to nest. These are frequently in the basement or attic, areas of your home that are frequently less visited by you and therefore less likely to be discovered and disturbed. Mice inside a home can be disgusting, but are also a health issue. Mice can spread diseases including salmonella. Furthermore, mice are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year, an estimated 70 times each day. Therefore, prevention and prompt removal in case of a rodent infestation is key.
Missing the early signs of a mouse problem can quickly lead to a rodent infestation. Mice can breed rapidly – populations may exceed 200 within a matter of months – and soon enough you could have a major problem on your hands.
Luckily, knowing what to look for can make it easy to spot entry points. Here’s how to proactively avoid rodent infestations in your home:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
If you spot evidence of a rodent infestation, do not hesitate to handle the problem quickly for health and safety reasons. A professional pest control company can help identify and manage your rodent issue.