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The thought of a mouse or rat invasion makes many people squeamish, but fortunately, these furry pests prefer to stay outdoors where they can feed on fresh vegetation. Rodents typically enter homes only when they've run out of food sources in their natural habitats. So if you've seen mice or rats around the outside of your home, it's a good idea to take a few preventative measures to keep them from joining you indoors.
First, don't make the exterior of your home cozy for rodents. Eliminate piles of firewood, bricks, stones, leaves or other debris near your home's foundation. Rodents love these harborages and can easily sneak into your home through vents, pipes and other openings. If storing firewood for the winter, keep only a few days' supply near the house, and store the rest away from your home.
Repair or seal holes and cracks in your home's exterior or foundation. Anything larger than 1/4 of an inch is large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Before sealing, stuff the hole with wire mesh or steel wool in case the rodent is strong enough to chew through the caulking.
Make sure all doors have tight-fitting weather stripping to keep rodents from crawling in through the opening between door and floor.
Place mousetraps in areas where mice and rats are likely to enter - especially the garage. Your Terminix professional can recommend particular types. The wind-up mousetrap can catch up to 15 mice as they enter, making it a popular choice among homeowners.
Hiring a professional pest control company to regularly inspect for the signs of rodent activity can help prevent this nuisance. Terminix's pest control services include this periodic screening, as well as the use of preventative control measures.
Mice and rats differ mostly by size, with mice being generally smaller than rats. And this smaller size makes mice more frequent home invaders than rats. The House Mouse is the most common mouse found indoors. It will both feed and breed indoors, so long as it can find a sustainable source of food. The other two most common types of mice - the Deer Mouse and the White-footed Mouse - are closely related species. These two types are more likely to be found outdoors, but they are also frequent carriers of infectious diseases, such as Lyme Disease and the hantavirus, so it's extremely important not to handle these mice - dead or alive - with your bare hands.
There are quite a few species of rats, but again, due to their larger size, these rodents stay mostly outdoors.
Here's a list of the most common rodents found in the U.S.:
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