The sight of a rat or mouse, with its beady red eyes and hairless tail, has long been associated with filth, garbage and the bubonic plague. It is so cliche to hate these beasts that the sight of one in a cartoon sends the women hopping onto chairs and clutching their skirts. Even Sean Connery in his infamous role of father to Indiana Jones, the fearless crusader, was satisfied to miss out on seeing the tomb of Sir Richard, one of the famed knights of the First Crusade, due to the presence of these vermin.
So, it’s no surprise that these scourge are not welcome in most homes. The wrath of miniature gnawing teeth combined with the intense breeding habits of rodents means that your food, clothing and electronics are in danger the moment a mouse or rat makes your home his hideaway. Even worse, these creatures can attract other vermin or larger predators to your door, turning your home into a pest-filled zoo.
The best defense against a furry infestation is a good offense. Rodents are often lured into a home for either food or warmth, which makes your top priority preventing their access to both.
To keep mice from nibbling on your necessities, invest in a few rat-proof containers. Put food that has been opened in glass, metal or plastic containers and make sure that any food debris, litter or trash is swept up, be it inside or outside your home. Pet food should never be left out or kept in the paper bag it comes in, as this material is easily chewed through.
You should also store garbage in secure metal or heavy plastic cans with a lid and ensure that trash is put outside shortly before pickup. Leaving the bag to linger only further entice rats into your home.
You might be able to cut off the food supply, but you still need to limit access to a warm place to sleep or breed. Make sure all holes in your home are filled, particularly in the basement or attic, with a sturdy material; a piece of cardboard or newspaper will not deter a shivering mouse. You should also install screens on all windows, verifying occasionally that there are no holes in the mesh or pane, and keep outdoor doors closed.
Take the time to remove any weeds or tall grass that are near your home or in the yard and store materials such as lumber or boxes on high shelves with an open, clean area underneath. Any junk or unused material should be discarded as well, as all of these areas are prime locations for rodents to hide.
Should rodents enter your home despite your best efforts, you can try to rely on store-bought traps to stop the invasion. However, these traps can only work as well as the bait, and might not attract the full family of mice to their doom. Also, if you don’t get to a trap in time, you could be left to deal with the lingering smell of rat remains.
The best course of action should your home become a breeding and feeding ground for rodents is to call a professional pest control expert. These specialists will ensure that your home is vermin-free and help you prevent any future uninvited furry friends from pillaging your pantry.