While most of us are looking forward to the cooler weather that comes with the onset of Fall, rodents begin to make their way indoors seeking out warmth, food, and shelter in preparation for the upcoming winter months. How do you keep these critters from invading your personal space? While your first instinct might be to run to the local animal shelter and bring home a new cat or two, try these 6 tips for rodent proofing your home instead:

  1. Start with the yard. Seal all of your garbage in garbage cans. Don’t leave garbage sitting outside your home or in your garage. Clear your yard of anything that a rodent could potentially use as shelter. This includes de-cluttering your garage.
  1. Use decoys. There are several new products on the market today including life-size, mobile owls to hang from your trees and holographic tape that rodents mistake for snakes.
  1. Landscaping. Keep grass and vegetation cut short. Tall grass gives rodents camouflage from their predators. Cut back overhanging trees, as well, as these also provide shadowy protection from predators. Establish a 2-foot wide perimeter barrier using cement or crushed rock around your home.
  1. Remove interior access. Rodents will try to get inside your home in search of shelter and warmth. Cover any cracks and holes in your house using copper wool or aluminum as rodents cannot chew through these materials. This also means installing those aluminum window screens that have been sitting in the garage. Remember: rats can fit through a 1/2″ opening (about the diameter of your thumb) and mice can fit through a 1/4″ opening (about the diameter of your pinkie finger).
  1. Waste not, want not. Make sure you do not leave any food out in your home. Keep any food that is kept in the kitchen above counter level and sealed tightly, including pet food.
  1. Call an exterminator. Sometimes DIY methods just don’t work for rodents. Because they can fit through the smallest openings, spotting gaps and holes around your home is difficult. A professional rodent control specialist will do a thorough inspection of your property, identify rodent entry points, and provide you with a treatment plan to get rid of rodents and prevent future infestations.