Tips and Strategies
Rodent-Proofing Your Home
Get pointers on how to eliminate food sources, minimize rodent habitats, and block them from getting in.
Everyone Strives for a Rodent-Free Home
A happy home is one that's free from rodents—and you want to keep it that way, whether you've never had a rat or mouse problem or you've just overcome one. Rodent-proofing your home, apartment, farm, or other buildings involves identifying and eliminating the conditions that make it possible for rats and mice to survive - mainly their food, water and shelter. Once you know the problem areas, follow these four simple steps to prevent mice, rats, and other rodents from entering your home.
Quick Guide to Rodent Prevention
- Don’t leave rodents anything to eat or drink.
- Remove the places rodents like to live.
- Block potential entrances to your home.
- Put bait stations around your home’s perimeter.
How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Home
1. Remove Sources of Food & Water
Improving sanitation conditions is one of the best ways to prevent and to get rid of rodent problems. Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders that will eat any food discarded by humans. Eliminating their sources of food and water is critical to controlling them.
- Pick up trash and discarded food.
- Keep tightly sealed lids on garbage cans.
- Store pet and bird food in sealed containers.
- Get rid of standing water by filling holes or low spots in the yard where puddles might form and by properly storing or covering buckets, pools, or other containers.
- Clean up spilled food in cupboards and on floors.
- Keep counters and food preparation areas clear of food at night.
- Use kitchen trash cans with lids.
- Keep all food packages tightly sealed.
2. Get Rid of Rodent Habitats
Eliminate rodent habitats in and around your home.
- Remove clutter and debris.
- Keep grass, shrubs, and other vegetation around your home trimmed.
- Trim overhanging trees that cause shadowy areas where rodents feel protected.
- Clear out boxes and other clutter in basements and storage areas.
- Store materials off the floors on shelves, wherever possible.
3. Keep Rodents From Entering Cracks & Crevices
Prevent rodents from entering through cracks and crevices. Identify areas that need to be sealed or blocked to keep rats and mice out. Rats can fit through an opening about the size of a nickel. Mice can squeeze through an area smaller than a dime. So, be sure to conduct a thorough inspection of your home - inside and out.
- Repair holes in the foundation of your home, garage or other affected buildings as well as exterior & interior walls.
- Seal any openings over 1/4" - particularly around doors & windows.
- Install self-closing devices on frequently used doors.
- Install vinyl or rubber seals under garage doors to eliminate gaps.
- Weather-strip gaps in doorways leading into buildings.
- Make sure that the areas around pipes, drains and vents are tightly sealed.
- Chimneys should to be capped and kept in good condition.
- Spray potential points of entry, such as doors, windows, pipes, cracks, crevices, and vents, with Tomcat® Repellents Rodent Repellent Ready-To-Use. It uses essential oils to deter mice and rats from entering your home. Repeat application every 30 days.
As you go about plugging, sealing and repairing your home, you can use a variety of rodent-proofing materials to complete the job, including:
- Steel Wool
- Hardware Cloth - 19 gauge or heavier
- Perforated Metal - 24 gauge thickness
- Sheet Metal (galvanized) - 26 gauge thickness or heavier
- Cement Mortar - 1:3 mixture or richer
4. Use Bait Stations
Some areas are just more prone to repeated rodent problems, like those close to wooded areas or are located in urban centers. Rodents tend to enter homes as the weather starts to get cooler in the fall. To help control rodents around the outside perimeter of your home, place bait stations approved for outdoor use, like the Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer Child & Dog Resistant, Disposable Station or Tomcat® Mouse Killer Child & Dog Resistant, Disposable Station, in areas where rodents may try to enter your home such as near windows or vents. A single Tomcat bait block kills a lot of rodents. Each 4-oz. bait block in the Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer station will kill up to 10 rats*, and each 1-oz. bait block in the Tomcat® Mouse Killer station will kill up to 12 mice*. For larger rodent infestations, Tomcat also offers refillable rat and mouse bait stations.
*Based on no-choice laboratory testing