Why are there rodents in my house?
This a questions that many homeowners ask themselves once they realize they have a rodent infestation. Why me? What makes my home so attractive to rodents? There is a wide range of factors that can contribute to a rat infestation and need for rodent control. The primary one though? Your home offers a rodent everything it’s looking for. Just like every creature, a rodent needs two things to survive. Food and water. If a site also offers protection from predators and a good place to nest? It’s a perfect home.
What drives rodents into homes?
Rats and mice are natural burrowers in the outdoors. They create underground nests. This is true of both common mice types like the field or house mouse, as well as the most common rat species in North America, the Norway rat. This makes heavy rains one of the biggest predictors of rat movements. Because winter in the Northwest is typically wet, it gets just cold enough that rats will seek indoor shelter for warmth.
The other leading cause of rats in the home? Construction. Just like rains make a burrow uninhabitable, construction chases rats out of their natural homes. If you have a neighboring construction project coming up or currently active, it’s a great idea to take rodent prevention precautions before you have an infestation on your hands.
Where do rodents enter the home?
The obvious answer is an opening into the home, but that doesn’t rule anything out. Certain areas of the home offer an easier path to entry. Depending on the rodent species it will choose one entry point over another. For instance, roof rats are more common in the city than the suburbs. Here are the major entry points and what you can do to secure them.
- Rodents enter through ground level in open windows, foundational gaps, pipes, and holes around plumbing, gas, and other lines. What can you do to prevent it? Check your windows and doors for gaps around the outsides and bottom. Mice can fit into a hole as small as a quarter of an inch. Younger rats can fit through a hole as large as a quarter. Make sure there are no large gaps, and seal them if there are. Copper mesh wire is great for plugging holes in pipes without restricting water flow. Large foundational gaps may require a specialist.
- Rodents enter through attics, crawl spaces, and roofs. What can you do to prevent it? If roof damage has left you with holes, they need to be repaired. The same goes for crawl space and attic entry points like old windows that may have separated from the frame. Another major solution is to trim back nearby trees and bushes. These function like ladders for rodents and allow them access to the rooftop in the first place.
- Rodents enter though toilets and fireplaces. What can you do to prevent it? Just like your pipes, you only need partial coverage to allow, in this case, the smoke out of your chimney. Investing in a mesh chimney stack cover has the added benefit of keeping birds and bats out of your chimeny as well. Toilets can easily be secured with a locking lid that locks the toilet seat to the toilet itself. This will keep a rodent contained and force it to go back the way it came or risk death.
How else can you protect your home from rodents?
- Eliminate nesting areas in your yard like old vehicles, appliances, and wood and waste piles.
- Frequently stir compost, clean up natural food like fallen fruit, and tightly seal food waste in a can.
- Store wood away from the home and raised on a stand 12 inchs or more above the ground.
- Store any dry food for animals or people in air tight and tamper resistance containers.