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They say a person’s home is their castle, and this winter, your castle could be under siege! Even worse, the invaders are clever, quick, and worst of all, endless. No matter how many of your foes you cut down, more and more will pour through the breach. We are of course talking about mice, albeit rather dramatically. With temperatures dropping, our opportunistic foe is growing desperate to creep their way into any warm place they can find. They’d love nothing better than to shack up with you and snuggle up all winter long. Don’t be fooled by their adorable little faces, however--these furballs are nothing but trouble. As with any siege, stopping the foes who have already breached your walls is only half the battle. If you truly want to secure your castle, you have to seal the breach. This means finding where the mice are getting into your home in the first place, and making sure that entrance is no longer accessible to them. In this endeavour, consider Plunkett’s your Master-at-arms, training your castle’s defenders the proper strategies for turning back the furry tide!

Patrolling the Perimeter

The first step to mouse proofing is finding where the little dastards are infiltrating your abode. Mice can squeeze themselves through cracks and gaps that are ¼ of an inch, and are extremely good at finding their way into houses. You have to be better. Walk the perimeter of your house, inside and outside, looking for any gaps in or foundation or wall. Check especially carefully around where utilities like sewage or gas pipes enter the house. Make sure your outer doors, windows, and garage doors are all completely sealed when closed. Mice love to sneak under incomplete or loose sealing. If your door and window frames have gaps, even very small gaps, that’s one more possible entrance. While you’re at it, look for any tears or small holes in your screens. After you’ve done the rounds, look specifically at any exposed insulation for tears or damage, and scan walls and ceilings for any faint stains.

Forensic Investigation

Now that you’ve patrolled the ramparts, it’s time to look inward. Go to the areas where you think are the most likely culprits for aiding and abetting mouse infiltration. Feel for any drafts. Turn off all the lights and cover all the windows. Look for any source of light. Even a tiny sliver in the corner of the ceiling could be where mice are finding their way in. When the lights are back on, line the floor with a light coat flour or talcum powder. Mice that scamper across it will leave a trail you can follow back to their foul nests. Look for droppings in neglected corners, or under furniture or boxes. While you’re turning your house upside down to look for droppings, make note of any tearing or chew marks in mattresses, furniture, fabric, or electrical wiring. If your curtains have damage on the inside of them, that could be where mice are climbing (sorry for this image). Finally, if you wanna get really CSI, try an ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet will make mouse urine glow in the dark. If you want to see, to a rather uncomfortable degree, exactly where mice have been and what they’ve been doing, this is your high-tech solution. Cats can actually detect UV light. It’s how they hunt their prey, and one reason why they’re so much better at catching mice than we are.

Sealing the Breach

Now that you’ve (hopefully) identified every nook and cranny where mice are sneaking in, it’s time to cut them off. Use the appropriate sealants for each gap--such as steel wool, contact cement, concrete, sheet metal, or caulk--and fill in any gaps and cracks you found. If you think the repair might be substantial, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. Repair or replace screens and rubber seals that have rubbed away. Reinforce any worn insulation, making sure you leave no hollow points or gaps, no matter how small. Be especially careful around gas and electrical appliances, wiring, and lines. Hopefully, it’s obvious why. You don’t want to make a bigger problem for yourself when you’re trying to solve a little (no pun intended) one.     

Preparing for the Wars to Come

Now you’ve broken your rascally rodent rival’s siege of your domain. Well done! However, this is not the time to grow complacent. There’s a reason why mice have survived centuries of our best efforts to cull them: their persistence. To prepare for your foe’s inevitable return, you have to get proactive. Make your home unattractive to opportunistic critters. Take down bird feeders, especially during the winter (what are you feeding with that thing, anyway?). Take a walk through your yard every week or two and remove fallen seeds, nuts, or fruits. Store your firewood high off the ground and far enough from your home that it can’t be the forward operating base for any rodent raiding parties. Store your food in tightly sealed plastic or tupperware containers. Sweep or vacuum up crumbs and food remains promptly, and don’t leave food out. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. In fact, if you can tidy up your house generally, especially your basement, attic, and any other areas that don’t receive much foot traffic, you’ll be depriving mice of valuable hiding places. Lastly, put your preferred mouse trap out in likely locations.    Hopefully, following all of these steps will help you hold off the hairy hordes harassing your home. However, if you have a vermin problem you think is too progressed to deal with on your own, or your paranoid that those little jerks are planning something big, there’s no shame in calling on your allies for aid. The professionals here at Plunkett’s have been waging our own 100 year war against these bitter, bitey blights. We’d be all too happy to break their siege on your castle. For more information on vermin control, check our site. To schedule a consultation, contact us here. Good luck defending your castle. When you catch up to the little hooligans, tell them Plunkett’s sends their regards.  

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