Getting Rid of Rodents: Prevention and Control

Rodent Control Key Takeaways

Rodent on kitchen counter
  • Rodents present hazardous risks to homeowners
  • Regular home maintenance, inspections, and clean habits can reduce the risk of a rodent infestation
  • Should rodents enter your home, there are several approaches you can try from traps to repelling rats and mice naturally with scents

In This Rodent Control Article

How to Keep Rodents Outside

There are several important preventative measures homeowners should take to ensure their home and property are as rodent free as possible.

Home & Property Maintenance for Rodent Control

Rodents tend to sneak into vulnerable areas of the home where entrances aren’t closely guarded. Because of this, regular home maintenance is an essential part of preventing rodents from invading:

  • Inspect the exterior of your property to search for entry points
  • Check the siding and roof shingles to confirm that you don’t see any visible damage and broken pieces of siding and any missing shingles as needed
  • If you note any broken vent covers, replace these as well
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts
  • Remove any debris and objects such as rocks, boards, and bricks resting against or placed near the house
  • Prune any trees or tree branches that are overhanging on the roof and its gutters, as rodents can use them to climb on your roof
  • Never leave your garage door open throughout the day, as rodents and other pests see open garages as invitations to come inside and make themselves at home
  • Basement doors should also be closed when not in use to prevent rodent access
  • Keenly inspect the areas around utility pipes such as gas, water, and sewer pipes serving your home
  • Check the plumbing pipes under your sinks both in the kitchen and bathrooms

Seal Any Openings to Keep Rodents Out

Mice and rats can squeeze and fit themselves into openings the size of a dime. To effectively keep rodents out, you will need to take precautions to ensure that all openings are identified and sealed:

  • Pay close attention to the weather stripping on windows and doors to make sure they aren’t worn out, scuffed, or otherwise damaged
  • If the doors and windows aren’t sealed perfectly, be creative with ways to adjust the seals until they fit snugly
  • Foam or wire mesh barriers can be used to block any potential rodent entranceways on the foundation of your home
  • If you don’t have a chimney cap, arrange to install one or use an approved chimney cap device to avoid rodents from using it to enter
  • Note that some holes from your home to the outside are designed to be kept open, such as the air vents around the house
  • If certain entries are meant to be there, consider using an approved exclusion device over them to keep critters out. Open entries should not be screened over completely as it can lead to a fire.

Keep Things Clean to Prevent Rodent Infestations

Consistently cleaning potential food sources is a solid technique to prevent rodent infestations. Some essential actions to take in order to keep your property clean include:

  • Never leave any food out for prolonged periods
  • Remove pet food bowls after the animals have finished their meals
  • Wipe down counters to get rid of crumbs
  • Sweep the floor daily to eliminate potential food sources for pests
  • Avoid leaving grains such as cereal, bread or pasta unprotected
  • Never leave cooking utensils or dishes out overnight
  • If you have an outdoor cooking area, do not to leave food or beverages out
  • Grills should be cleaned regularly along with any barbecue cooking tools
  • Store bird seed and any other food-like substances in heavy-duty plastic or metal containers with sealed lids
  • Avoid storing pet food in your garage, as rodents can easily enter and pick up the scent
  • Keep trash away from the home
  • Ensure that trash cans are constructed from heavy-duty materials, have no damage like holes or cracks, and have tight-fitting lids

Remove Potential Mice and Rat Nesting Sites

Inspect your home’s surroundings to spot and remove any potential rodent and pest habitats. Typically, rodents love to shelter in places where they will find moisture, warmth, and food. They seek out these areas because they feel safe to rest, reproduce, or hide from predators.

For rats and mice, as well as any type of wildlife, you don’t want to leave mulch and leaf piles around your property. These piles can be potential rodent nesting sites if left unchecked. If you have wood piles or hay on your property, you can deter rodents by elevating them a minimum of one foot off the ground.

Compost piles or bins should be kept as far away as possible from the house. Turning compost piles often helps, since this will cover up any new food scraps you add.

Install Rodent Guards

Metal pipes or wires that run inside from the exterior can be problematic if you’re trying to prevent rodents from invading your home. Rodent guards are typically constructed out of plastic or metal and fit over the end of the pipe to prevent rodents from scurrying inside.

They are typically easy to install and are an inexpensive rodent prevention tool that you can purchase online or at any hardware store. Further protect your electrical wiring from rodents and learn more about this risk with our recent guide.

How to Rid Your Home of Rodents

If you do suspect mice or rats have entered your home or other buildings on your surrounding property, there are several actions you can take to get rid of them.

Eliminate All Entry Points for Rodents

Signs of rodent activity can include seeing their droppings around the home, noticing teeth marks on any materials within your home, or even hearing them scurrying in the walls or across the floor at night.

As soon as you notice these identifiers, you should search both inside and outside your home for any clear entry or exit points and take immediate action to seal them off completely.

DIY Rodent Control

There are several Do-It-Yourself rodent control strategies. Using essential oils, peppers, ammonia, or steel wool around your home can make a rodent’s stay in your home unbearable.

StrategyEffective FormsHow to Use It
Essential Oils• Peppermint oil
• Citronella oil
• Eucalyptus oil
Dilute the oil with water in a spray bottle or soak cotton balls in it, place them around the house, and repeat every month
Peppers• Cayenne pepper
• Black pepper
• Cloves
Sprinkle flakes of pepper around the internal and external perimeter of your home, repeat every few weeks
Steel Oool• Regular
• Rodent-specific
Locate any openings, place steel wool inside so it can act as a barrier, and seal it in place with caulking for extra protection

Though these measures may temporarily hold rodents at bay, they are not a guaranteed or long term solution. It’s also possible that these measures won’t work for every rodent.

Rodent Traps & Repellent

Choosing the right rodent trap or rodent repellent for your home is a complex decision. Popular options include snap traps, glue traps, or live-catch traps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends setting rodent traps but advises against glue or live traps due to the likelihood of a rodent urinating and potentially exposing a person to germs found in the urine.

No matter which trap you choose, rodents are cautious creatures that may know or learn to avoid them.

Popular scent-repellent options include plug-ins, packets, or pellets. These can be placed in high-traffic areas such as at doors and windows, along the walls, or near any crack or hole in the walls or flooring. These offer a less severe method of deterring rodents but are less effective than getting rid of them for good.

Protecting Your Charlotte Home From Rodents

Ensuring your home is safe from rodents on your own can be a headache. Rodents are unpredictable and smart – often finding alternative openings, biting through obstructions, or waiting until scents wear off.

Allow the professional and trusted technicians from Carolina Pest Management to help your family avoid the risk of living among rodents. For more than 75 years, Carolina Pest Management has assisted countless homeowners and businesses with Charlotte rodent control.

Contact us today to see how we can help.

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...