Before starting your mouse-proofing project, here are a few household tools that you may need, including a few that may require a trip to your local hardware store.
- Scissors (not your best!)
- Knee Pads
- Clear, high-quality silicone caulk
- Stuf-fit copper wire mesh, steel wool or Xcluder™
Walk around your home to identify the potential entry points for mice, keeping in mind that any opening greater than ¼ inch is a potential threat for rodent entry. Consider calling on a general contractor or handyman for openings that you find to be larger than a fist.
Tear or cut off a piece of Xcluder™, Stuf-fit, or steel wool at least 2 to 3 times the size of the opening. Stuf-fit copper wire mesh easily sells for under $20.00 at most hardware stores or can be purchased online. Note: look for the copper wire mesh that is packaged in a roll. You'll have extra on hand for future pest-proofing projects or remodeling jobs.
Wearing gloves, press the material into the opening so that it fits snug on all sides.
If the material is too loose, pull it out and cut a larger piece. If the opening is small, use a screwdriver to push the copper wire mesh down into the opening. In any situation it is important to make certain that the material is not left to dangle outside of the opening, or be bulging out in such a way that it may come into direct contact with the elements, thereby limiting the likelihood of oxidizing over time.
Additional Tips for Keeping Mice and Rats Out of Your Home
Mice and other rodent pests present difficult problems for homeowners throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District. You can prevent mice and rats from entering your house by heeding a few simple tips from the pest control pros.
- Rodent pests seek to enter businesses and homes as soon as the weather changes. Don’t invite mice and rats into your home by leaving garage or other entry doors open. This also includes built-in pest access doors and loading bay doors.
- The House mouse will seek to establish food, water and shelter before the harsh winter months set in. Don’t provide a food source inside your home or business by leaving pet foods, grains, or other pantry goods in open containers. Mice, specifically, will hoard and store pockets of food inside walls, basement and attic areas. This can lead to future problems with Indian Meal Moths or other grain/pantry pests. Bird feeders, composting sites, and vegetable gardens also provide ample food for foraging rats and mice.
- Control rodents by cutting back foliage around your home, especially Ivy and Pachysandra. These low-growing ground covers provide plenty of shelter for rats to roam and burrow.
Quick Facts You May Not Know About Rats
Rats and like rodent pests are extremely intelligent. It's no wonder why they make their way into our homes, chew baseball-sized holes in our garbage cans, and destroy our patios with their elaborate burrowing systems.
- Rats can walk away from falls of 50 feet or more!
- Rats can jump 36 inches (vertically, that’s 3 feet!) and 48 inches, or two feet in a single leap.
- Rats can also scale rough vertical surfaces and walk along thin ropes and wires.
- Rats are superior swimmers, having the ability to stay afloat for as many as 3 days at a time.
- Rats have terrible eyesight, which is why you rarely see them out in the open or away from the perimeter of walls where they use their whiskers to feel their way around.