If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
As the popular children’s book proclaims – if you give a mouse a cookie, it will want a glass of milk. With winter closing in fast, mice and other rodents are looking for warmer, more sheltered areas to survive the cold day ahead. Chance are, if you let them find a cookie in your home they won’t ask for milk, but they may invite their friends or decide you B&B is a great place to start a family!
Neither of those scenarios sounds particularly inviting, so as a homeowner now is the time to inspect your home for gaps and cracks that may provide mice and other rodents an entry into your home. As a bonus, finding and filling gaps that appear in your home over time will also stop chilly drafts and reduce your energy bills!
The first thing to do is channel your inner mouse and inspect the exterior for any areas that may need worked on. Believe it or not, mice can fit through holes or cracks as small as .25”! Suspect areas include any penetrations through your walls or roof for utilities and vents and around windows or doors. Also check any windows screens for rips or tears, and door sweeps for any wear.
Once problem areas have been identified the work can begin to eliminate these entry points and keep unwanted visitors out of your home. While you may think that spray foam or caulking would be a good fix for most gaps, mice can still easily chew through these materials, especially when they are particularly determined. Instead use mouse-proof materials that combine polyester fabric and stainless steel fibers. Xcluder is a popular brand found in many hardware stores or through online retailers.
Other areas to consider in preventing rodent intrusion is reducing their access to food and water in your home. This should be common practice all year long to prevent a multitude of pests like ants and mice, but it bears mentioning again that food in your home should be stored in air tight containers and dirty dishes shouldn’t be left in the sink overnight.