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How to Keep Mice Out of Your Home This Winter

The weather outside is getting colder and as it does, it drives people into the warmth of their home. It’s not only people that look to head inside at this time of year, however. Mice are also looking to escape the cold and find a warm place to wait out the winter months. Your home is the perfect place for them to do it. No one wants to open their doors to mice though. Luckily, there are ways you can protect your home and make sure mice stay outdoors where they belong.

Block Off Points of Entry

Of course, the best thing you can do to keep mice out of your home is to not let them enter in the first place. Mice can fit through any space that’s the width of a pen, so it really doesn’t take much. Inspect the outside of your home and seal off any cracks in the foundation or in the walls with wire mesh. If you find gaps around the areas where pipes enter your home, fill them with caulk and place mesh around them.

Keep All Areas Free of Food

Mice don’t only like warm spaces, they prefer warm spaces that have a plentiful food supply. Cutting off this food supply is a good way to deter mice from entering your home. Don’t leave food lying around and always keep counters, appliances, and fridges clear of crumbs and loose food at all times. Always keep food in containers that close tightly and clean up food that falls on the floor promptly. Also remember to keep pet food sealed, as well. This is something that many people overlook, but it’s just as attractive to mice as food meant for people. 

Store Firewood Off the Ground

Firewood and the winter season seem to go hand in hand. There is after all, nothing better than curling up by the fire in the colder months. However, mice love wood chips and lumber because it provides them with great hiding spots and a structure to support their bedding. Firewood should never be stored right up against the walls of your home, and it should always be elevated at least 18 inches from the ground.

Use a Brush Strip on All Doors

The gap between a door and the floor can be significant sometimes, particularly in older homes. There are brush strips, sometimes also called sweep strips, that have adhesive backs and can simply be placed on the bottom of the door. This blocks those gaps so mice can’t get inside. You’ll also get the additional bonus of lower utility bills, as these strips will also help keep more heat inside your home.

Clear the Clutter

Clutter also provides a place for mice to hide, so clearing it is a great way to get mice out of your home. Clutter often collects in areas of the home that aren’t frequently used, such as in the attic and basement. When this is the case and mice make these places their home, they can quickly multiply and soon, there is an infestation throughout the entire house. Don’t leave laundry on the floors, store boxes off the ground, and tidy up stacks of newspapers and other junk. Mice also love cardboard boxes that are stacked right next to each other, so use plastic containers when possible.

Maintain Landscaping

Remember that mice and other pests come from outside. Mice love climbing and will run quickly up trees, onto your roof, and into your siding or any other warm spot they can find. To prevent them from doing so, make sure that any branches or overhang from trees is trimmed so mice cannot jump from the branch onto your home. Before it gets too cold, it’s also important to trim the grass and remove excess vegetation. These are great places for mice to hide and removing them will make the area less attractive to rodents. 

Did Mice Get Into Your Home? Call Our Missouri Pest Control Service!

If you’ve seen mice in your home, there’s a good chance you are already dealing with an infestation and must take action quickly. At Amco Ranger, we are the St. Charles pest control service that knows how to get mice out of your home and can help you keep them out for a long time to come. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 to schedule an inspection and we’ll come out to your home and tell you how we can help.

Differences Between Mice & Rats

Rodents can cause serious damage in your home. They chew on literally everything including electrical wires, ductwork, HVAC units, walls, and foundations. They eat your food and contaminate the area with droppings. They also carry a variety of deadly illnesses such as plague, salmonellosis, trichinosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and Lyme disease, which can be lethal for you, your family, and your pets.

So if mice and rats do the same types of damage, why does it matter which one has invaded your home? The answer lies in the methods of extermination – a mouse trap is very different from a rat one.

 

What is the difference between mice and rats?

When it comes to visual characteristics, rats are distinguishably bigger than mice. Generally, a mouse weighs about two ounces, while a rat is about 10 ounces. Besides looking different, mice and rats also have distinct behaviors and habits. Gaining knowledge about these details can help aid your control efforts. Here are the basic difference between mice and rats:

 

Behavior

Rats are a bit shy and cautious about new things. If you decide to place traps, first set some that won’t hurt the animal. This way the rat will get used to it, and next time you lay down a functioning one, it won’t be afraid to go near it. Mice, on the other hand, are a bit more curious. They like to play detective. To catch one, you just need to place a trap anywhere you think they might be present.

When you place traps, bear in mind that they have a home range, which is the limited area these rodents inhabit. It is no larger than necessary to acquire food, shelter, and water. If the conditions are good, the range is no bigger than 10 feet. If there is not proper access to the described necessities, the range can expand up to 150 feet. Rats have a wider range than mice.

 

Diet

Rats will eat anything. They are muricide, meaning that they have a predator-like behavior and will hunt on smaller rodents if there are any around. A rather disturbing fact is that they can go on a cannibal diet. Yes, rats consume other rats!

Mice are a bit pickier. If you find one in your box of Oaty-Os, don’t be surprised – they have a soft spot for cereal and plant-based foods.

 

Habitation

Mice like to build nests in hidden places near a food source. Rats prefer to dig under buildings, along fences, and under plants and debris.

 

Breeding

Both species like to make babies and they make a lot of them. In one year, a female mouse can give birth up to 10 times and each litter can consist of five or six babies – that means about 60 mice a year. Rats can parent 70+ youngsters in a year. Now imagine all those babies making their own family. It’s easy to see how quickly infestations can happen.

 

Movement

Another way to figure out if you have a rat or mice infestation is to listen for specific noises. Any type of scratching, squeaking, hissing, and chattering sounds mean that you are definitely dealing with one of the two. While rats tend to move through sewers, mice can jump, swim, and climb. They can even climb up rough, vertical surfaces and run really fast.

When moving through your home, rodents leave dark, greasy marks from their bodies. You can tell if it is a mouse or rat even by inspecting those. Rub marks left by rats are most commonly seen beneath beams or rafters. Mice don’t usually leave distinctive spots, except if the infestation is big.

 

Droppings

One of the best ways to figure out which rodent is in your home is by inspecting the droppings. Before you look for droppings, put on some gloves. Rodent feces can carry harmful bacteria, diseases, and viruses. Typically, you can find the droppings where the animals eat. Check your kitchen and pay particular attention to cabinets where cereal is stored. Another place to look is near their nests. Rodents tend to make houses in old furniture and insulation.

Mice produce more droppings (around 70 to 150 per day), but are smaller in size (3-6 mm). Rats leave fewer poops behind, but they are much bigger (2 cm). You can find mice excrement scattered around their housing, while rats tend to leave their poop in a small bunch.

 

We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of mice or rats in your home.

Check out our commercial program against rodents.