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7 Best Tips to Rodent-Proof Your House for Fall

Experts say these are the best ways to keep mice and rats out of your house this autumn.

The first signs of fall usually signal when we start winding down time spent outdoors and begin to move back inside. But as the weather starts to get colder, people aren't the ones looking to stay warm: Rodents and pests are also still active and on the hunt for a place to get cozy. If you'd like to keep common problem areas like your basement, attic, and kitchen mouse- and rat-free this autumn, there are a few simple ways to keep them out. Read on for the best tips to rodent-proof your house for fall, according to experts.

RELATED: 8 Foods That Are Attracting Mice Inside Your Home.

Inspect your doors.

man installing front door lock

Closing and locking your doors might keep people and animals from coming and going as they please, but small rodents will have no problem sneaking under or through any holes. That's why it's essential to ensure your entryways are are sealed.

"Gaps under the doors can be solved by installing a weather strip or door sweep," says Daniel Ledezma, program lead at pest control company Anticimex Carolinas.

Besides following the manufacturer's instructions, using a flashlight to check your handiwork is also best. "The goal is to minimize light shining through, and adjustments might be needed to achieve this. You can also use a pen or pencil to measure it," he advises.

RELATED: It's Rat Season—Here Are 8 Ways to Keep Them Out of Your House.

Check for other entry points.

crack in brick foundation, signs your home is falling apart
Shutterstock/Gagarin Iurii

Your house can show its age in many ways as the elements take their toll. Unfortunately, this can also create entry points for rodents and pests.

"Before it gets too cold, fall is a good time to inspect the outside of your home, especially your foundation, exterior walls, and roof areas for any gaps, cracks, or holes," suggests Jim McHale, entomologist and president of JP McHale Pest Management.

And don't just assume a tiny opening is no problem. "If you find any openings, be sure to seal them up," McHale says. "No hole is too small: Mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime and rats the size of a quarter!"

It's also vital to use the right hardware for the job. "Make sure you fill any gaps and holes with a suitable material like steel wool first. Don't just use expanding foam and assume it will keep them out," warns James Agardy, technical and training manager at Viking Pest Control.

RELATED: 6 Things in Your Garage That Are Bringing Mice to Your Home.

Be mindful of your decorations.

hands holding jack-o-lantern on table indoors
Shutterstock/Syda Productions

Arguably, one of the best parts of fall is sprucing up your home with seasonal decorations. However, even if you're hoping to set a slightly spooky vibe, make sure you're not setting the scene for a scary rodent infestation.

"Don't leave edible holiday decorations out too long, such as pumpkins or gourds," Emory Matts, an entomologist and the rodent technical services manager for Rentokil Terminix, tells Best Life. "They look festive, but they may end up attracting mice and other pests."

RELATED: 8 Things in Your Yard That Are Attracting Snakes to Your Home.

Look for leaks.

leaking water tank
Shutterstock / Karen Hermann

Cracks, holes, and openings aren't the only household issues that can lead to rodent problems. Problems with your appliances could also be making it easier for them to get comfortable in your home.

"Repair any leaky pipes, sinks, tubs, and toilets," says McHale, who adds that they can become more apparent in the fall once condensation from summer humidity begins to die down. "Make sure there are no areas of standing water around your house that mice can use as a water source."

RELATED: 10 Most Pest-Infested U.S. Cities, New Data Shows.

Find an appropriate place for your firewood.

firewood stack
Shutterstock/Wichai Prasomsri1

The first crisp bite in the air is usually a sign you'll begin using your fireplace soon. Just make sure you're preparing correctly.

"When getting your firewood supply ready for winter, make sure that it's as far away from the house as possible and keep the area below the wood clean so mice are less likely to nest there," says Matts.

RELATED: 5 Things You're Buying That Bring Bed Bugs Into Your House, Experts Say.

Do a "fall cleaning."

Woman Getting Ready to Clean

Spring may be the season people associate with getting your house spic and span, but it's certainly not the only time you should consider doing a thorough clean. Use the arrival of fall as an excuse to get deep into the areas of your home that could become inviting for rodents and pests.

"Thoroughly vacuum all areas of your home and pay special attention to your kitchen, pantry areas, and wherever food tends to accumulate," says McHale. "And reorganizing can help, too: Be sure to store all food items in your cabinets in plastic sealable containers."

RELATED: 6 Plants Attracting Mice to Your Home.

Get your yard in order.

raking leaves on lawn
BOKEH STOCK / Shutterstock

Springtime may be when you're getting your yard ready for full bloom, but the work doesn't end just because it's fall. Staying on top of your lawn chores can go a long way in keeping mice, rats, and other pests away from your property and out of your home.

"Trim tree limbs away from the home, and keep shrubs and bushes trimmed as well," suggests Ledezma. "You should also do one last trim of excess grass and weeds around your house. And be sure to clear any leaf piles or trash, which can become sources of harborage that can encourage rodents to seek shelter near your home."

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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