We do everything big in Texas, and rodent infestations are no exception. Rodents thrive here. The climate of the Houston area is perfect for them to stay active all year. These scavengers happily prance around in our yards, explore our landscaping, and chew their way into our homes. For general information about mice, rats, and squirrels take a look at this resource page on types of rodents commonly found in Texas. The goal of this article will be to explain the process that is required to keep them out.
Mice, rats, and squirrels can get into a home from the very bottom to the very top. It depends on the type of rodent and how badly it wants to get in.
Squirrels and roof rats can scale lattice and other external structures to get up or run down a tree branch or powerline to gain access to a roof. Once there, they can chew in through eaves and soffits. A common entry point is under a roofline on a split level house where the rooflines touch and forms two triangular recesses. Rodents prefer to create their holes in hidden places.
When mice and Norway rats attack a house, it is usually from a low location but it is possible for both to climb up through the downspouts of a gutter system and access the same entry points as squirrels and roof rats. Typically, they'll enter a crawl space and chew in through a rotted spot in the base of a home. They may chew through the window frame of a basement window or the corner of a basement door frame. Wherever they choose to chew, it is likely to be in a location that is out of view, and they will do it at night while you're sleeping.
Rodents don't always chew their way in. Sometimes they squeeze their way in. You would be surprised how small a hole these creatures can take advantage of. If you have an opening in the corner of your garage door, a gap around a pipe or electrical conduit, a broken window, or a gap formed by a sagging fascia board on your roofline, they can squeeze right in.
The first step to keeping rodents out is to do a detailed inspection of your foundation and exterior walls and fix or fill in any holes, gaps, or cracks you find, even if you think they're too small to be used by a rodent.
Once holes are patched up, it is time to keep those rodents from climbing up your downspouts. Consider poking some steel mesh up in there. That will allow the water to channel out but keep rodents from climbing up.
If you have tree branches that pass over your roof, trim them back to make it difficult for rodents to leap onto your roof. If you have electrical wires, which pass through tree branches, on their way from a pole to your home, trim those branches to prevent rodents from hopping onto the wire.
Routine inspections of your garage door, window and door screens, door sweeps, and weather stripping is essential for rodent exclusion. When you see holes or gaps forming, address them.
Last, but certainly not least, it is important to make your foundation perimeter as uninviting as possible. Remove any objects that sit next to your exterior walls to prevent rodents from using them as harborage. If you have piles of objects near your outside walls, move them at least 10 feet away or store them to prevent Norway rats from creating burrows underneath. Keep bushes trimmed to make it harder for rodents to hide in the shade near your walls. And address any conditions that allow puddles to form near your home.
If you take the time to do the above exclusions, you may have all the protection you need to keep rodents out. But some residents have more rodent pressures than others. Sometimes, the only way to fully exclude them is to have assistance from a licensed pest technician. For rodent control and other pest control needs in the greater Houston area, reach out to Modern Pest Control.