Such was the case this weekend when our lovely cool weather inspired me to both gut and scrub the garage following our discovery of mice inside my husband's antique car restoration project (and we are still jonesing for some of Walnut Pointe's reportedly excessive selection of outdoor cats... apparently nobody has sent any our way yet).
Along with the remedial effort, there's the issue of how to keep mice out in the future. It's no good simply cleaning up after them - you have to make sure that their food and shelter supply chains are broken.
The most important measure is to ensure that no food is available on or near the premises, as I explained in this post from just about a year ago. We never (ever) leave dog food out, and I don't believe that any of my neighbors do either, so I'm not sure what the attraction is (or was) to our particular house at this time, but let me not digress.
The second measure is to create a condition in which there is no shelter available to them. You have to close off all entry points to the house and garage. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Reportedly, mice can squeeze through any opening in the house that is dime-sized or larger. Rats can enter via a quarter-sized hole or larger.
|Yer gonna need one of these for this next investigative task.|
The usual limitation applies here: I am not a licensed exterminator and this blog post is not a substitute for professional advice. This is simply an anecdotal description of my own situation, and only a partial description at that. Rodents can do tremendous damage to your house if not properly managed. Get a professional opinion for your particular situation.
One of the biggest potential rodent entry points is that both-blessing-and-curse, slab-on-grade creation known as the weep hole.
|When I bought my first house many years ago, I was horrified to see holes all along the base of the brick work!! I thought it was just the product of sloppy brick-laying and didn't understand until a neighbor explained to me that these were intentionally included and are necessary for ventilation. Screengrab of a weep hole from Wikipedia.|
|Done properly, most of them should be fairly narrow, such as this one...|
Given that air flow must not be impeded, one of the approaches for dealing with these is to loosely stuff them with copper wool.
|You can buy it at pest management stores or online. This particular product is actually called Stuff-Fit, with the name eluding to the intended usage.|
- It's chew-proof (or at least chew-resistant).
- It's loosely woven so it still allows air to flow through it.
- It won't rust and stain the side of your house like a steel product would.
|Copper wool in abstracto. |
Quite pretty, isn't it??
|A finger placed just inside the hole still felt cool, suggesting that air was still moving well across the now-stuffed area.|