Who needs rodent control? Possibly you!

When I was young, one of my biggest, distressing memories is walking down the hallway to my bedroom just before bed, only to spot a little mouse at my feet. Of course, I screamed and did a dance that resembled walking on hot coals during which the mouse freaked out and bolted right into my bedroom. As a result, I didn’t sleep in my own bed for a few weeks after this experience.

Seeing a mouse in your house can be harrowing on its own, but there are health and safety risks to hosting rodents. Mice are naturally drawn to the warmth of your home, so with the cold season upon us, let’s talk about the dangers of rodents in the house and what you can do to prevent it.

How do mice get inside and what problems can they cause?

Mice can fit through the smallest of openings in your home; mice can enter the house through improperly sealed piping or ventilation shafts, cracks in sidewalls or openings in windows. Mice can also find their way into the house through cracks in your foundation or corner posts. Cracks in the foundation allow a direct entry point into the property and corner posts have a hallow opening that allows mice to climb up and into.

Especially problematic can be attached garages and chimneys. You’ll often find broken sheetrock around attached garages that allow easy access for rodents and insects to enter the home. If there existed a rodent Olympics, mice might take the gold for their climbing and swimming. Mice can easily climb up and into the chimney and right down into your house.

There are solutions to all of these issues, including caulking open entry points, repairing damaged sheet wall and cracks and installing slippery sheet metal near the flashing of your chimney to prevent mice beginning their climb. For involved jobs such as these, we recommend you contact a professional who can apply these fixes without causing additional damage. For pest control, pest management, or mouse control, Summit has a great track record for getting rid of mice for good!

But mice are already inside. What harm can they do?

If mice are already inside your property, you have to keep in mind that they reproduce quickly and are incredibly adaptable. If you see a mouse, chances are there’s really a dozen more hiding in the walls.

If you’ve ever seen a cartoon mouse then you’ve certainly noticed the exaggerated front teeth. Mice (and rats) have what’s referred to as monophyodont teeth. Unlike other animals — like cats or dogs that lose their baby teeth and are eventually replaced by adult teeth — the incisor teeth on mice are never replaced. They instead will continue to grow throughout the rodent’s entire life. This forces the rodent to constantly chew in an effort to file down their teeth, or risk dying to overgrown teeth.

Mice have been known to chew their way through the wood, plastics, vinyl, some metals and even concrete! Mice can even chew through steel wool, which is often used to keep rodents out. The steel wool is rough on a mouse’s nose, so often these smart critters will just pull them out with their feet.

Once mice get into the house, they’ll quickly build a nest and get comfortable. Because of their ever-growing teeth, you’ll often discover mice through chewed wires and drywall. Mice will also chew through baseboards to make a quick entrance and get away holes throughout the house.

Mice don’t only pose a risk to the home through damage of property, but they can also be the concern for many health hazards. These include fleas, ticks, and other diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, mice can carry Hantavirus. This is an infection that’s transmitted to humans when we breathe in air and dust that’s come in contact with the mice droppings and urine. The more mice you have, the greater the chance of contracting this illness.

Many homes have burned down because mice have chewed through live wires and many people have gotten sick because of diseased rodents. If you suspect rodents, its best to be on the safe side and take steps sooner rather than later.

Is there any way to keep mice out?

By now, you might be thinking that mice are impossible to keep away. It’s true that they’re incredibly persistent. However, there are a few methods we can recommend that might help if you discover you have an infestation.

  • Thank the crazy cat lady next door.

It’s no secret that a cat is a mice’s natural predator. We all know how rage-inducing it is to step outside only to find paw prints all over your freshly washed car, but letting the cats spend some time on your property will naturally lower the rodent population around the house. Both indoor and outdoor cats can work wonders for suppressing an infestation. Next time you see Gladys the crazy cat lady, give her and her 12 kitties a smile and a wave.

  • Keep things minty fresh

And we’re not just talking about cleaning up the kitchen (although that’s important). Rats and mice abhor the smell of mint, if for no other reason than its potency. Mint and peppermint both give off a very strong odor. Because rodents like rats and mice have an incredibly acute sense of smell, mint naturally repels these would-be intruders. Consider growing mint around windows or in flower beds around areas of the house that may be subject to infiltration attempts.

  • Keep certain things away from the house.

Mice love to bunch up in stacks of firewood. It’s incredibly easy for mice to climb on, live in and keep warm under stacked wood. Keeping firewood stacked near the house may be convenient for you, but it can be just as convenient for inviting rodents into the house. Keep firewood stacked at least 20 feet away from the house. Garbage cans full of trash is like a mouse all-you-can-eat-buffet. Make sure that you’re regularly removing garbage from the property and that you’re keeping the trash containers as far away from the house as possible.

  • Cleanliness is next to miceless-ness

When it comes to rodent control, to keep mice from setting up shop in your home, nothing beats a good old-fashioned cleaning! Mopping and cleaning old spills and grime from your floors, counters, and sinks can make a world of difference. It can be easy to forget to vacuum the carpets or sweep behind the couches, but remember that mice will make their nests out of the hair and dust around the house. Make sure all of the leftovers are air-tight and put away or refrigerated. Mice can sometimes be attracted to dog feces, which contain food that mice can use. If you have pets that potty in the backyard, be sure that they’re going far away from the house or be sure that you’re cleaning up their droppings. Also, make sure the pet food is not left out.

As with anything, all of these recommendations are circumstantial and depending on your situation, your results may vary. A mouse infestation should not be taken lightly; the longer that you allow rodents to infest your property, the higher the chance that they’ll cause harm or damage.

If you need mice control, reach out to Summit Environmental Solutions, (SES) at 703-520-5868 to discuss how we can quickly and safely remove rodents and help you prevent future infestations. SES is an industry leader in wildlife management and has many control methods we use for effective mouse control.

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