There are many ways you might discover a rodent problem. You may hear them scratching and bumping in your walls. You may find droppings in your cabinets or on your shelves. You may notice a nest in your attic or garage. And, of course, you may see a rodent scurry along a baseboard and disappear under a cabinet or into a hole. What can you do when you see a rodent or find evidence of rodent activity in your home? At the heart of effective rodent control is exclusion work, which is to seal up the entry points where they are getting in. Join us today as we look at common ways domestic rodents (such as house mice and house rats) get into homes, and explain how to seal the entry points they are using. If you'd rather have a trained professional handle this work for you, jump to our contact page for rodent pest control in Reno. We can help you with rodent exclusions as well as rodent control inside your home. If you want to try and do it yourself, read on to learn what tools you'll need and where to apply these tools.
Where Do Rodents Get Into Homes?
There are a surprising number of common entry points used by rats and mice. These critters can get into your home from the ground level to the top. Here are the most common areas.
- Gaps around utilities. If you have water pipes, sewer pipes, wires, or conduits that pass through your foundation or exterior walls, rodents may enter through gaps around them, even if the gaps are small. While rats are big rodents, they can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter or a one inch gap.
- Voids in sill plate joists. Some houses have accessible voids behind joists, just above the sillplates (also called soleplates). Your sillplates rest on top of your foundation horizontally and the joists (also called band joists), sit vertically on your sills. Rodents can get right up inside these and gain access to your wall voids. If you're wondering whether or not an opening is vulnerable, put your hand in and see if you can feel cold air coming out of your home on a hot day (or warm air on a cold day). If so, it is likely that rodents have a clear pathway.
- Gaps in weatherstripping or door sweeps. Your exterior doors can easily allow rodents into your home if you have the smallest of gaps. Examine your doors on a sunny day and see if you can see light leaking in.
- Gaps around window and door frames. Rodents can make a small gap larger and slip into the void within your window and door frames. Inside this tight space, they will have plenty of time to chew their way into your wall voids without fear that a predator will attack them as they work.
- Unprotected vents. Rodents can scale most exterior walls. All they need are bumps to cling onto. They can use these bumps like a mountain climber uses cracks and get up to vent openings.
- Weep holes. If you have a brick home, you may have weep holes. Mice are little rodents that can easily squeeze into weep holes.
- Crawl space vulnerabilities. When rodents get into the crawl space under a home, they feel protected in this space and can spend time chewing holes to gain access to the structure.
- Louvers. Rodents can get through the openings between the slates in louvers. Once past the louvers, they usually have quick access to attic spaces.
- Roof trenches. Along the edge of your roof, just below the shingles, is a trench. Rats and mice can scratch and chew their way into this trench and access your attic space or wall voids.
- Roof soffit intersections. In areas where one roof hangs over another, rodents can chew their way through the thin sheet metal and get inside.
Don't underestimate a rodent's ability to get into your home. They can jump high, climb many surfaces, and squeeze through tiny holes. If a hole is too small to squeeze through, they are equipped with teeth that can make small holes larger.
Have You Spotted An Entry Point?
When you find an entry point, the next step is to consider what to do to keep rodents from using it. Seal some entry points and block access to others. Here are some common tools and methods.
- Expanding foam. It is amazing what you can do with a can of expanding foam. You can fill in a rotted wood hole, seal a gap around a pipe, or completely seal an open void behind a band joist. Wear gloves when you apply expanding foam because it is hard to scrape off your skin. As you consider using this product, you may wonder if rodents will just chew through it. While they certainly can, they typically don't. Rats and mice find small holes and make them larger. They don't usually make fresh holes unless they're in a protected location.
- Caulking gun. There are many gaps that are best addressed with a caulking gun, such as gaps around door and window frames. You can also use this tool to fill in rotted wood holes if you want.
- Hardware cloth. While unyielding to work with, you can do a lot with this material. You can seal and protect a crawl space, block access to the void under your deck, cover a wood hole, protect your louvers, and more.
- Wire mesh. If you want a simple fix, this could get the job done. You can stuff wire mesh into holes and gaps to keep rodents out. Make sure it is in there snugly so rats and mice can't pull it out or push it in. Mesh can also be stuffed into your gutter downspouts to prevent rodents from climbing up to your roof and accessing your home through vulnerabilities up there.
- Pipe guards. These look like upside down cones. You can place them on pipes or conduits that run up the sides of your home. When rodents get to them, they have to turn around and go back down.
- Clippers. If you have branches that hang over your roofline, use clippers to trim them. Rats and mice can climb as well as the furry-tailed rodents in your backyard.
- Building repairs. Replace or repair protective items such as weatherstripping, sweeps, and screens.
- Weep hole protectors. If your home has weep holes, it is a good idea to get protectors, if you don't already have them.
It isn't easy to seal your home, but it is certainly worth doing the work. Exclusion work doesn't just keep rats and mice out; it helps to keep a long list of pests out and also helps to keep warm or cool air inside.
Patching Up A Hole Left By A Rodent
When you find a hole created by a rat or mouse, what should you do about it? Should you patch it up immediately? We recommend doing something about the rodents inside your home first. If you seal a rodent hole, the rodents in your home may chew another hole to get back outside. You should systematically work to get rid of all the rodents inside your home first. We recommend the following tips:
- Control food options. Mice eat 15 to 20 times a day. While they don't eat much at each meal, they want to eat consistently. For this reason, they establish themselves near food sources. If you get rid of food options in your home, you can make rodents (especially mice) go searching for food elsewhere.
- Address plumbing issues. While rats and mice can get the water they need from many of the foods they eat, fixing leaking faucets, showerheads, pipes, garbage disposals, and other plumbing issues can help make your home less appealing to these pests.
- Address clutter. Rodents don't like clear uncluttered spaces. They use objects on the ground to help them navigate. A clutter-free space is resistant to rodent activity.
The best solution to get rodents out of your home is to apply traps. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to trap rodents. They have behavior patterns and abilities that help them avoid traps. There is also the danger that you might think the rodents are gone when they're still hiding in your home.
Rodent Elimination Service By Celtic Pest Control
If you're in Reno, contact Celtic Pest Control for rodent trapping, exclusion work, and other rodent control services. Our technicians use field-tested methods to not only effectively remove rodents but also to make sure no rodents remain in your home. Once the rodents in your home are gone, we can help you keep them out. Our ongoing residential pest control service plans provide layers of protection from a wide range of pests, including rats and mice. There is no better way to keep rodents out. Reach out to us today to schedule a service visit from one of our licensed and experienced technicians. We'll help you find the solution that best fits your specific pest control needs. Rodents are often frustrating and mysterious pests. Take the frustration and the mysterious out of dealing with rodents by reaching out to us today.
What Celtic Pest Control Customers Are Saying
"My overall experience with your company was very good. They were on time and professional. They did good work and answered all questions we had. From the first point of contact with your company, we have had a good experience. Great customer service. We will use them in the future and highly recommend them!"