Mice, rats and other animals are like people when temperatures start to drop outside. They want to find warmth too. And, usually that warmth is inside your home. So, if you find yourself dealing with these vermin year after year during the cooler months, it’s time you take some steps that’ll keep them out.

While rat problems in Washington, D.C. and other major cities across the United States are well known, you ay be surprised to learn that many other communities in our area have rat issues. Arlington County, Alexandria and Fairfax are increasingly experiencing issues with rats. This may be due to increased density and development.

The first thing you should do is complete an exterior inspection of your home. The best times to do this is spring and fall. After all, these are the prime rodent seasons due to weather changes.

In order to keep them out, you need to seal off any entry points that allows small animals (like mice) into your home. Bear in mind that a baby mouse as the capacity to fit inside an opening that 1/7 of an inch (or the size of a dime). You want to focus on any opening you see.

  • Is there any light coming through?
  • Do you feel a draft?

By doing this, you’ll find entry points you’ve overlooked previously. Bear in mind that it helps you in three ways:

  • You keep the rodents (riff-raff) out
  • You eliminate the possibility of insects coming in
  • You save money on your electric and gas bill

Where Should Your Attention Be

Your main focus needs to be on the doors (garage doors too), windows, vents and the foundation. These places includes the following:

  • Any place you have pipes, cable, electrical wires or phone wires coming into the home needs to be looked at. If you see openings, use an exterior sealant of some type – caulk, foam, weather-stripping, silicone or poly-fiber mesh
  • Check the doors, and if you notice gaps, you need to use a door sweep or install a door saddle to keep them from getting in that way.
  • On openings that you’re not able to seal – dryer and attic vents – the best thing you can do is install a heavy-duty fine screen over them. This ensures air still flows but won’t allow the vermin in your home.
  • Do you like keeping your windows open? You’re not alone! In order to keep bugs and rodents out, you should make sure the screens fit properly on your window. Also, make sure they have no holes. If you use a window air conditioner, make sure it’s completely sealed around the AC. If you don’t have an air conditioner sleeve (most do though), create a sleeve to install.
  • You also want to ensure there is no debris on your property and make sure the landscape of your home is kept up. It’s best that shrubs or other plants (and debris) are located 24” inches away from your home. This eliminates their potential harboring areas (after all, they like to nest and hide) and keeps them from using your bushes or trees as ladders to climb up to your gutters and attic. You can also clearly see if there is any rodent activity going on.

Still Got A Rodent Problem? What Do You Do Now?

Rodents do not like the extreme cold or hot temperatures, and they will do everything they can to get cool or warm. Your home is their safest bet to ensure this. If you notice your home is being invaded with the vermin (even after you took precautions), you must find out where they are nesting.

After you’ve identified what kind of rodent you’ve got running around, you need to figure out if it’s worth doing the work yourself to get rid of it (them) or hire a professional to do the job for you).

Special Note: If you’ve got rats or any other large animal that have invaded your home, the best thing you can do is hire a professional to take care of the problem. You don’t want to become injured or be attacked, which can happen.

How To Handle Mice That Have Invaded Your Home

Go on the assumption that a mouse has invaded your home – it’s time to make a visit to the hardware store. Here, you want to purchase the traditional spring traps or rodent glue traps. Make sure they are carefully placed in locations where you saw the mouse or have seen other evidence of their visit (droppings or chewing damage).

Make sure that the mouse traps are placed in a safe location, away from pets and small children. Some ideal locations will be:

  • Behind or under large appliances – refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer machine, etc.
  • Cabinets
  • Closets
  • Attic
  • Crawlspace

What To Do After You’ve Gotten The Mouse

The first thing you need to do is carry out an inspection of your home’s exterior. Look for any potential rodent entry, and immediately seal them up on the outside and inside. Remember the goal is not to have any more coming inside. Make sure you leave out the mouse traps, as you may have sealed up a mouse “in” your home. Think of it as a little extra protection from current and future rodent invasions.

It’s already bad enough the vermin are inside your home. However, imagine how you’d feel if the vermin bit somebody and they got sick. After all, rodents carry a host of diseases with them.

If you can’t do a home inspection and sealant yourself, don’t leave things to chance. Call in the pest control experts at My Pest Pros to do the work for you.