The winter can be a tough time for homeowners. There are all kinds of pressures to contend with; from weather proofing windows and doors to budgeting for bigger energy bills and making sure that the garden is ready for hibernation. With so much to do, it is easy to forget about things like pest control and prevention. Unfortunately, just like human beings, there are lots of critters and creatures that are seeking a warm, safe retreat.
During the winter, one of the most common pests to plague homeowners is the rodent. Rats are especially prevalent at this time of the year, because they are searching for a way to escape the colder temperatures and breed in security. They are also on the hunt for food, so they can really cause problems. As rats have the potential to carry disease, they must be avoided at all costs. If you do suspect that there is one in your home, arrange a professional pest inspection as soon as possible.
Then, take a look at these handy hints and tips for keeping this common winter pest out of your home.
Handle Food Waste Carefully
The easiest way to attract mice and rats, particularly during the winter, is to leave food waste and scraps loose and accessible in the garden or close to the house. It is imperative that you place all waste in a sturdy container, with a lift that can’t be easily lifted by the wind. This will prevent rats from detecting the smell and following it right back to your home. It is a real faux pas to dump loose bin bags next to containers, whether they bins are full already or not.
Dispose of Leftover Pet Food
The same rules apply to leftover pet food, because rats love to feast on this during the winter months. They’ll also eat bird food, so try and keep all of these things in covered containers. Ultimately, the chance of a rat entering your home is very small if they’ve got no reason to be in the area. Give them a regular food supply, however, and they’ll start searching for a safe place to sleep and breed; it might just end up being your kitchen or basement.
Check for Entry Points
The most frustrating thing about rodents is that they can pretty squeeze through any space. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t make it easy for them by neglecting cracks in window sills, foundations, or siding. These are like an open invitation to rats, so address faults quickly. It only takes twenty minutes to plug up most holes in window frames and doors and it could save you a world of trouble later down the line.
Raise Your Compost Pile
If you have had a problem with rodents in the past, you are advised to either keep your compost pile in an enclosed container or raise it off the ground somehow. This is especially important for households that compost food scraps. In fact, if pest problems persist, you are better off avoiding this altogether; stick with garden waste, paper, and cardboard.
Schedule Regular Inspections
The single best way to keep your home free of pests is to have it inspected on a regular basis. Generally, once every six months is enough to detect any signs of trouble early and sort them out quickly. Plus, pest control services are very affordable these days, so you could invest in a long term, managed service and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your home is always protected and secure.