Rats and mice are a pest control nightmare that are not only a nuisance but dangerous as well. They are carriers of numerous diseases such as; murine typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, salmonellosis (food poisoning), and ratbite fever. Plague is a disease that can be carried by both roof and Norway rats, but in California it is more commonly associated with ground squirrels, chipmunks, and native wood rats.
To keep your home free and clear of rodent issues, you should ensure that your home is unwelcoming to rodents. There are simple techniques to reduce the proclivity of their access to your environment. Review the following suggestions to avoid unwanted infestations of rodents.
- Eliminate the rodent’s food and water source
- Feed your pet only the amount of food it will eat at a feeding, and store pet food in rodent-proof containers
- Identify harborage areas
- Keep vegetation and tall grass short. Tall grass protects rodents from predators.
- Keep overhanging trees cut back. Overhanging trees provide dark shadowy areas where rodents feel safe and protected
- Piles of debris should be removed. Garbage provides food harborage areas for rodents
- A 2 foot wide barrier of cement or crushed rock should be established around commercial structures
- Climbing hedges such as Algerian or English ivy, star jasmine, and honeysuckle on fences or buildings are very conducive to roof rat infestations and should be thinned or removed if possible
Dumpsters are one of the most common rodent problem areas
- Make sure dumpsters are large enough to prevent spills
- Make sure dumpsters have tight lids
- Store dumpsters 25-50 yards from the exterior of structure if possible
Identify areas that need to be rodent proofed
- Close all holes in exterior and interior walls
- Permit no openings over ¼”
- Install self-closing devices on frequently used doors
- Install vinyl or rubber sweeps under garage doors to eliminate any gaps
- Seal all pipes, drains and vents, they need to be tight
- Chimneys need to be capped and in good condition.
- Remember a rat can fit through a ½ inch opening and a mouse can fit through a ¼ inch opening
- Repair or replace any damaged ventilation screen around the foundation and under eaves
- Be sure that all window and door screens are in good repair
- Coarse steel wool, wire screen, and lightweight sheet metal are excellent materials for plugging gaps and holes
If you follow the above suggestions, you should be able to decrease significantly the likelihood of rodent infestations for your residence. By reducing rodents’ food and water sources, areas to hide and gain entry to your home you safeguard your family from this dangerous pest. The next topic that we will discuss is how to exterminate any rodents that may have already gained access to your home. We will cover the different rodent control options and the situation best suited for each.