We have all had a pesky roommate, or have at least heard a story about someone who has. They get into your stuff, eat your food, make a mess around your house, and are, well, gross. While humans can be reasoned with, rodents and pests, on the other hand, cannot. However, while it seems tempting to go straight for the poisons and traps, there are better alternatives that will protect your children or pets, and the animals themselves. Here are preventative measures and ways to protect your home from rodents and pests.

What are some common rodents and pests?

Pests and rodents come in many forms and sizes. Some of the more common household pests include:

  • Raccoons
  • Bees/wasps
  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Skunks
  • Mice/rats
  • Silverfish
  • Bed bugs
  • Flies/fruit flies/drain flies
  • Ants
  • Maggots
  • Centipedes

1. Make your home less appealing to rodents and pests

First, there are so many places in and around a typical household that tiny pests and rodents may find appealing. Therefore, you must start by making your indoor and outdoor spaces less inviting for little critters. Start by removing items that are stacked against the foundation of the building. Rodents and pests are drawn to food and shelter. So, places with secure small openings are what they look for first. Also, please look at your plants and consider thinning them or eliminating them as they are an attractive food source.

2. Locate potential entry points for rodents and pests

Now that you have secured your yard, time to ensure rodents do not find their way inside. Remember, no crevice is too small; even holes as big as a coin are big enough for rats and mice to sneak into. You can start to protect your home by walking around the exterior of your home, looking around both the ground and roofline. Don’t forget rodents are excellent climbers. If you locate these entry points, you can use one of these methods to seal up the crack:

  • Stuffing steel wool and then plaster
  • Metal weather strips (windows, bottoms of door frames, chimneys)
  • Fine mesh metal screening (vents, soffits)

3. Change how you store food

One way to help protect your home from unwanted guests is to store your food in either glass or plastic containers. This way, the smell of the food won’t invite unwanted critters, making your home look like an easy target for pests and rodents. At the same time, one of the most common offenders is non-perishable items, such as open bags of chips, rice, cereal, crackers, etc. Here are some other examples:

  • Fruits and vegetables that are in bowls or outside of the refrigerator
  • Open trash/compost bins
  • Food and water for your pets that are left out overnight
  • Leaky pipes/faucets

Pests, such as silverfish, drain flies, fruit flies or cockroaches are all examples of pests that are attracted to lingering food particles. Silverfish, for example, can be found in moist areas, like your bathrooms. They can survive off starches and protein-rich items, including grains, fabrics, sugars, vegetables, and fibers.

4. Make sure to maintain your home

According to the Safe Rodent Control Resource Center, three primary steps exist to maintain a pest and rodent-free household:

a) Prevent

The first step involves the steps mentioned previously in this article. We recommend sealing any entryways into your home, maintaining your yard or outdoor spaces, and storing all food securely.

b) Identify

The second step involves looking around your home for signs of pests or rodents. Look for small droppings and nesting materials, such as shredded paper or fabric.

c) Treat

The final step is treating the problem by giving different and less harmful methods of removing pests and rodents. Visit the Government of Canada‘s website for more information on different traps and how to further protect your home from pests and rodents. Additionally, you can research your local pest control or animal rescue service to retrieve sick or injured animals outside your home.

Why is protecting your home from rodents and pests important now?

Not only are animals carriers of diseases, such as rabies and the deadly Hantavirus, but also because of the recent increase of sick critters. One of these is a sickness found in raccoons called Distemper, and it is incurable for any raccoon or canine. Therefore, if you have a four-legged friend who is bitten by a sick raccoon and they become infected, it is unfortunately almost always fatal. Euthanasia is usually the only option. Distemper attacks the animal’s respiratory, digestive and nervous systems, transferrable through the blood or saliva of the infected raccoon. Look out for symptoms, like constant drooling or low coordination, as well as being unfazed by any human interaction, especially during the daytime.

Protecting your home from pests and rodents protects you and your pets from disease. Especially as the weather gets warmer, it’s essential to remember that you are not the only one who is trying to avoid the heat. So, before you reach for pesticides or inhumane traps that are bad for the environment and animals, consider rodent- and pest-proofing your home first.

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