By Catherine Powell
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
The pitter-patter of little feet is usually something that makes most folks smile, unless the sound is the result of rodents running overhead as they scamper through your attic. Living in the city means that rodents are everywhere. The reason most people don't see rats and mice all that often is because they're nocturnal by nature. That means when we go to bed they clock in for the night shift. Cagey by nature, they know how to avoid our pets while pursuing the three things that make life worthwhile: food, shelter, and mates. While wild creatures, they are not averse to setting up housekeeping in our homes or yards. Once entrenched, these furry little rascals can be extremely hard to evict. Worse still is the fact that any damage to your property caused by rodents is NOT covered by homeowner's insurance. The best way to deal with a rodent infestation is to avoid one. In today's blog I'll teach you ten ways to convince Mickey and Minnie to try someplace else other than your home to live in.
#1: Keep your eyes peeled for signs of rodents. - I myself had a run in with rodents about two years ago. The problem wasn't on my property but next door. However, the rats used my fence as a highway between properties. After doing a little research, I learned that rats hate two things more than cats; They hate anything new in their environment and they hate the smell of peppermint. So, I bought some peppermint candles and placed them along the runners on the fence. No more rodent racetrack. In the spring, I planted peppermint along the fence they preferred to run along just to add a more permanent deterrent. So far so good. But that doesn't mean that I should get complacent. Other signs of rodent activity I now search for regularly include droppings, nesting material, and gnawed holes.
#2: Don't feed the animals. - Rodents love a free lunch. Since they'll eat almost anything, this means that everything from cat and dog food to birdseed and garbage is like a Free Buffet sign. Since their sharp little teeth can gnaw through wood and plastic, the best kind of rat-proof can is metal with a lid. Once my neighbors stopped feeding the birds they stopped attracting rodents. If you grow summer vegetables like I do, make sure you pick everything that ripens before rodents decide to help themselves to the harvest.
#3: Eliminate likely mouse houses. - What looks to you like a rusty barbecue can look like the Holiday Inn to rodents. So too can old cars, woodpiles, rock piles, lumber and garden sheds. If you do need to store wood or lumber, make sure you raise the pile at least a foot and a half off the ground and a foot or more from exterior walls. If you use tarps to cover a woodpile or an old car, make sure the edges are wrapped tightly and there are no gnawed holes in them or you may have just established a rodent base camp. If you have a garden shed, look for holes gnawed in or burrowed under it. A well-placed mousetrap inside a shed or garage can work wonders to discourage rodents.
#4: Make a perimeter check of your home, shed, and garage. - Rodents are world-class escape artists. Their skeletons are so flexible that if they can fit their head into a hole, they can squeeze their body through it as well. That's why I learned long ago to look for and seal up even the smallest holes or cracks in my home's walls, floors, roof, ceilings, pipes, and foundation. If you do find a hole, make sure you use a sealant that rodents can't gnaw through. The pros recommend polyurethane foam which rodents apparently can't chew through.
#5: Rodents can work the high wire. - If you've ever seen a squirrel make like a tightrope walker or a commando as it uses a power line for a highway, then it should come as no surprise that all rodents can use the wire sattached to your home to gain entry. That's why I recommend you check the roof, including all vents, pipes, and soffits for gaps, cracks, or holes that a rodent can exploit to enter your domicile. Rats and mice are incredibly athletic and can climb straight up a wall via external wiring that protrudes through or dangles down from the structure. They've also been known to gnaw through wires, which can potentially spark a fire. if you find that rodents are gnawing on your home's wiring, the best way to repel them is to wrap the wiring in steel mesh or what's known as "Rodent Tape" which looks just like electrical tape but is infused with capsaicin which is the active ingredient in hot peppers.
#6: How to repel a rodent revolution. - If you've already encountered signs of rodent activity on your property and are looking for a non-lethal way to deter their activities, there are several ways to discourage them. Certain smells are known to be repulsive to rodents, including mothballs, peppermint, hot pepper, garlic, used coffee grounds, peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, cloves, and eucalyptus.
#7: Which is better, traps or poison? - If you're looking to eliminate rodents permanently it's best to use mouse or rattraps indoors and baits or poisons outdoors. However, when employing either, you need to take care where you place them so your pets and other wildlife doesn't inadvertently get trapped or poisoned by accident.
#8: Are cats the best way to keep rodents at bay? - Cats were originally domesticated to help keep rodents out of homes and away from crops. That's the good news. The bad news is that they can't always be expected to live up to their reputations as world-class mousers. That's because well-fed felines may occasionally catch and toy with a rodent, but they aren't going to eliminate mice and rats from your property, especially if the rodents set up housekeeping in the walls or attic.
#9. Do rats hate heavy metal music? - No, but they do hate certain ultrasonic sounds that humans can't hear. From my research I've learned that while certain frequencies of sound can deter rodent activities for a time, they'll eventually become accustomed to the din to the point where the annoying sound is ignored after a few days.
#10. Give your neighbors a heads up if you detect rodents in your area. - Infestations can happen almost overnight and it can take a group effort to keep the rodent population in your neighborhood at bay. if you detect rodent activity in your area, let your neighbors know about it before it spreads. Give them a copy of this blog or any other information that can help make your neighborhood less attractive to rodents. Since rodents work best in groups, it takes a group to defeat a group. Neighborhood watches aren't only useful to deter crime. They can help keep yours from being overrun by rodents.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com