How to Pest Proof Your Home for Fall - October 2nd 2009


How to Pest Proof Your Home for Fall


We take great lengths to lock our doors and windows as well as turn on our alarms to keep possible intruders out of our homes. However, what about the smaller intruders? As winter approaches, what are you doing to do to prevent them from making their way into your home when the temperatures outside begin to drop? There's quite likely an abundance of openings around your home that make access for these pests easy to enter. Although your home may not have experienced problems with pests in the past, it is a good idea watch for signs and take preventative measures to pest proof your home. Here's a few ways you can prevent unwanted tenants from living in your home this winter:

1. Seal openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation, siding and soffits, e.g., around outdoor faucets, receptacles, gas meters, clothes dryer vents, telephone/cable/ TV wires and continuous soffit venting. These are common entry points for rats, mice, squirrels and birds. Commonly used item to seal entry points could be steel wool and galvanized quarter inch wire lath.

2. Clear trash and debris from inside and outside the house. Keep a tight-fitting lid on garbage and compost bins need to be rodent proofed, as do recycling bins. Store lumber and wood piles away from the house off the ground. Any grass seed and food including pet food should be stored in sealed containers. Pick up fallen fruit from trees and remove bird feeders. Don't allow shrubs and vines to grow against your foundation. Inspect storage sheds, pools and hot tub areas for signs of rodents.

3. If necessary, consider having exterior perimeter, anchored, tamper-resistant rodent bait stations installed around your home. While sealing and screening is a more permanent way to exclude pests originating from outdoors, having bait stations installed is a great way to control those pesky rats and mice, before they have a chance to enter your home. If you suspect you have a problem inside the home, traps are a better solution for rodent issues. Poisons can have undesirable side effects, such as the accidental poisoning of pets and other animals that eat the bait. Another problem is that you never know where a poisoned rodent will die. If it dies in a wall, you're stuck with its odor for weeks.

4. If you suspect you may have pests in your home, Contact a professional pest control company from Shell Busey's Home Service Referral Network, to provide you with a "Point Of Entry Inspection". Having a pest in your home can be very traumatic. A pest control specialist can come to your home and locate all the possible access points. They will then provide you with expertise on having any unwanted visitors humanely removed (if any) and then having those entry points screened - keeping those critters out for many seasons to come.

Recognizing Rat and Mouse Signs:

Since rodents are usually active at night, you can look for signs of rodents during the day time to trace their activities. Apart from actually seeing rodents here are a few common signs that will indicate their presence:

Rodent Droppings
This is one of the most obvious signs that you have a rodent problem. Droppings may be found in places where food is stored such as in kitchen cabinets and drawers. Given that mice like to move about in places that offer them protection from predators, you may find droppings in cupboards or under the sink, along walls, or on top of wall studs or beams. Additionally, mice will leave droppings near their nests, in storage or cabins loaded with boxes, bags, old furniture, and other objects as they make an ideal home for rodents.

Rodent Nests
Rodents prefer to build their nests out of materials that are soft, fuzzy, or warm. Common rodent nest materials may include shredded paper, bunches of dry grass or small twigs, fabric, and furniture stuffing and batting. Rodents nest in quiet areas near food and water where they can find safety from predators

Food Containers or Food That Appears To Be Nibbled
Usually you will discover droppings near to a favorite rodent food source. Rodents can chew through plastic, so plastic bags and Tupperware -style containers do not protect food items. It would definitely be advisable to carefully inspect all food and food storage items and areas if you suspect rodents have entered your home at all.

Evidence of Gnawing
Rodents will gnaw on almost anything that includes such things as wood, paper board, cloth sacks, and materials even harder than these. Rodents' teeth grow continuously and they must gnaw to keep them short. That may help to explain why table and chair legs or similar surfaces show gnawed spots or tooth marks in rodent-infested places.

Strange Noises at Night
No, you aren't losing your mind, but there may be someone wandering around in your attic at night. As many rodent species are nocturnal, an infestation in an attic may be most obvious from the sounds coming from attic areas at night as mice and rats will run, climb, scratch and gnaw on beams and wiring while using insulation in these areas as an ideal nesting material. Depending on the size of the individual rodent, noises made in these areas can be quite loud and unsettling. Call a professional to provide you with an inspection.

Following these easy steps helps ensure you're not going to have unwanted guests in your home this fall season. In Greater Vancouver contact Care Pest & Wildlife Control 1-800-997-9422 or check out their website www.carepest.com.