by Dan Krell © 2010
If you’ve owned a home, chances are you’ve encountered a critter or two that did not belong inside. Every Season seems to have its pests: during spring you might be battling bugs that are associated with gardens; ants seem to rule during summer; spiders and other outdoor bugs try to migrate indoors as the temperature starts to change in the fall; and of course as fall turns to winter, rodents- mostly mice – seek shelter and food within our homes.
Although mice live outdoors, they will try to enter our homes when the temperature begins to change; because like you and me, mice are not typically comfortable in very cold weather. Of course, mice can enter your home anytime; however, as the weather drops, their attempts to go inside may increase. Mice can easily find their way into your home through the smallest cracks and crevices, and can quickly scoot into an open door or window. Because of their skeletal-muscular structure, mice are known for squeezing through cracks the size of a pencil; it’s important to be wary because even the smallest crevice could be an entry point for a mouse. Common entry points may include basement windows, dryer vents, pipes, cracks in foundations and garage doors.
Although mouse proofing can be done any time of year, why not before winter begins? You can begin your “mouse proofing” by inspecting the exterior of your home: check all windows and doors to ensure there is a good seal when closed (especially in the basement) and there are no gaps around the frames; any holes in the foundation or around conduits should be professionally sealed; remove any debris from the home foundation (including firewood, building materials, and trash bags) that may allow mice (and other rodents) to nest. Mice are very good climbers and have been known to enter a home through entry points several feet off of the ground.
Just because you do not see a mouse inside your home, it may not mean they have not infiltrated your asylum. Signs that mice may be in your home may include droppings (in and around the pantry) as well as gnawed boxes and food. Unfortunately, some homeowners rebuff these signs as something other than a mouse. If you suspect there is a mouse in your house, some experts recommend “testing” for rodents; the test may include placing some peanut butter in suspected areas overnight to see if it is eaten.
Once inside your home, mice will make themselves at home. They will nest and breed in some of the most unsuspecting places; between floorboards, in walls, inside storage boxes, and believe it or not – inside couches!
Traps and baits are most often used to reduce mouse activity from a home. The most common traps are snap and glue traps. Because baits are toxic and can dangerous to humans and pets, a licensed professional pest control company should be hired to apply bait to ensure it is applied safely. Many experts recommend taking precautions (such as using a breathing apparatus and/or sanitizers) because mice can carry disease (including the Hantavirus) as well as other pests (e.g., ticks).
To reclaim your home from mice, hire a licensed professional pest control company to remove them and advise you on the cleanup of droppings and carcasses.
Comments are welcome. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of November 29, 2010. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2010 Dan Krell.