Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 by Stephanie Adams
Eek! A mouse!” If you’re like many, a mouse in the house is enough to scare you onto a chair until it’s out of sight. During the summer, rodents are typically comfortable thriving outside without concern for cold. But, it is not unheard of to find them inside the home, even in warm and sunny weather. The most commonly seen mouse in Connecticut is the white-footed mouse, while the Norwegian rat is the most commonly found rat found in the state. The good news is that with understanding what attracts rodents as well as how to prevent and guard your home against them, homeowners can stop feeling scared and breathe a sigh of relief. With these tips, you can enjoy your summer, knowing that your winter will be rodent-free.
Mice and rats are very food-motivated creatures. Although it’s commonly assumed that mice love cheese, mice are most attracted to foods high in carbohydrates. White footed mice and Norwegian Rats share some similarities in what attracts them. These rodents are most attracted to:
Open garbage cans
The more easily accessible food sources like rice, pasta, and bread are to mice, the more irresistible your kitchen will be. While food is a big factor in attracting white footed mice, it isn’t the only thing that will draw them into your home. During the summer months, white footed mice are focused on building nests, reproducing, and raising their young. When it gets too hot out during the summer, they may seek relief in cooler, air conditioned homes. Unfortunately for homeowners, mice are not creatures to waste time when it comes to breeding: where one mouse can be found, a whole family may not be far behind. Norwegian Rats are also attracted to human food, primarily meat and grains. They love to chew on garbage, so filled garbage cans left unsealed and near your house will be very tempting to these rats. They are attracted to pet food, so if you leave your dog or cat food opened, this will likely attract them as well. They are also attracted to piles of wood. If you start stacking firewood in the summer, a pile resting on the ground will start to look like a nice habitat for a Norwegian Rat to live in or gnaw on. Norway Rats need water to survive, so water that is easily accessible through piping or that has gathered in pools will attract them as well.
When it comes to protecting your home, you have a few good options that will help prevent rodents from infesting. Many mice and rats may carry diseases, making it even more important to keep them out. Some common methods for preventing rodents from entering your home include:
Sealing and storing food
A great way to prevent mice and rats from entering your home is making sure that all your food is properly stored and sealed away. Pet food should also be tightly closed with lids. White footed mice can fit in remarkably small crevices: anything wider than a quarter of an inch is enough for a mouse to fit through! Sealing all nooks and crevices with steel wool, caulk, or another flexible sealant can greatly aid homeowners in preventing white footed mice from entering. Doors leading outside would also benefit from having bristle or brush strips fitted to the bottom. Any small holes that you find should be completely sealed. Common places that mice and rats are often found include attics, foundations, windows, and water or gas pipes. If you suspect mouse or rat activity, checking around these areas before sealing them may be helpful in preventing rodents.
Both white footed mice and Norwegian Rats can travel through pipes, and Norwegian Rats are especially attracted to water, which they need to consume daily. Because of this, treat your pipes with a flexible sealant to make sure nothing can get through. Norwegian Rats are burrowers, so they are attracted to gardens, uncut grass, and overgrown vegetation. They may also cause damage to the foundations of houses by burrowing to get inside. Composting is becoming a popular way for many homeowners to reduce waste, but can attract both mice and rats. If you do have a composting bin outside your home, make sure to have it raised at least a foot off the ground to prevent rodents from getting inside. White footed mice are curious by nature, and may be more vulnerable around bait traps if you decide to use them. However, Norwegian rats are conversely more cautious, and will become suspicious of changes in their environment, so traps are not as effective against them. Another great way to prevent mice and rats from entering your home is by removing potential nesting sites nearby. Wood, leaf, or brush piles can be favorable nesting sites for rodents, so make sure to remove nesting material such as these. Doing so will discourage mice and rats from nesting, and they will look elsewhere to build.
Rodents may be small, but they can quickly become a big problem for homeowners. And if you’re one to jump onto the nearest elevated surface at the very sight of one, action may feel even more urgent. By taking preventative measures like properly storing food, keeping wood elevated, and sealing holes and entry points outside your home, you and your loved ones will have much better protection against rodents through the seasons. Some store-bought traps may be helpful at first, but rodents are extremely adaptable and quick learners. Because of this, they can be very difficult to trap. If you see a live mouse or rat, do not corner it, and keep children and pets away; they may bite to defend themselves, which can result in injury or transmission of disease. Because mice and rats are so adaptable, traps or other DIY methods may not be successful. As such, it is highly recommended that the homeowner contacts their local pest control for a plan detailed to their needs.
Connecticut Pest Elimination, Inc.
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