Keep rodents out of your home this winter

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EAU CLAIRE, Wi. (WEAU)-- As winter approaches, rodents and other pests are looking for a place to hibernate for the cold weather season. That makes fall a good time for homeowners to take precautions to keep rodents out of their homes.

“They want to be warm so they come into your house or your garage or even some place close to your house that may be giving off heat,” says Jason Freels, Regional Manager at Wil-Kil Pest Control in Chippewa Falls.

First, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any holes outside your home where a mouse or other rodent could easily get in.

“They'll feel the heat come out [of the hole] and they want to explore it so they'll start looking at the hole and they'll start scratching a little bit to dig out the hole and rodents can actually chew threw cement,” Freels says.

Freels says holes are common in many Wisconsin homes. He uses a mirror tool to find them, oftentimes looking underneath siding or at gaps in windows. The holes can be filled with things like copper mesh or steel wool and caulk to keep mice out.

“Mice are much smaller than people think,” Freels says. “They can fit in a hole as small as a No. 2 pencil.”

Freels says the classic mouse trap with some peanut butter is always a good option to get rid of the rodents. Many kinds of mouse traps exist for different scenarios including traps for hard to reach places where mice like to hide. There are also the more heavy duty traps with poison.

It’s important to get rid of rodents as soon as possible if found inside a home, according to Freels.

“Rodents are dirty animals and they carry a lot of germs especially in their feces and the feces can break up and become airborne,” Freels says.

Some telltale signs that there are rodents inside a home include droppings, a foul smell or signs of nesting like misplaced pieces of yarn and paper.

Freels suggests people to first check behind their insulation in the basement if they suspect a rodent infestation. Holes with dark spots or grease can also be a sign of rodent entry.

Rodents also like to hide in warm cars in peoples’ garages according to Freels.

Some other tips from Wil-Kil to avoid a rodent infestation include storing food in airtight containers, keeping homes ventilated and dry, and regularly checking underneath the hood of the car for signs of rodents.