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Keep Rodents Out of Your Home This Winter

Reading time: 7 minutes

When outdoor temperatures plummet, warm-blooded creatures like mice and rats start looking for food and shelter indoors. Your basement, attic, and even inside your walls are the perfect place for them to hunker down for the winter.

To avoid sharing your home with these vermin over the coming months, you’ll want to take steps to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. That’s why you need to understand how to keep rodents out of your home in the winter. Below, you’ll explore practical solutions you can implement yourself and how professional pest control specialists are a great line of defence outside your home.

Create a Barrier Around Your Home and Yard

One of the most effective ways to prevent rodents and other winter pests from finding their way inside your home when it’s cold is to address the problem at the source and focus on keeping them away from areas outside your home. Here are some easy things you can do to get started:

1. Store firewood off the ground

Firewood is a favourite place for rodents to hide in the winter. It’s warm and dry, with pockets where they can nest and hide food. Keep firewood elevated at least 12” above the ground to discourage rodents from crawling onto the pile. Stack it neatly to eliminate crevices between the logs, and cover the wood with a tarp or some other kind of shelter to keep it dry since mice and rats are more attracted to damp wood.

2. Eliminate outdoor hiding spots

Rodents are prey animals, meaning they are eaten or killed by other, usually larger animals. This makes them prone to hiding in places where cats, dogs, and other predators can’t find or get to them. Hiding in places that are small, dark, and out of the way allows rats and mice to stay safe from harsh weather and other animals.

Remove things that rodents can easily hide in, like:

  • Old tires
  • Stacks of building materials
  • Garden tools leaned up against a wall
  • Children’s toys
  • Flower pots and garden planters
  • Piles of soil or mulch left over from gardening
  • Outdoor furniture

3. Seal Cracks Rodents May Use to Get Inside

When it’s cold outside, heat escapes from the inside of your house and can attract rodents to small openings or holes. These cracks are often found in the foundation, walls, windows, and doors. The Government of British Columbia recommends sealing up any openings around the outside of your home that are larger than 6 millimetres in width, height, or diameter to prevent both tiny mice and larger rats from being able to get in.

Should you choose a pest control company, a rodent control professional is likely to use special equipment to detect the heat signature from these openings and seal them properly to eliminate the chances of rodents from entering.

4. Maintain Your Landscape and Ensure It’s Winter Ready

Tall grass and overgrown shrubs provide the perfect hideout for rodents through the late fall and winter. Thick vegetation does an excellent job of sheltering rats and mice from rain, snow, and wind. Discourage rodents from making a home on your property by practicing good landscaping maintenance, such as:

  • Cutting your grass short at the end of the mowing season
  • Raking up fallen leaves and taking them out of your yard
  • Keep any fallen nuts or fruit off the ground
  • Trim back overgrown vegetation and shrubbery
  • Cut back low-hanging tree branches near your roof

It’s essential to consider safety when you’re working on lawn maintenance, so if a project looks like it’ll take more time and equipment than you have, you can turn to the lawn and tree specialists at our sister company, Green Drop.

Stop Rodents at Entry Points

You can also set up a perimeter of traps and bait stations around your house to catch rodents before they make it to the interior of your home. This provides another layer of protection between the natural habitat of rodents and your bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen.

If you’re looking for ways you can act as a shield against rodents in your home, consider the following:

Common Types of Traps to Use

Both snap traps and live-catch traps are effective at catching rodents as they attempt to enter your home. Put them along exterior walls and corners where rodents are most likely to travel. You can also place the bait so they can’t escape with it to increase your trap rate.

The Buzz Boss team recommends non-lethal traps to avoid causing any creatures unnecessary pain or suffering. However, you’ll want to check any trap every few days to remove mice, rats, or other rodents. This allows you to reset your live traps and keep odours or potential bacteria and germs from spreading around.

Use Rodent Repelling Oils or Scents

Several scents are excellent at repelling rodents outside your home without causing lethal damage. Whether natural oils or specifically targeted liquid repellants, there is a wealth of options.

A rodent-repelling liquid can be a great choice if you have a basement, shed, or attic. Simply soak a cloth or rag in the liquid and place it in corners or along areas where you may find rodent pests. Natural oils like spearmint, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil are excellent at repelling pests when rubbed on wooden beams or other areas where rodents travel.

Make the Outside of Your Home Less Appealing to Rodents

In the unfortunate case that rodents get past the first barriers you put in place, making the outside of your home as unwelcoming and unappealing as possible is a good idea. You want it difficult for them to obtain food and shelter around your property and force them to look elsewhere to meet their survival needs. Do your best to:

Declutter and Remove Trash Outside the Home

Rodents are highly attracted to garbage, and any trash bins, compost piles, and garbage cans that you have outside are likely magnets for rats and mice. Get rid of old boxes, broken appliances, and anything else you’ve collected and need to throw away. You should also ensure that your trash cans are sealed and made of a thick, hard material that rodents can’t chew through.

Install Motion-Activated Lighting

Rodents prefer to hide and move around in the dark, where they are least likely to be detected or intercepted. Motion-activated lighting is triggered by movement, so it comes on when rodents scurry across your yard to find a place to hide. This discourages them from going any further towards your home and decreases the chances that they will return looking for shelter on your property.

Eliminate Bird Feeders

If you have bird feeders, consider taking them down for the winter. Watching birds flutter outside your windows as they look for food can be magical, but birdseed is also popular among rodents.

Bird feeders in your yard can attract mice and rats, making it easy for them to find food and store it away during the cold season. And if you have good hiding spots, you’ve created a rodent haven.

Get the Help of a Pest Control Professional

Rats and mice can be tricky to deal with, especially in the winter when they’re more attracted to your home for cold-weather survival. Sometimes, DIY pest control methods don’t work to keep rodents at bay, and you need the help of a specialist who can use professional treatments to eliminate rats and mice from your home and keep them from coming back.

Year-round Rodent Control with the Professionals at Buzz Boss

Dropping temperatures may bring relief from summer pests, but there are all new concerns you need to be aware of and take action against in the winter. At Buzz Boss, we make that easy. Our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies are designed to control mice and rats at every turn, leaving you to enjoy your home without worrying about efficacy or environmental impact.

Contact us today to learn more about protecting your property from rodents this winter!

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