A rodent infestation is more than just a nuisance, it can also present a serious health hazard. Rodents can transmit several diseases including leptospirosis, tularemia, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Take proactive measures to protect your home from rodents and keep your family safe.
Eliminate Entry Points
Image via Flickr by Sam Howzit
Rodents will use any small opening they can find to gain entry to your home. Install screens on chimneys, vents, and windows. Place sweeps along the bottom of doors. Carefully inspect your home for any holes or cracks, particularly those where pipes or cables enter the house. Seal these with caulk. Head to the roof and inspect it carefully for loose shingles or other entry points. Cap off the chimney whenever the fireplace is not in use.
If your home is made of brick or stone, the uneven surface will be easy for rodents to climb. Vertical pipes near the house are typically climbable as well. Paint pipes and exterior surfaces with a 12-inch band of high gloss paint at least three feet from the ground to prevent climbers.
Store Food Safely
Unprotected food can act as a lure for rodents. Store all food in airtight containers so rodents can’t nibble through the cardboard box to access the feast within. Never leave food sitting out on the counter or in the sink. Empty garbage cans regularly.
Watch for Standing Moisture
Any type of standing water will provide rodents with a helpful water source in your home. This moisture is a health hazard of its own, as it can breed mold and mildew. Watch for leaky pipes or clogged drains. Eliminate all potential sources of water for household pests.
Clean Up Your Landscaping
Trim shrubbery and tall grass away from the house so you can see the area around the foundation. This will help keep rodents away and ensure that you always have a good view of any potential problem areas. Trim tree branches back so they don’t hang over or near your home and remove any vines from the exterior of the house. These offer rodents a convenient ladder to get to your attic or upper stories. Keep wood piles at least 20 feet from the house, as rodents may use these as a safe harbor.
Contact a Professional
If you suspect a rodent infestation despite your efforts, it’s best to contact a professional. A knowledgeable exterminator can help you capture the rodents currently in residence and identify potential entry points, so you can prevent additional problems in the future. If you find rodent droppings or nesting material in your home, take care when cleaning these messes. Wear gloves and a face mask and practice wet cleaning methods so you don’t stir up airborne viruses.
Always watch for signs of a potential rodent infestation so you can act quickly to eliminate any problems that occur. Inspect your home seasonally for new holes, cracks, or other potential entry points and seal these promptly. This is particularly important in cool weather when you’ll find rodents are especially anxious to get inside.