There are three pests that make themselves apparent each winter in homes as they forage for food and warmth. They are the most common pests to invade homes in the cold winter months and each year surprise homeowners when they are spotted them in the spring. These three pests are cunning and often have new and inventive ways to wiggle into a home. Consider these tips to keep rats, mice and squirrels out of your house.
Getting to know the big three
This Old House noted that these three pests account for more than 80 percent of infestations in homes. Each pest has its own way of wiggling into a home. For mice, it only takes a hole that is a one-quarter inch. For rats, it still doesn't take much - three-quarters of an inch will do. Squirrels need the most room, wiggling through 2-and-one-half- inch-holes. Mice and rats share a few common spots of entry that they may try when looking for shelter. These include garages, basements and holes near utility pipes. Squirrels may try a few different areas, including openings in a roof or underneath shingles.
There are a few common signs that one of these big three are in a house. Mice will leave behind droppings the size of a grain of rice and cause the area they've infested to smell like urine. You also might hear the sounds of gnawing at night. Rats will also leave droppings behind, but they'll most likely be the size of a raisin. Homeowners may also notice black smudges around rats' entry and hear skittering at night. As for squirrels, homeowners may notice pieces of their insulation missing or hear noises coming from their attic, the Humane Society of the United States noted.
Pest Control tips
Homeowners may have to try a few different ways to keep pests out depending on the type of pest they're dealing with. For mice, homeowners may have to stuff holes with copper mesh or bronze wool. Keep rats out with steel wool. Push squirrels out by trimming trees away from the house and repairing any loose shingles. Homeowners can also stop their problems from starting by preventing these pests from coming into their house. Cut off any sources of water, keep pet food hidden and place all stored food in airtight containers that can't be penetrated by a pest's teeth.