Friday, August 24, 2012

Keep Your Home Rodent Proof to Prevent Illness and Disease

Mickey Mouse and his family may be charming and enduring figures for children but when the real things become uninvited guests in your residence, it's time to take serious steps to oust them. Not only are mice annoying when you hear them crawling around inside the walls or chewing their way into your cereal boxes and bags of sugar, they also spread serious illnesses. And the droppings they deposit everywhere they've visited are extremely unsavory souvenirs.

Rodents like mice and their larger cousins the rats, may carry dangerous diseases including plague, typhus, HPS, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and leptospirosis. This is certainly reason enough to keep them from invading your personal living space. There are numerous steps you can take to turn off the 'Welcome' sign and replace it with 'No Vacancy.'

Rodents come in because they are looking for food and a nice warm place to sleep away from the nasty weather outside. They also find a home an attractive place to raise a litter of little ones. The first step you should take to 'mouse proof' your house is on the outside.

Do away with rodent entranceways

Once they believe that there is food available they will search for a way inside. You would most likely be surprised to discover just how small an opening is quite adequate for mouse entry. Here's what you can do outside your home:

(1)-Garbage cans with holes or unsecured lids leak attractive, mouse-inviting food odors
that invites mice to visit you. Be sure to use either a metal or thick plastic can that has
no holes or cracks and a secure cover.

(2)-Don't leave any bowls of dog or cat food outside after dusk, and clean up any piles
of trash, lawn clippings, leaves or weeds close to the house.

(3)-Walk completely around the house and inspect for holes or cracks. No
matter how small they seem, fill them in with cement, wire mesh like
Brillo or some other substance mice can't gnaw their way through.

(4)- Do away with any object mice might select as a home close to yours. This includes
old vehicles, tires or crates.

(5)- Mow down and grass or weeds within a ten or twenty feet of your home and keep it
so mice won't use the area as 'cover' when approaching.

(6)- Set traps in outside areas where you suspect rodents may be in residence. Keep them
empty and baited.

(7)- If you live in a trailer or mobile home, fill in any cracks in the skirting.

(8)- Keep any composting or mulch bins at least 100-150 feet away from your house.

When filling in any possible rodent entranceways into your house, check around doors; windows; rafters, eaves and gables; between the ground and the house's foundation; in crawl spaces, attics and ventilation ducts; under doors and around any holes where electrical, plumbing , gas lines or cable systems come through the building.

Once the mice find a way into the house, they will transit between walls and look for a handy way into the rooms themselves and especially the kitchen or pantry closet and cabinets where foods are stored. Their noses may be tiny, but they are highly sensitive to the smell of anything edible.

Block inside entranceways by checking: Under, behind and inside all kitchen cabinets; closets, especially on floors and in corners where wall boards meet; around any fireplace you may have; doors; pipes under sinks and washing machine hoses and dryer vents; around connections to water heaters and air conditioners; inside your attic and basement; where water pipes and electrical service connections come into your house and around any gaps around pipes outside too. Remember that mice are serious house breakers and can be good second-story men as well. Be certain to fill any cracks or gaps with something mice can't gnaw their way through like putty or caulking materials.

If mice have been seen inside or out, use mousetraps liberally and check them very often. If you live in the western US or where fleas are common, be absolutely sure you where gloves when removing dead rodents from the traps. This keeps fleas from jumping onto you and spreading disease they got from biting rodents.

While this may seem too obvious, get a house cat or two. They really do deter mice both outside and inside your home. Finally, if mice are very plentiful, an exterminator armed with plenty of lethal chemicals may be necessary. However, when pesticides are used, take extra care to keep your pets away from those areas to prevent poisoning or even death.

There is absolutely no reason to live with mice. Take the time and steps necessary to send them packing.

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