As the temperature cools, your warm home is a beacon of comfort for all types of pests. Although spiders can be destructive and small insects annoying, perhaps the worst winter visitor is the rodent.
The animal class Rodentia includes mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, woodchucks, beavers and more. The smallest of these can enter your home through holes as small as a dime. Other likely entry points are:
Any opening low to the ground.
- Gaps in rotted window and door frames.
- Garage doors that do not seal shut.
- Foundational cracks.
- Small openings near dryer vents or AC units that pipe into your home.
While any rodent could potentially move in with you, mice are among the most common. They love to climb the insides your walls to your attic; if you’re trying to determine whether you have a rodent problem, the attic is the perfect place to begin.
If you see nickel-sized holes in your insulation, you have a mouse problem.
- If you see holes chewed into the sides of your attic duct work, you have a mouse problem.
- If you see droppings anywhere in your house, you have a mouse problem.
After you know you have a mouse visitor, the next step is to determine the scale of the infestation. You can form a preliminary estimate by measuring the amount of droppings and counting the points of entry that you find. As you do so, keep in mind two things:
- Mice have fast metabolisms and don’t retain heat, so they’re constantly eating, which means they’re constantly leaving excrement. The amount of excrement is a rough indication of how many mice are present.
- Mice live in a world that is only 30-feet wide. Generally, they stay inside this range and will not venture further out. If you see evidence of mice in two completely different ends of the house, this might be an indication that there are at least two mice.
When dealing with a mouse problem, it’s best to take an offensive and defensive approach. If necessary, use pest control tools to catch the rodents already present, but then seal up your home to avoid problems in the future. Try sealing substances like cement, spray foam, caulk, or silicone. (When caulking, make sure you use steel wool; otherwise, the caulk will eat a larger hole than it fills.)
Keep in mind that rodents are shy and sometimes clever. It can take a professional several weeks to tackle a large infestation. If you feel frustrated, call Epcon Lane for assistance.
Much thanks to PCT magazine, August 2012 addition, for information on rodent control.