As you turn on the heating and hunker down for autumn, don’t forget that pests like to keep warm too. Be on the look out for rats, mice and grey squirrels who will be searching for a cosy home. Here are our top proofing tips to stop your home becoming a pest hotel:
Block up entry routes into your home: Rats, mice and squirrels will squeeze through any small holes in your home. Mice can fit through a gap the size of a pen lid, both rats and squirrels through holes approximately the size of a 10p coin. Common entry routes include gaps around pipework, underneath poor fitting doors, through air bricks, vents or via defects in brickwork. Remember to look up too, as these rodents are all capable climbers, especially squirrels who will get into damaged soffits and loose roof tiles.
Inspecting your home now for these types of gaps and taking pest proofing actions greatly increases your chances of keeping rodents out this winter. Small gaps can be filled with wire wool and filler or cement. Mesh covers can be placed over air bricks and vents to keep pests out and gaps under doors can be fitted with rodent proof bristle strips.
Manage your outside space: With rats, mice and squirrels all being good climbers, cutting trees and hedges around your property will reduce their launch pads and hiding places. Don’t forget that these rodents are also on the search for food. If you keep your rubbish outside, ensure its in a sealed, secure bin and if you like feeding the birds make sure you clear up any spilled feed and consider whether the feeder itself would be accessible to these pests. Compost heaps are also a problem, these piles of rotting food become rodent restaurants. Securing composting bins with lids can reduce this problem.
Inspect areas you do not often use: Although both rats and mice live closely with humans, they prefer the safety of their own space. If these pests access your home they are likely to set up camp out of sight. Check loft spaces, under kitchen cabinets, garden sheds and anywhere within your home that you don’t look at on a regular basis. By moving things in these spaces around regularly you’ll notice pest invasions and at the same time put rodents off living there as they don’t like change.
Don’t create a rodent restaurant: Like us rodents need food and water. What to you is some spilled food crumbs and a dripping pipe, to a rat could be a three-course meal and drinks. Ensure all food is kept securely, where necessary in sealed containers and clear up any spilt food or crumbs. Checking for and repairing leaks or covering drains will force these pests to look elsewhere for food and drinks.
Know the signs: If pests manage to get in your home, early identification will make treatment easier.
There are a number of indicators that may suggest you have a pest problem:
Droppings – Mice droppings are approximately the size of a grain of rice where as both rat and squirrel droppings are around the size of a raisin.
Gnaw marks – Rodents all have constantly growing teeth meaning they have to chew on things to stop them getting too big.
Noises – Sounds in the loft or especially within the walls and floors are a good clue that you may have unwanted guests.
What to do if you’re worried: If you need advice about proofing or would like our friendly pest controllers to visit your property for a no obligation free quote to look at an infestation call us today on 01908 299518 or send us a message on our online form and we will be in touch. You can also send us a message here and we’ll get back to you.