Keep those mice out of the home

When the cold weather hits, vermin seek out warm places to live – and they often head for someone’s home by sneaking in via all manner of tiny gaps in the property.

The tell-tale signs include the sound of scratching inside your walls and small black droppings, often found in the kitchen or pantry.

According to a report by the RACV, rats and mice spread more than 35 diseases, including salmonella, and the blighters can cause costly damage, especially if they nibble through electrical wiring (in your home or car).

RACV’s head of home and business insurance, Kirsty Hayes, says a rodent check should be carried out at least twice a year.

“Check around your home and gardens for any signs of droppings, chewed materials, strange odours, tracks, nests, or scratching,” she says.

“To prevent a rodent infestation, remove or securely cover all sources of food, water and shelter such as compost scraps, leaky pipes and excess foliage. Any food sources, including pet food, should be stored in airtight containers.”

Hayes says mice can squeeze into gaps as small as 8mm, so be vigilant about filling even the tiniest cracks and holes in your foundations, walls and roof with caulk or filler.

“Cut back any trees, shrubs, or other vegetation that touch your home,” Hayes says. “Rodents can use these to climb into your home.”

Hayes says that if end up with a rodent problem, traits and baits can help you control it. 

“Place traps in areas where you have seen signs of rodent activity,” she says. “If you’re using mouse traps, place them along the walls where the rodents travel with the bait end facing the wall, so they’re tempted to explore them.

“If the problem persists, you may need to contact a pest control professional for help. Remember, the crucial step in preventing a rodent infestation is to act as soon as you suspect you have a problem. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to control.”