The cold weather is on its way again and even though the mosquitoes are gone for the season there is still another pest who is more than willing to take up where they left off. Whether you are afraid of mice or not, it is never a good idea to disregard the signs of them having moved in while you were not looking. Mice can carry potentially dangerous diseases from salmonella to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Luckily, there are ways that you can help prevent these furry friends from making your home theirs.
First, clear out the clutter. There are a lot of places that a mouse would consider an ideal home. Forgotten boxes and bags in your garage, attics and closets all make great spots for a mouse to build a nest. Keep clothes that you are storing in chests or plastic bins. You can also throw away old newspapers and magazines that are just taking up space anyway.
Store your food in airtight containers. Sweet foods, cereals and breads that tend to come in plastic bags and cardboard boxes are more than a tasty treat for you. To your average mouse it is like hitting the jackpot! Why wouldn't they move in?
Spend a little time on the exterior of your house. Check screens for rips, make sure vents are not broken or loose. Look around at your foundation, cable wire entry points and doors and windows for gaps and cracks. Weather stripping can go a long way to fixing any gaps around the doors or windows and simply caulking the holes around where your cable wire and other utilities come into the home is a great help. If you have a chimney, be sure that it has a vent cover as well. Mice are fantastic climbers and can typically fit in a hole the size of a nickel.
Make sure that your firewood is at least 20 feet away from the house. This is a great hiding spot for any rodent opportunist waiting for you to leave that door open long enough for him to slip through. A mouse is perfectly content to wait it out in your wood box outside your door or in an accommodating bush that is growing to close to the house.
Like all creatures, mice need water. Leaky pipes and clogged drains create moisture spots and a great breeding site for a number of pests, including mice. It is also important to keep attics, basements and crawlspaces ventilated and dry. If you have had a leaking pipe, make sure that no wet insulation is left in the area.
Try to clean up any outdoor food sources. Mice love nuts, berries and fruit that might have dropped off trees as well as stray bird seed that might be scattered around your yard. Keeping this temptation raked up and disposed of should help discourage rodents and other pests.
If you find that you do have a mouse infestation, call a professional to help you deal with the problem.