As the seasons sifts from warm to summer to cooler autumn and winter, mice start to look for indoor refuge and food supplies. It's very common for homeowners to see signs of mice in the house once the colder weather sets in. However, with some preparation, you can greatly reduce your risk of a mouse invasion this winter.
Here are some simple things you can do to prevent mice from getting into your home in the first place.
1. Keep food contained.
Food is a main draw for mice, and when they find it, they can stay and multiply very quickly. In order to prevent one mouse from turning into many, you should movie bagged and boxed food into hard plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. Do not throw away food scraps into an open trash can. Instead, scrape food into an outdoor compost or put it in a can with tight lid that has no gaps. Clean up food spills as soon as they occur, and try to keep food in the kitchen so that crumbs and popcorn don't fall into or under the couch.
If you have a pet, dispense food at meal times, but cover or put the food away when your pet is not eating. If you keep pet food in the garage, make sure it is sealed in a pail and try to make sure your garage door seals tightly when it is closed.
2. Seal up the cracks.
Mice are contortionists. They can fit through very small holes, even holes you assume they will not make it through. Replace the weather stripping around your door. Inspect basement windows and walls for cracks. Seal the areas around pipes that leave the house. Make sure your sewer lines and other drains are covered so that mice can't enter through sink or shower plumbing. Finally, check all upstairs windows and attic spaces for cracks and seal them with foam.
3. Be religious about screening or shutting the door.
Mild fall afternoons may make you want to open the windows to invite in the breeze. Make sure that your doors remain firmly shut, however, and be vigilant about shutting the door behind you when you leave the house, even if it is just to grab the mail or take out the trash. Mice don't need to find plumbing entrances or ventilation cracks if you leave the door or window wide open without a screen. Screens should be good quality steel, not nylon, and do not use them if they are damaged, torn, or have holes.
4. Remove outdoor homes.
When mice aren't indoors, they still make nests and live outside. Mice infestations are more likely to happen when mice who already live close by discover your home and the warmth and food it can provide. Be sure to:
- Keep stacks of wood and mulch piles away from the walls of your home. Keep them near a shed, stable, or detached garage instead. Mice use these for shelter.
- Cover hay bails with tarps. Also, if you store animal feed, like oats or chicken bran, make sure it is in a sealed container. Many people use an old freezer to deter mice.
- Gather up brush, leaves, and grass clippings. These can help build mouse nest.
- Clear out debris from crawlspaces under porches or decks.
- Clean out outdoor dog houses to make sure mice haven't moved in, especially if the house is not used often.
Discouraging mice from even moving onto your property may be ambitious, but as long as they aren't close to your home, you'll have a better chance of avoiding an infestation. For more information, contact companies like A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc.