How To Deter Mice From Your Houston Home This Holiday Season
The holidays are a happy time for households all over Houston. From twinkling lights to mouthwatering dinners, there’s something for everyone during late fall and early winter.
But the holidays also happen to be a happy time for pests. All the warmth, activity, and food provided by the season leads to an abundance of leftovers for creatures like cockroaches, ants, and most distastefully, mice.
Late November is often the first part of ‘mouse season’ here in Houston. With cooler weather driving warmth-loving pests indoors, you may start to notice the side effects of an infestation around vulnerable parts of your home. Garages, basements, and outbuildings are often the first to experience an infestation, followed by kitchens, pantries, and wall voids (among many other vulnerable areas).
Nobody wants a mouse infestation scurrying around their house during the holidays. With so many visiting family members and big events on the horizon, a single mouse is all it takes to turn yuletide cheer into an uncomfortable situation. That’s why the most effective way to fix a holiday mouse infestation is to stop their activity before it begins. This is usually achieved with a combination of prevention and a professional company offering mouse control in Houston.
This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about mouse control, prevention, and mitigation during the holidays. First, we go over why mice usually infest during the late fall and early winter season. Next, we explore the many prevention steps available to minimize your risks for mice. Finally, we go over why mouse infestations require the help of professionals such as Modern Pest Control.
Curious to learn more about how our team can perform Houston mouse control? We cover our mouse control and mitigation process at the bottom of this guide. For now, let’s explore why mouse infestations become more common during the fall, as well as what attracts them to your local Houston property in the first place.
Why Mice Become More Common In Houston Homes In Fall And Winter
Like all rodents, mice are incredibly clever pests with an ability to squeeze through even the tiniest cracks and gaps. They’re well aware of the changing seasons – and know the score as soon as the leaves begin to change.
Mice need food, water, and shelter in order to survive the winter. They also need plenty of quiet places to build a nest and hide their young from prying eyes. Thanks to deeply ingrained survival instincts and a strong sense of smell, these pests waste no time looking for places to overwinter during mid to late fall.
For many species, including the deer mouse, this means finding shelter wherever they can. Some take refuge in meadows with tall grasses, while others bed down in firewood stacks. If you have any piles of sticks or cut branches in the yard, you can expect to see at least one or two mice huddling nearby during the winter.
What about Houston’s recent freezing weather? Wouldn’t that be enough to cut down their populations? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Mice can survive extremely cold temperatures by entering a state known as ‘torpor,’ or animal dormancy. By slowing their metabolic rate and decreasing their physical activity, they can retain energy and body heat to survive extended cold periods. Even the great winter storm of February 2021 wasn’t enough to get rid of that many mice. Some may have succumbed to the cold, others turned to human habitations to survive the freezing onslaught.
Houston offers the perfect amount of food, water, and shelter for overwintering mice. We also offer a temperate climate and relatively mild winters compared to other locations. This means mice can expend a smaller amount of energy to successfully (and even comfortably) survive the winter.
For rodents, gaining access to our homes and outbuildings is the easiest way to ensure survival. It’s also one of the fastest, safest, and most effective methods of setting up a colony away from most predators. As of this year, Houston is the 20th most rodent-infested city in the United States.
There are a few places to watch for unwanted mouse activity in the home, especially around your windows, doors, and vents. For starters, mice can squeeze through tiny openings no bigger than the circumference of a dime. They can also chew their own openings through mesh screens, weatherproofing, and even drywall. If your wooden door has rot damage around the hinges, bottom rails, or lock stiles, you can bet mice won’t take long to start exploiting its vulnerabilities.
Vents are another entry point used by mice, particularly dryer vents and air ducts without proper screening. Any vents near vegetation or close to the ground may allow unwanted rodents to scurry inside. Even if you don’t think a certain vent could let mice inside, it’s best to assume these pests can and will try.
Now that you know why mice become more common during the holiday season, you can start employing specific ways to keep them away from your house. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to minimize your risks for mice, starting with the tried-and-true prevention steps from Modern Pest Control below.
Everything You Can Do To Minimize Your Risk For Mice
We’re not going to sugar coat it for you: keeping mice away from your Houston home is complex, time intensive, and stressful. There’s a good chance you need to sacrifice multiple weekends if you want to do it right. You also need to work with a professional pest control company to get rid of any existing infestations.
Still, mouse prevention is an extremely effective way of keeping costs down and ensuring your family’s safety. The more prevention steps you implement, the lower likelihood you have of a mouse infestation, and the higher your chances are of a mouse-free holiday.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the most effective mouse prevention tips available, starting with the easiest one to perform around the house.
- Clean up: Mice need food and water to survive, but they don’t need half as much as people and pets do. It only takes a few crumbs of food and a few drops of water to keep a mouse alive. In fact, most mice only need three grams of food per day, or eight total pounds per year. The amount of water they need is also substantially lower than a human, drinking just 5.8 milliliters of water per day (or a little over one teaspoon). If you want to ensure mice stay far away from your Houston home, you need to eliminate any excess food or water available for them to consume. Work on cleaning your kitchen each time you cook, and mop up water on the floor right away. It’s a good idea to keep your garbage bags sealed, your leftovers stored, and your dirty dishes washed.
- Seal the house: Mice are incredibly clever creatures and explore every inch of possible hiding places. Once they bump into your home while on the trail of food or water, they may spend hours or even days looking for a way to get inside. Remember, mice have nothing other to do than find a way to survive. If they think there’s a chance to get inside your home, they may continue to hunt for an entry point for weeks at a time. To stump them, be sure to seal the house with waterproof caulking and sealant. Look for any cracks or gaps near your foundation, doors, or windows, then replace your weatherstripping for extra protection. If you plan to open the windows this fall, try replacing any faulty mesh.
