With winter on the horizon, it’s time to protect your home from mice. According to one pest control service, the city of Houston is ranked as the twentieth worst city for rodents in America. And of course, whether it’s them gnawing on your electrical wires or carrying (and spreading) many diseases including Salmonella, the threat to your house is very real. Never assume that it’s only one mouse either – where there’s smoke, there’s fire! In just eight to ten weeks, a female mouse becomes sexually mature, having the ability to produce ten litters of up to sixteen young critters each. So before the temperature drops and they come looking for a place to stay warm, make sure your property is secure from these awful rodents with these helpful tips.

  1. Look for holes and plug them

Did you know that all it takes is a hole the size of a dime (a quarter for a rat) for a mouse to penetrate your home? In terms of gaps, the width of a fountain pen is all they need to squeeze through. That’s why the very first thing you need to do is walk around your house and identify any potential entry points. To plug them, there are many products on the market from stainless steel weep hole covers to wire wool embedded in cement.

  1. Protect your food

If you’re one of those ‘extreme couponer’ types that likes to store numerous cereal boxes and flour bags in your basement, you need to make sure that these items are protected so mice can’t help themselves to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not only will they get into them, keep in mind that they contaminate much more than they consume. One easy solution is to buy large see-through storage bins and place all your non-canned food items into them.

  1. Sweep your floors and keep your house clean

Mice are very sporadic feeders, nibbling away at many sources of food. They don’t need water because they are able to obtain enough moisture from the crumbs and scraps that are carelessly left on your floor. So make it a habit to sweep your floors regularly, be sure that your food is stored properly, and clean your kitchen counters and floors with disinfectants.

  1. Seal your garbage bins

In addition to the food stored inside your home, make sure that your waste bins are firmly fastened, whether they be in your garage or outside. Garbage is the perfect hybrid for a mouse: food and shelter. Also, you may want to place poison traps next to your garbage bins.

  1. Cut down any long trees

Mice are excellent climbers. So while you’re looking at holes to plug on the ground level, be on the look out for anything they can climb up in order to get to the roof of your home. For example, if there’s a tree nestled up against your house, you might want to consider cutting it down.