Whether you live in the country, city, or the suburbs in between, mice, rats, and other rodents or vermin are always a concern. Whether they took up residence under your shed, in your garage, or made it all the way into the house, they are more than just an annoyance. They carry disease and leave behind a mess (including their waste) which can cause all sorts of issues.
Obviously, the best thing is to try to avoid attracting them in the first place. To do this, you want to focus on making the two things they are looking for, food and shelter, difficult to find.
Here are some things to think about for hiding food from pesky animals:
- Cover you trash, especially trash in your garage or sitting on the sides of your house. All of your trash bins should have lids and be checked for holes.
- Protect your pet food. We often times don’t take a ton of care with our pet’s food because, let’s face it, Fido doesn’t care if his meal is a little stale. However, neither do the mice. Make sure you have airtight bins for your pet food, so the scent doesn’t attract mice.
- Pick up fallen fruit from the ground. If you are lucky to have a fruit tree in your backyard, make sure you are picking up rotten fruit so it doesn’t attract mice, as well as many other pests.
- Clean up your garage. Many people don’t think about the fact that lawn seed, tulip bulbs, and bone meal are in fact food sources for mice. Store them in airtight containers and also remove firewood from your garage because it is a common nesting place for mice.
Jan learned this last point the hard way when she found mice had chewed into a Costco sized bag of grass seed in her garage last fall. They had used it to make a huge nest behind some boxes and out of site. They thought they were living in the lap of luxury until the fertilizer-laced grass seed kicked in. They called a pest control specialist who worked to rid the garage of the surviving mice but left the clean-up to Jan & James.
The pest control specialist did a quick check around the outside and inside of their home and assured them the problem was contained to the exterior, thank heavens. Here are a few of the things to look for when completing your own inspection:
- Take a look around your house, inside and out. This should be done every year prior to winter whether you are worried about a mouse problem or not. Check your windows, windowsills, foundation, and door frames for any cracks or other damage.
- Keep pests from climbing up your siding by installing a strip of flashing all around your roof to prevent mice and rats from entering your attic or upper floors.
- Check around your pipes and vents for gaps. If there are gaps you can use a sheet-metal collar or galvanized woven har
- dware cloth to cover them. (Do you remember Lori’s fiasco with a chipmunk in the dryer vent last year? Don’t forget to check that it is covered!)
- Pick up the outside of your home. Trim your shrubs and bushes away from your home and store your firewood at least one foot off the ground to avoid rodents nesting in them.
Because this question comes up occasionally, we do want to mention that the home policy specifically excludes coverage caused by most pests. The wording for each company varies slightly but usually the list includes insects, birds, vermin, and rodents. Some have a larger list specifying skunks, raccoons, and even your own pets (domestic animals). This exclusion applies to the physical damage they cause by chewing, scratching, etc. and the clean up issues from their discharge or waste.
If you are concerned about a specific issue, we are always happy to talk it through with you and review the policy language. Please feel free to give our office a call at 303-232-3100 to discuss.