- Control vegetation: Outdoor landscaping is usually the first place where mice get introduced to your home. Tall shrubbery near any accessible entry points may spell disaster if these pests realize there’s a way inside. To stop this from happening, you need to trim up any landscaping next to the house and complete all your fall season chores before winter. Raking leaves and burning brush helps to remove possible rodent hiding places, while cutting back branches and stacking firewood away from the house makes it harder for mice to get into your home.
These tips can go a long way towards protecting your home from mice. However, they don’t necessarily guarantee your safety, especially with such record numbers of mice in Houston.
If you do come across a rodent infestation either inside or outside your Houston home, you need to seek professional assistance to keep your loved ones safe and protected.
Let’s look at a few reasons why.
Why Mouse Infestations Should Be Left To The Professionals
Mouse infestations in Houston are unfortunately becoming more commonplace. Thanks to a growing population and increasingly warm winters, more and more mice are finding their way inside. And if your home was experiencing a mouse infestation prior to the holiday season, there’s a good chance you have an even more serious mouse problem bubbling just below the surface.
This rapid increase in mouse activity has led hundreds of homeowners to try DIY solutions. If you look at your local general store, you likely can see what we mean – there are hundreds of shiny products for mouse control with dazzling, sweeping claims.
But just because people are trying DIY mouse control doesn’t mean it’s actually working. Unfortunately, the vast majority of home remedies and DIY infestation control fail to make any measurable impact on the mouse problem in question. Sure, there’s a chance you can trap some mice, or even stop future infestations from taking hold of your home. However, the likelihood of you removing an entire infestation is unfortunately slim to none.
This makes more sense when looking at the types of DIY mouse control on the market. For starters, many over-the-counter products target individual pests rather than full infestations. It’s possible to trap a single invading mouse, but there’s very little chance of nabbing the entire infestation.
Plus, many OTC compounds contain dubious concoctions that you may not want to leave around the house. Some aren’t safe for pets or even child-friendly, and prolonged exposure to these compounds may result in serious health problems. No need to take our word for it; you can read the label on the back of any OTC mouse control product to see what we mean.
Home remedies for mouse control may leave you with the same results. Solutions like essential oils and vinegar don’t get rid of mice – they just discourage them from coming back. Depending on how hungry the mouse is, this may not work at all.
Other home remedies such as used kitty litter can be messy, smelly, and downright dangerous. Microscopic pathogens causing toxoplasmosis may have a serious impact on you or the ones you love. Again, if mice are hungry or thirsty enough, they may take their chances and stick around anyway.
What happens if you do catch mice and need to dispose of them? Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t consider this step while battling an infestation. Removing rodent leftovers can be extremely hazardous, since it can expose you and your loved ones to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Since mice also carry secondary pests like ticks and fleas, you may spread an infestation to yourself or your home.
And another question: what happens if you catch a live mouse and need to dispose of it quickly? Again, you may be leaving yourself and your loved ones at risk. A mouse in danger of its life won’t hesitate to bite and scratch. These may require immediate medical attention to prevent bacterial infection.
You can see how relying on DIY remedies is not enough to get rid of mice. These creatures are intelligent, agile, and adaptable, which means home remedies and over the counter treatments don’t have what it takes to stomp out an entire infestation.
Your best bet is starting strong with a seasoned professional expert. And for hundreds of property owners all over Houston, that expert is Modern Pest Control.
How Professional Mouse Treatment Works
All that glitters is not gold, especially when it comes to DIY mouse control treatments. Some OTC products look great at first glance, but end up offering very little to desperate homeowners. Home remedies and natural treatments may be a good way to discourage some mice, but they certainly can’t get rid of all of them – and the risks you face may outweigh the benefits.
For all these reasons and many more, professional mouse treatments are the most effective way to remove established infestations from your home. This isn’t just conjecture, it’s the honest truth – and as you can see above, it’s much safer as well.
The expert team at Modern Pest Control has offered rodent control services for decades. Serving the homeowners of Houston with over 70 years of expertise, we’ve made short work of serious infestations and helped people just like you feel safe in their holiday homes.
We’ve spent many decades refining our approach to mouse identification, treatment, and removal. Since this is a bespoke service completed on your behalf, you never need to lift a finger to get the care you need. All you need to do is call our team; we can handle the rest of the mouse control process.
Here’s what happens once you call Modern Pest Control:
- We always perform a free inspection so we can get to the bottom of your mouse infestation. Once our representative reaches your home, they take their time introducing themselves and learning more about your needs. You may notice them hunting for signs of rodents in breezeways, checking all your utility access points, and looking for openings along your roofline.
- With a mouse infestation now clearly identified, your assigned representative gets right to work on solutions. They may explain the importance of our strategically-placed trapping devices so you can better understand how the process works. We install a number of stations around your property to catch mice by using their instincts against them. Since we manage this entire process from beginning to end, you never need to dispose of a single rodent.
- Our service doesn’t stop after we’ve caught your final mouse. Instead, we begin working on a comprehensive exclusion service to keep you safe for the long haul. We use heavy gauge screens and metal screws to stop future pests from wiggling inside. We also guarantee our rodent control methods for your peace of mind. If you notice any re-opened entry points after we’ve treated your home, give us a call! We promise to return to your property and re-seal these exclusion points free of charge. Please keep in mind this is an extendable warranty if you would like additional protection.
Are you ready to have a happy holiday that’s 100% free of mice? Modern Pest Control is standing by to provide the care and assistance you need.
Give us a call today to get started and to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Houston. We’re available by phone during our business hours, or anytime through our online contact form. Rest assured we’ll get back to you shortly.