House mice are the most common rodent pests of households in Maine and throughout the United States. Norway rats, deer mice and white-footed mice are less common pests of homes, but they are still considered medically significant household pests. All these rodent pests are known for transmitting a variety of disease-causing microorganisms within homes, especially through contact with their feces. Residents who suspect that their home is infested with rodent pests should follow four simple steps to evict the pests and keep them out for good.

A thorough inspection of a home is always the first step in addressing a rodent infestation. Infestations are rarely noticed by spotting the rodents themselves, as rats and mice are well adapted to exploiting indoor hiding spots; instead, residents should seek out the presence of rodent tracks, fecal pellets, holes in interior and exterior walls that lead to nesting sites, and gnaw marks on food packages, wood, plaster and furniture.

Step two involves keeping indoor food sources in areas where they cannot be accessed by rodents. Human food, pet food and birdseed should be well sealed within glass or plastic containers, and indoor and outdoor garbage receptacles should be tightly sealed. Beverage spills and food scraps should be removed from obscured areas, such as beneath appliances and within furniture cushions.

Step three involves eliminating the rodent pests already present within a home. Experts recommend setting snap traps with peanut butter bait along wall edges and near known entryways to their nesting sites. Setting traps at night before going to sleep is ideal, as rodent pests are nocturnal and they only forage within homes while humans are inactive.

Step four involves tactics to prevent rodents from gaining access into a home. Sealing interior and exterior wall crevices with caulk or other reliable sealants is the best way to prevent rodent invasions. Any exterior or interior wall opening as small as a nickel in diameter provides mice with an entry point into a home and wall voids. Installing door sweeps will prevent mice and rats from squeezing into homes through door gaps, and installing screen barriers on crawl space openings is particularly important, as numerous entry points can be found in crawl spaces.

Do you take measures to prevent rodents from invading your home?