Unwelcome visitors! Winter weather sends mice and rats indoors

January 25, 2018

Last time I checked, mice and rats belong outside – never mind those who choose to make them pets for whatever reason. With a few more weeks left of winter – and a somewhat mild one at that – these pesky critters will do whatever it takes to make their way into your house, garage, basement, attic and sheds. Whether it’s a mouse, rat or even a mole, here are eight sneaky ways they’re getting in and how to stop them:

J-Channels and Corner Posts: Corner posts are used to finish off the ends of siding at the corners of your home, and j-channels are used like trim around windows and doors to hide the ends of vinyl siding. The hollow corner posts make it easy for mice to climb up the side of your house and the gaps between j-channels and siding are often large enough for mice to get in behind the siding.

The Fix: Use steel wool pads or copper mesh to fill any openings in the corner posts or j-channels and seal with silicone caulk.

Home Foundation: Remarkably, mice can get into your house through cracks in the foundation. Rubble foundations and stacked stone foundations create particularly susceptible gaps that are large enough for rodents to get through.

The Fix: Run your finger along the sill plate to look for cracks and fill with silicone caulk.

Attached Garages: Uneven garage doors, leaving doors open for long periods of time and clutter in your attached garage are all invitations for unwanted houseguests.

The Fix: Organize and reduce clutter in your garage. Inspect the sheetrock on the shared wall for any openings and fill with silicone caulk. Be conscious about leaving garage doors open for extended amounts of time. Install weather stripping on garage doors.

Cellar Doors: “Bilco doors” is a common name for the slanted cellar door on the outside of some houses that leads to the basement. Gaps between the two doors are often large enough for mice to sneak through.

The Fix: Install good weather stripping and check to see if the doors fit tightly together.

Vents: While it’s key to plug all gaps and holes that lead into your home, not all openings are meant to be sealed.

The Fix: If your dryer vent is ‘open for business,’ cover it with screening to allow for the dryer to properly and safely vent but keep the rodents out in the cold.

Gutters and Downspout: Mice can easily climb up downspouts and along gutters to access any openings near or on the roof of your house.

The Fix: Install hardware cloth or chicken wire, using gutter screws, around the opening at the base of the downspout to prevent these whiskered pests from climbing up. Word of caution, you must remove this barrier regularly and clean any debris that gets trapped in there. You can also use silicone caulk to fill any gaps in the soffit, facia, eaves and ridge vents.

Chimneys: Mice are strong climbers and can easily scale the chimney to get into your house.

The Fix: Install 12-inch wide sheet metal around the base of the chimney. This makes it too slippery for mice to start their climb.

Openings for Utility Lines: Utility companies make openings in the side of your house to run utility lines. Often, these holes are plenty large enough for rodents to get into the house.

The Fix: Seal the openings with silicone caulk.

You could always buy a cat but not all cats are hunters and may not up for the challenge. One sure way to reduce the chances of a home invasion it to make sure these problem areas are uncluttered and don’t provide a place to nest or even worse – mate! Sanford and Sons can help you clean out that basement, attic or garage. No, we’re not exterminators but we can be the first step to prevent a bigger problem.