Snow and cold temperatures leave rodents — like rats, mice, and squirrels — looking for food and shelter. These rodents can carry diseases and bacteria, and they create havoc in and around your home.
IKO Community Management has tips to prevent rodents from invading your home during the winter.
Seal. A mouse can squeeze through a space as small as a dime. Using steel wool, spray foam, and caulk are great ways to block small holes in your home. For larger holes, use sheet or lath metal, hardware cloth, or concrete.
Seal up any cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, especially where utilities and pipes enter. Screen vents and openings, such as the chimney, and ensure your home's siding is secure. Double-check that no insulation is visible and no holes are in the windows and screens.
Dispose of garbage. When on the sidewalk, garbage can lids should be on tight. Rodents are scavengers and look for any food source. If the garbage cans are secure, rodents are more likely to move onto an easier source of food.
If possible, keep the garbage cans in a storage room or the garage until trash day. This adds another barrier to discourage rodents. If your homeowners association will allow it, invest in metal garbage cans. The material is a bigger deterrent for mice and rats.
Clean gutters. If leaves build up in the gutters, the rain can keep them wet. This helps squirrels eat through the soft wood and destroy your home. It's also smart to repair moisture problems. Leaking pipes and clogged drains, as well as rotted fascia, soffits, and roof shingles are invitations for rodents — and even some insects.
To keep insects away, replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
Don't feed wild animals, as it attracts them to your home. Bring your pets' dishes in at night. Pet food should be in metal containers with tight lids and shouldn't be in an outdoor food bowl for more than an hour.
Trim trees and shrubs. Keep your front yard clear of leaves, twigs, and debris. Rodents use natural debris to build winter homes near your home. If you have firewood, store it at least 20 feet from your home and about 5 inches off the ground.
Use snap traps or glue boards to catch rodents and insects. If they get inside your home, rodents can cause major problems. They can tear insulation, chew electrical wires, contaminate food, and leave unpleasant odors.
Check indoor pantries and cabinets for small holes. Keep food in sealed plastic bags. For fruit and vegetables, keep them in sealed bowls on your counter. Most rodents don't like open spaces and tend to search for food in non-traffic areas. General housekeeping, like a crumb-free home, discourages rodents, bugs, and ants from using your kitchen as a buffet.
Keep the basement, attic, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Storage of blankets, towels, or rugs should be in containers or sealed bags.
Spend extra time on general housekeeping and outdoor maintenance to prevent pesky rodents from destroying your home.
If a rodent infestation is severe or you can't handle it on your own, call a professional. A community management company will also take precautionary measures against rodents.
To learn more about hiring a community management company for your neighborhood, download our Guide to Hiring a Community Management Company. Click on the button below to get started: