As the cold weather descends over much of the country, most people retreat indoors where it is cozy and warm. Unfortunately, mice have the same urge, and their indoor retreat can end up being your home. The following tips can help you rodent-proof your house before you end up with unwelcome guests.
Tip #1: Manage your landscaping
The best prevention begins in the fall, but it's never too late to clean up the landscaping around your home. Start by keeping bushes and other plants trimmed back so don't grow right up against your exterior walls. Mice will sometimes build winter nest in the roots and leaf litter under larger plants. If they do so close to your home, then they are more likely to find a way indoors as outdoor conditions worsen. Deep layers of mulch and dead leaves can result in similar issues. By keeping a bare perimeter of a foot or two around your home, the chances of mice bedding down too close drops, which means the chances of them migrating indoors also decreases.
Tip #2: Be careful what you bring in
Winter often means carrying things in and out of the home. This could be wood from a woodpile or boxes of holiday decor from a shed, garage, or storage unit. Mice may create nests inside hollow logs or in a box of ornaments that has been stored undisturbed for the past year. If there is a chance, no matter how remote, that mice could be in an item, then make sure you inspect the wood or the box carefully before bringing it into your home. It's much easier to shoo off the mice outside as opposed to trying to catch a panicking mouse that is running around inside your home.
Tip #3: Seal any opening
It doesn't take a large hole for a mouse to get inside. If a mouse can fit their head through an opening, then they can pull their entire body through. Since most of a mouse's head size is made up of fur and ears that they can force flat, they can sometimes fit through holes as small in diameter as a dime. Walk around the exterior of your home and look for any such openings. For example, old holes where cable lines used to run into a home are the perfect size for a mouse to squeeze through, as are any gaps around pipes. To keep the mice from using the holes, stuff them with wire mesh or steel wool. Then either cover the hole with a patching compound or with spray foam insulation. The steel wool prevents the mice from chewing through the patch.
For more help, contact a service in your area that deals with mice extermination, termite extermination, and so on.