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Ensure every little crack and crevice around your home is properly sealed off
How many mice living in your house is enough to make you feel uncomfortable? For most, it’s one. Mice are known to carry disease, bacteria and parasites. Breathing in the particles from their droppings or urine can make us sick. Listen, I’m all for coexistence, but that doesn’t mean I want any uninvited guests living in my home with me.
The cold weather will be here before too long — and that’s when mice really want to find a warm place to spend the winter.
So it’s a good idea to go around your home, taking steps to keep them out BEFORE they find a way to enter and move in. Mice can reproduce several times a year, so it won’t take long for one or two mice to become 50 or 60.
How do you know if you’re too late, and they’re already there? Well, mouse droppings are a big one; you might also notice little bites taken out of your food packages; or you may hear them scratching around in your walls and ceilings.
Keeping them out
A sealed home is not only the best way to keep mice out, it’s also the most humane. So what’s the secret? A well-sealed house should do the trick, in most cases. Mice don’t need a lot of wiggle room to sneak in to your home — all it takes is a little crack in your walls. And they’re resilient! They can jump several times their body height and are great climbers. So don’t keep your search to the lower section of your home.
Regardless, you should be doing a perimeter check of your home twice a year. This is when you’ll look for new instances of cracking. Small cracks can likely be filled with an epoxy injection, but for larger cracks (like ones that can fit a coin), you may need to take bigger corrective measures. This helps shore up your defence against rodents, but also water, which is so important.
If your home has a chimney, have a chimney cap installed to keep all kinds of critters out. I don’t like seeing organic materials dumped directly next to a home’s foundation, because it can allow water penetration. In the case of mulch, compost and firewood, they provide nice places for a mouse to hide, so keep them farther away from your home.
And while you’re doing your perimeter check, your doors and windows will need attention, too. Any instances of crumbling or missing caulking and weatherstripping should be replaced immediately. Again, this doesn’t just keep the mice out, it also helps reduce drafts in your home — which can account for 30 per cent of your home’s heat loss.
Finally, clean up the clutter — including in your basement and garage. Mice love mess. It gives them a place to hide and plenty of materials to make a nest out of. Keep any dry, loose food in sealed containers — and that includes your pet food.
Evicting your unwanted tenants
We love it, but mice can’t stand the smell of peppermint. So if your home is mouse free, you can buy non-toxic repellents that are infused with mint to keep them at bay. However, it the mice are already in the house, this won’t necessarily get rid of them. So what do you do next?
I’ve heard about homeowners using electrical devices that emit sound to get rid of mice, but these don’t tend to work. Eventually, a mouse will just get used to the sound.
You could use rodenticide, but I really don’t like that as a solution. For one thing, I have a dog, and I’d hate for him to accidentally ingest something that will hurt him. For another, when mice are poisoned, they’ll typically die somewhere inaccessible — like inside your wall. Do you want to be smelling dozens of dead mice? I didn’t think so. Health Canada has regulations restricting their use, so it’s not something I’d want to handle on my own, anyway.
The best way to deal with a mouse problem is to bring in a pro. They can deal with the problem, and show you how they entered your home in the first place.
Mike has been making it right for homeowners for over 15 years on television. To learn more, visit makeitright.ca
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