One of the most frequent winter pest control complaints is about mice and rats entering homes or businesses. We’re receiving a lot of calls especially this winter due to the cold temperatures and snow due to the polar vortex that’s hit the Washington, D.C. region.

Mice and rats enter homes through small cracks, open doors, garages, openings around pipes or cables entering homes, and vents. They will also squeeze through or take advantage of wood rot in siding and gutters to enter attics. They are looking for food sources as well as warm places to nest. Your home’s walls, attic or basement provide the perfect harborage and access to food.

Mice are often nocturnal, but will come out during the day. If you see one mouse, that is normally an indication of a larger problem and there are probably more than that one.

Here are 10 tips to minimize, deter and eliminate mice and rats around your home:

  • It’s always easier to keep rodents out in the first place than to eliminate a mice infestation. Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and gaps. Seal with a solid caulk or expanding foam. Inserting steel wool in the gap prior to caulking provides a solid deterrent. Cover dryer and other vents with covers that allow airflow but block rodents and birds. Look for and seal gaps around areas such as entry points for wires and pipes.
  • Weather sealing under the garage door will stop most mice problems in homes with attached garages. Garages are the No. 1 entry point for mice. Garage doors are often left open, seed, pest food and other stored foods in the garage and attract mice and rats. Proper weather sealing will help to prevent mice. Use caulk to seal smaller gaps.
  • Do not leave cat food and dog food out – indoors or outdoors. It’s an invitation for mice and rats. Pick up pet food and store in solid containers. Glass and metal containers are preferred because mice cannot chew through. But heavy-duty plastic containers will keep pet food safe. Similarly, store bird food and grass seed in sealed metal containers such as trash cans. Of course, be sure the lid is secured.
  • Keep bird feeders away from the home and do not feed the birds until you eliminate your mouse problem. Mice will prefer the bird food and seed to the bait!
  • If you’re using bait stations, place two in corners in the room or area where mice activity is located. Pre-loaded bait stations are a great option to avoid touching the bait. Place bait stations away from areas where children and pets can get to them and make sure they are secured and tamper-resistant.
  • Because mice often the living spaces of a home through the utility room, other areas of the basement or attic, placing bait stations in unfinished areas such as crawl spaces or against the foundation.
  • Place bait stations under the kitchen sink, behind the refrigerator or under the stove because plumbing and electrical conduits often provide mice with easy access to these areas. Sealing up these holes will also minimize their access.
  • Exterior bait stations must be secured and should only be installed by professional pest control companies. The lightweight bait stations purchased from retailers are only intended for indoor use.
  • Old-fashioned mousetraps and glue boards are an effective way to catch mice, but require monitoring and require periodic removal if successful.
  • If you use baits, i.e. poison, be sure to place them where children or pets cannot get to them, even though most baits are in tamper-resistant containers now.

My Pest Pros can help protect your family from diseases by eliminating mice and rats from homes in Alexandria, VA, Arlington County, VA, Fairfax County, VA, Loudoun County VA, Montgomery County, MD and Washington, D.C. Call us today to lean more!