rat outside a knoxville home

Nights are starting to cool down here in Tennessee. It's time to dig out our warmer clothes, enjoy some family time around a crackling campfire, and prepare our houses for the inevitable attempts of furry creatures trying to get inside. When temperatures start to drop, this is the time to take action, roll up our sleeves, and make some changes to keep overwintering pests out. Here are some ideas to stop mice and rats from making your home their winter home.

Outside Tips

  • Keep your grass neatly trimmed. Rodents need places to hide, and if you let your grass get too long, they will have plenty of cover to safely move in close to your home. Also, remove areas of overgrown weeds and other vegetation.

  • Clear your property of any unnecessary clutter. If you have toys, equipment, leaf piles, sticks, or any other objects laying around, rodents will be glad to use them all as hiding places. Some of these things may also contain still water, which rodents, mosquitoes, and other pests are drawn to.

  • If you have stacks of firewood, consider moving it well away from your home, and keep it up off the ground. This is another favorite hiding place for rodents. Also, store piles of construction materials either inside the garage or away from your home, and up off the ground.

  • Make sure there is no food left outside around your home. Clean up after barbecues, parties, and campfires. And, never leave pet food outside. These sources of food are sure to lure rodents, other wildlife, and insects, in close to your home. If you have bird feeders, consider removing them, or moving them well away from your home.

  • Store all trash in tightly sealed trash cans, preferably inside a garage or shed. If you don't have tight-fitting lids, consider buying new trash cans, or investing in some bungee cords to secure the lids. Open or loose trash cans are a wonderful source of food for animals and insects.

  • Keep tree branches, bushes, and other vegetation trimmed back away from your foundation, exterior walls, and roof line. Rodents love using these as bridges to reach the outside of your home.

  • Carefully inspect the outside of your entire house for any gaps or cracks in your foundation, exterior walls, or roof. A mouse only needs a hole the size of a dime to squeeze in. Pay attention to areas where pipes, wires, air conditioning units, and other items pass through your walls. Seal up any holes you find using a caulking gun or other material.

Inside Tips

  • Check all your window and door screens to make sure they are all present and in good condition. Replace or repair any screens that have holes or tears.

  • Make sure all your entry doors have door sweeps that make good contact all the way across, sealing out critters, and cold air.

  • Give your home a good cleaning, paying special attention to any areas that may have food particles. Vacuum crumbs, clean kitchens and dining rooms, and don't forget to check underneath the kids' beds, and other places food sources may be hiding. Also make sure to get into hard-for-people-to-reach places, such as under the fridge and between the stove and counter. These are not so hard to reach for tiny mice or small rats. If you need to leave your dishes to be washed later, put them in a sink of soapy water instead of leaving them in a stack on the counter.

  • Store all of your food products either inside the refrigerator or freezer, or seal them tightly inside rodent resistant containers with tight fitting lids. Plastic works great. It keeps smells in and rodents out, and helps keep your food fresh longer.

  • Remove any water sources for rodents. Fix leaky faucets, pipes, tubs or toilets, and dry out areas that are moist or humid using a dehumidifier.

If you'd like a simpler way to keep overwintering rodents out of your home this fall, we have a solution. Let the pest professionals here at Russell's Pest Control take care of it. Contact us to set up a consultation.


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