7 Tips for Controlling and Preventing Rodents
Hantavirus and leptospirosis are only the beginning. The fact is, wild rodents can carry a variety of severe and potentially deadly diseases that can put your family’s health at risk. They’re also destructive little creatures, with wires being just one of the many things they chew on in an effort to dull their sharp, ever-growing teeth. This means they not only pose a health risk, but can rapidly start destroying your home and its possessions from day one.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to both prevent and control rodents around your property.
#1 Respond Quickly to Any Warning Signs
The most common warning signs that could mean you have rodents on your premises include fecal droppings, chewed objects (like wires), shredded paper, and the smell of urine. If you have already noticed some of the warning signs of a rodent problem, the best thing you can do is respond quickly by thoroughly disinfecting the area, cleaning up any potential food sources, and setting traps so that you can remove the existing pests.
In the meantime, you should also be acting upon all of the prevention techniques listed here to ensure additional pests don’t move in.
#2 Seal Up Holes and Entryways
That crack under your garage door may not seem like a big deal when it comes to preventing rodents, but both mice and rats are well-known for their ability to squeeze into the smallest of spaces. Mice can get through a whole as tiny as 1/4-inch in width. Meanwhile, young and small rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter (less than 1″ in diameter).
So, one of the best prevention techniques is to carefully inspect your home for potential entry points, sealing holes, cracks, and gaps with rodent-proof materials. You should pay special attention to your home’s doors and windows, but also be sure to check any vents that lead to the outside, like your dryer’s exhaust.
#3 Eliminate Hiding Places
The large branches hanging over your roof should be cut back to prevent rodents from climbing up and onto your roof where other access points (like attic vents) can be found. Pruning back shrubs, raking leaves, and keeping your yard tidy will also help eliminate the hiding places where rodents may choose to nest.
Likewise, you should check inside of any outside storage buildings and in your basement, getting things off the floor via shelving and remembering to store everything in tough, air-tight containers, particularly when it comes to blankets and other soft materials rodents may want to nest in.
#4 Take Away Food Sources
If you have fruit trees in your yard, as many Floridans do, make sure you pick up and remove ripened fruits. Leaving fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc, on the ground or in the tree after ripening, can attract rats. There are millions of rodents in Florida because of the year- around agriculture.
Additionally, make sure that you’re storing your own food appropriately. Don’t leave food lying around inside or outside of your house, being certain to wipe up crumbs and food scraps as soon as you see them. Also Make sure you are storing any pet food properly in an air-tight container.
Try to take out the garage at least once a day if you have food scraps in it and keep your garbage stored in a covered, rodent-proof container. The scent of food is one of the main attractants, so use your sink’s garbage disposal when possible to minimize the amount of food scraps you keep in your trash bins.
#5 Rodent-Proof Your Garden
Your garden can provide both a great hiding place and a great food source for rodents. To help deter rodents from getting into your garden, consider planting members of the mint family throughout your yard. You can also spray the scent of a predator, such as fox scent, around the perimeter of your yard and garden. Most garden stores readily sell these products in liquid and powder forms.
Meanwhile, if you have fruit trees, be sure you’re regularly picking up any fruit that drops onto the ground and try to pick ripe fruits as soon as possible. To prevent rodents from climbing trees to get to your fruit, you can wrap a piece of sheet metal around the first 24″ of the tree’s trunk.
#6 Check Your Crawlspaces
Attics, basements, and crawlspaces can provide the perfect environment for rodents to thrive since they are safe from predators and potentially within easy access of a food source (i.e., your house). Aside from sealing off potential entryways, like by putting screening over vents, you should also inspect your crawlspaces to ensure they’re being ventilated properly.
Keeping these spaces of your home dry is one of the key tactics to deterring rodents from nesting in them, so call in a professional if you would like input on what you can be doing to reduce moisture in these areas. Likewise, you should regularly check for and quickly address any leaking pipes or clogged drains, as areas of moisture provide the ideal breeding ground for rodents and other pests.
#7 Have Your Home Professionally Sealed
Having your home professionally sealed to protect against a rodent infestation is the absolute most effective step you can take. Commercial-grade rodent stations can also be installed around the perimeter of your home. These stations deter rodents from entering your house or even nesting around your property, helping to protect your family’s health and prevent destruction, disease, and the other threats that come along with wild rodents.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a professional pest control company can help you keep your home safe from rodents, give us a call at 352-223-3618. We will come and inspect your property for free and offer a fair price for any work that may need to be completed.