Keep the warmth in and the rodents out: 8 pest control tips for winter

We say winter, you say …

You may say something along the lines of hot chocolate, blankets, heaters or movies on the couch, but we say rodent control! While the colder season may be free of flying pests such as mosquitoes, flies and stinging insects, winter has its own set of problems. Rats, mice, cockroaches and spiders make their way inside in search of warmth and shelter — which is less than desirable.

These pest control tips for winter are here to save your home from gnawed furniture, defecation, chewed electrical wiring and destroyed insulation and wood.

The winter surprise you don’t want

Rats and mice are not animals that hibernate during winter. These rodents stay active throughout the year. And if the conditions in your home are hospitable, they may very well decide to move their activities inside your house — it is not just you that wants to huddle indoors when the weather is dismal. Rodents are on the lookout for a warm spot to call home, as well. Avoid the unpleasant sight of rats darting out from under the staircase, or signs of mice scurrying around kitchen cupboards by using our pest control tips for winter. Keep these unwanted invaders out with a few simple housekeeping practices.

Pest control tips for winter

1. Give your home a good clean, and keep it up

The one thing about rodents is that they love the crumbs left behind on the countertop or the spilt coffee unwiped from the bedroom side table. The best defence against rodents is a clean environment. Eliminating mess can remove the odours that unwanted rodents are attracted to. Clean your home regularly, paying special attention to the kitchen. Don’t ignore easy-to-forget areas, including under the toaster and by the base of your fridge, oven and bin.

Give your home a good clean

2. Search for rodent shelter hot spots

Rodents on the search for a warm and cosy new place to sleep will easily make themselves at home inside your home. Leave rodents no temptation to claim a new shelter by clearing out places such as woodpiles, leaf piles, shrubs or debris. Check for gaps, holes and loose-fitting doors in your home and out in the garage or garden shed. Rats can enlarge a small gap by gnawing on it with their teeth and thus gain entry into your space. Mice can easily squeeze through gaps the size of a pencil.

Mice and rats thrive in areas with clutter, which provide plenty of convenient hiding spots — especially in parts of the home that don’t serve as primary living spaces such as garages. Start by clearing out stacks of old newspapers and other junk to make these areas less attractive. Pick up piles of laundry from the floors, remove boxes clustered together and make sure your stored items are organised and elevated off the ground.

3. Remove sources of water

A warm spot is inviting but an easily accessible source of water is just as appealing to rodents. Rats need to drink up to 60 ml of water every day! If you have a dripping outside tap, potted plants with saucers, or watering cans with excess water in them rats and mice will make use of them as a source of water.

4. Store Your Goodies

Another one of the most suitable pest control tips for winter is to avoid providing a feast for hungry rodents by ensuring all of your food is stored in sealed containers to discourage easy access. An often neglected attractant is dog and cat food, a common lure for mice and rats. Remember to keep pet food sealed just as you do with your family’s food.

5. Elevate your braai wood

Winter braais are a favourite in South Africa, and burning wood to warm up your evenings is a beloved tradition. If you do these things, you probably keep a stockpile of wood at the ready. Unfortunately, firewood is a popular hideout for mice and rats. Elevate your logs at least 40 cm off the ground and store them away from your house to remove rodent-friendly conditions.

Elevate your braai wood

6. Maintain landscaping

Garden maintenance is just as necessary to keep your house rodent-free. Trim any branches that hang close to your house as they could provide rats with easy access to your roof. Additionally, you’ll want to cut back ivy or other climbing vines from the side of your house. Mice are also adept at climbing rough perpendicular surfaces and thin cables or wires, so be sure to check on that. Tidy up any dense vegetation and clear weeds and leaf piles to provide lurking rodents with fewer hiding places.

7. Install a brush strip

Adding brush strips to exterior doors is another one of our great pest control tips for winter, to prevent rodents from entering your home. A top tip for an easy installation is to use the brush strips with adhesive strips rather than screws. By obstructing the small gaps at the base, which are especially common with older doors, mice will have fewer ways to get inside. Plus, this manoeuvre will also save you money this winter by keeping the heat inside!

8. Seal your bins

Keep rubbish in tightly sealed bins, as rodents have a keen sense of smell and food waste in plastic bin bags will soon be found, offering them a feast.

Continue to follow these pest control tips for winter and you are less likely to be greeted by a small furry rodent on your way to the bathroom one night. However, sometimes those sneaky little mice or rats may outwit all of your preventive methods and sneak their way into your space. If this happens, Efekto can help you send those pesky rodents packing!


Rat-a-tat-tat, Eco Rat to the rescue

Eco Rat is our ready-to-use rodenticide soft block bait for the control of mice and rats in and around your home, including strains resistant to anticoagulants. Used with our Eco Rat Bait Station for full effectiveness, these are strong, reusable, durable stations that can be placed indoors or outdoors. The bait station can lock to keep children and pets away from the bait, assisting in eliminating risk, however, the station should still be placed in an area inaccessible to children and non-target species.

This block bait handles infestations faster than conventional rodenticides and is highly effective against invulnerable rats and mice. There is a much lower risk of secondary owl poisoning when using this product.

As the rats forage for food and look for a new shelter in the garden and home, they will enter the stations and consume the bait. Continue to use these stations until rodent activity stops and be sure to keep the entry holes parallel and close to the wall.

Rodent-proof your home for winter

Rodent-proof your home for winter

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