If you're struggling to get your home rodent-free by using traps or other control methods, you should consider exclusion. Exclusion is the act of sealing up openings in the exterior of your house to "exclude" pests from your home.
Checking for Openings
Rodents are incredibly clever when it comes to finding openings into your home. The following openings are common access points for rodents and should be treated by exclusion:
- Any opening over ¼ of an inch (for mouse control)
- Any opening over ½ of an inch (for rat control)
- Warped doors or holes broken through the door material
- Vents without screens
- Spaces underneath doors (over ¼ and ½ of an inch)
- Openings around home access points (utility lines, drain pipes, and air conditioning vents)
- Any opening on the roof (ventilators, vents, and broken shingles)
- Around the bottom of your deck
Simple Exclusion Techniques
The nice thing about most exclusion techniques is that they are relatively simple: even someone with very little home care experience can implement them in their home. Utilize the following exclusion technique to seal up the openings around your home:
- Measure the opening size using a tape measure and add about ½ of an inch to the size
- Cut a piece of galvanized hardware cloth about ¼ or ½ of an inch and staple or nail it over the hole.
- Lay the narrow end of a heavy patio block against the mesh to hold it tightly.
While hardware cloth is appropriate for most openings, you can also use copper landscaping mesh. It not only is tougher than hardware cloth but also has small openings that allow better airflow in and out of the opening.
Inspecting After Installation
After you have finished implementing exclusion on your home, you need to inspect the treated openings every few months to ensure they are still in place. Start by checking each sealed opening for bite marks, scratches, or natural breaks. Often, rodents that used those openings to enter your home will attack the mesh to try to regain entry.
While rodents aren't likely to break through copper wire exclusion mesh in one go, they may be able to damage it over time. If any of your mesh covers have frays, small breaks, or have pulled away from the home, remove them immediately and install new mesh.
Following these simple techniques should help keep your home rodent-free for years. And if you already have rodents in your home, this technique traps them inside and makes it easier to catch them with other rodent control techniques, including professional care. Essentially, it's a win-win!