Rodents can find their way into your home at any time of the year, but they often find their way in during Winter, when they are looking for a warm place to hide. With rats able to squeeze through gaps as small as the end of your thumb and mice capable of squeezing through holes the size of the end of your little finger, it's virtually impossible to make your home 100% rodent proof. However, there are some key actions you can take to dramatically reduce the chances of hearing 'bumps in the night'.
Rodent / possum proof the building
These actions will prevent rodents accessing your home and setting up a nest
Seal any holes / cracks in the floors, walls and roofing. Although this can prove to be a challenge due to the small holes rodents can squeeze through, spending the time to block holes can be a lasting solution. Depending on the nature of the hole, thick wiring, metal plates or expandable foam may be options. However, remember rodents are very good at gnawing so you need to use strong materials.
Remove vegetation from the immediate perimeter of the building. Some rodents, particularly Norway rats will make their own burrows. Areas of overgrown vegetation which provide protection are a favorite spot.
Prune any branches over-hanging the building. Rats are great climbers and will regularly use bushes, palms and trees to access roof voids.
Place rodent barriers around drainpipes and extension roofing supports. Any vertical structure (such as the vertical support for a decking roof), that provides an opportunity for a rat to climb up and gain access to your roof void needs to be protected. The best way to do this is to use a guard which any rodent climbing up the structure cannot climb around.
Keep the sub-floor clear of belongings and rubbish. If your home has a sub-floor it should be kept clear of belongings and rubbish. Such items provide plenty of rodent nesting places (and potentially make it easier for termites to enter your home too!)
Improve sanitation / eliminate potential food sources
Improved sanitation is all about eliminating potential food sources for rodents.
Place garbage in sealed, rodent proof containers.
All stored food to be place in sealed, rodent proof containers. This typically means thick, plastic containers with tight fitting lids. This will also prevent potential pantry moth infestations.
Do not leave pet food outside. Cat and dog food should be brought in or thrown away after feeding.
Implement smart feeding regimes for outdoor animals. For chickens, rabbits and any other animal that is provided with grain foods, implement a feeding regime that minimises waste food that would be available to rodents.
Keeping your home rodent free is not only important to get a good nights sleep, but they do carry disease and can spoil food with their feeding, urinating and faeces. Additionally, their gnawing habits, often chewing on electrical wiring, are the cause of many 'unexplained' house fires.
Despite your rodent proofing efforts, if you do find rodents have taken up residence you will need to take action. Calling a pest professional such as Gold Coast Pest Services is often the best option. If you decide to tackle the problem yourself, make sure you follow all safety instructions to make sure you carry out safe pest control.