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Prevent Rodents from Coming into your Home this Winter

Rodents are on their way to your home in Syracuse, NY, so it’s time to take action now to prevent or get rid of rats or mice. Rat species in the United States, such as Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), house mice (Mus musculus), and the black rat (Rattus rattus) and other types, like roof rats, gnaw holes and cause additional damage to walls or carpeting and chew through electrical wiring, which can cause a fire hazard. They don’t just enter your home and make a mess, droppings, foraging damage in your pantry, or nesting debris. Rodents contaminate food, carry diseases such as hantavirus or salmonella, and are attributed as carriers of the black, bubonic, and septicemic plagues.

If you suspect a rodent control issue in or around your home, act now. Learn the signs, eliminate rodent attractants, and rodent-proof your Syracuse home this winter.

Signs of Rodents in your Home

No one wants to be left out in the cold, and rodents are no exception. But your home doesn’t have to be the place they bed down this winter. Look for these signs to determine if they have found their way inside.

  • Feces. Rat droppings are shaped like a pill, dark and cylindrical, with rounded ends. Mouse droppings are tapered at the ends and are about the size of a grain of rice. Droppings in cupboards or the pantry or behind furniture are a sure and certain sign of a rodent problem.
  • Scratch or Chew Marks. Rats and mice explore and forage for food. While they do so, they may use their claws or teeth on your walls. You may see evidence that they’ve chewed through a sack of grain, flour, or sugar.
  • Piles of Debris. When nesting, rodents gather scraps of paper, wood shavings, or wall insulation for a comfortable place for a litter. If you find these, clean them up with a shop vacuum to avoid contaminating yourself.
  • Noises at Night. Rodent activity is usually highest at night. They squeak or scratch, and you might hear rats tussling over territory or food.
  • Alert Pet Behavior. Dogs and cats are uniquely attuned to the movements, scent, and noises made by rodents. If your pet is agitated or anxious, this may not be a sign of a rodent problem, but take heed to their warnings.

Remove Food Sources

Because of their keen sense of smell, rodents are attracted to your food. Pet food, especially. Follow these steps to avoid and eliminate rodent attractants in your home.

  • Proper Dry Food Storage. All your dry goods, especially smelly foods like peanut butter, spices, sugar, and other foods are a beacon for rodents to risk entry into your home. Seal all your food in a refrigerator or airtight container to keep the smell from wafting to them and tempting them to invade. Never leave unwashed dishes in the sink or food scraps lying around on counters or the floor. Void your food processor in the sink and drains frequently and clean them with consumer drain cleaner products regularly.
  • Proper Pet Food Storage. Dog, cat, and bird foods are excellent sources of nutrition. Don’t leave your pet food bowls out at night, and wash pet food bowls and birdcages regularly.
  • Garbage Containers. Consider purchasing special garbage bags with airtight seals, or purchase indoor garbage containers with a tightly sealed lid. Keep your garbage bags empty, especially at night, and ensure your outdoor garbage container, whether metal or plastic, has a secure lid and is placed at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Clear the Yard. Fallen berries or fruits will attract rodents, so ensure that these are picked up or cleared away. If you have a compost pile, place it at least 20 feet from your home and raise it 1 foot off the ground, especially if you compost food. Consider installing chicken wire or metal screens around the compost pile for additional protection.

Seal Entry Points

Now that your food is sealed up, now seal entry points rodents can access. Rats can fit into gaps or cracks as small around as a quarter, and mice and fit into spaces the size of a nickel or even a dime. Follow these tips to rodent-proof your home.

  • Gaps and cracks. Using steel wool, copper mesh, metal screens, or silicone caulking, look for and seal the cracks and gaps around your foundation and sill plates, doors and ground-level windows, and gaps around electrical, gas, or water pipes. Watch the gaps in aluminum siding, especially those close to the ground by 1 foot or closer. Install and ensure weather stripping and door sweeps are in good repair.
    For larger gaps, like gaps in chimneys or fireplaces, place metal screens over the gap and supplement the screen with steel wool and silicone caulking as needed.
  • Trim Vegetation. Long grass or dense shrubs and bushes near your Syracuse home perimeter are great hiding places. Rodents could nest there and find time to make or discover entry points. Trim grass short at least two feet from your home perimeter, and trim shrubs, hedges, and bushes at least one foot back from home siding.
  • Firewood. Place your firewood at least 20 feet from your home on a platform raised at least one foot off the ground. Place chicken wire, sheet metal, or metal screens around it for extra protection.

Home and Commercial Rodent Control

We do not recommend using rodent bait boxes or live traps, such as glue boards, to deter a rodent problem in your home. A trapped rodent could easily transmit diseases to children or pets, or even a homeowner. No matter how thick your gloves are, and even if you have a user manual, live traps can be tricky if you’re not a professional. Trapping and baiting can be difficult to balance correctly. Snap traps and similar home remedies work perfectly, if you’d like to do it yourself. But not every rodent problem can be solved on your own.

Remember, you don’t have to get rid of a mouse or rat infestation alone. Fox Pest Control technicians will work hard to restore your peace of mind. We aren’t afraid to do what it takes to get the job done and do it right. Fox Pest Control for friendly, effective service. Call today for a free estimate. Pests … it’s what we do!

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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We had a wonderful experience with our technician. Weston was easy to talk to and explained everything well. Josh, who sold us the service, was very kind also. Not pushy at all. And very informative. Thank you. We look forward to working with you in the future.

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December 6th, 2019

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Fox Pest Control proudly provides expert pest control and bed bug control in Syracuse. We have helped over 20,000 homeowners manage and exterminate their pest problems and look forward to putting over 8 years of experience to work for you.

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