How to keep critters out of your home (plus a giveaway)
Last year, we launched Mission: Squirrel Eradication after discovering a family of vermin had taken up residence in our attic and were partying like it’s 1999.
I caught this guy staring at me through our master bedroom window. Creepy, right?
The party was over, however, when we discovered how much stinkin’ damage these cute, furry “limb rats” had caused. The squirrels had gnawed through a substantial amount of our wiring! If you’re in the mood for a laugh, you can read all about our squirrel saga and my painful attic excursion here.
So this year, as temperatures drop and people aren’t the only ones rushing to get indoors out of the cold, I’m getting a lot more serious about keeping critters from getting into our house in the first place.
Apparently, experts agree that exclusion – creating physical barriers against rodents and pests to keep them out of a home – is more effective than attempting to remove them once they’ve made it inside. Uh. Yea, I believe that. It’s also a whole lot cheaper, I’m sure.
Here are a few other interesting facts about rodents courtesy of Xcluder™ Rodent and Pest Defense:
- Rodents can squeeze through an opening as small as 1/4 inch, climb wires and rough surfaces, jump considerable distances and gnaw through wood, fiberglass, plastic and even certain concrete.
- In the United States, rats cause an estimated $19 billion per year in damages.
- Given adequate food and shelter, a single pair of rats can multiply into 640 within a year.
- Rats bite more than 45,000 people each year.
- Some experts believe the total number of rats living in the United States is as high as 1.25 billion. Ew.
- It’s estimated that 25 percent of all fires attributed to “unknown causes” are probably started by rodents gnawing on gas lines, electrical wiring and matches.
- Rats can exert the same jaw pressure as an adult crocodile, which is why they can chew through lead pipes.
- Rats can tread water for as long as three or four days, and they can swim more than half a mile. It is not uncommon for them to access a home through the toilet. Terrifying.
- House mice constantly give off micro-droplets of urine as they travel around a home. Ew again.
- A female house mouse can birth up to a dozen babies every three weeks – as many as 150 a year.
- The most common rodent entryways include brick weep holes, exterior doors, open garage doors, windows, air vents, fireplaces, and at points where electrical, water, gas, sewer, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning lines enter a home.
So I got myself an Xcluder Rodent and Pest Barrier Kit and went on a mission to look for any crevices around our home where rodents might attempt to squeeze in.
I found a spot right away where our HVAC system enters our basement. We’ve already had issues with bees getting in through this hole, so I figured there’s no time like the present to plug it.
The Xcluder kit comes with a 4-inch by 3-foot piece of material, scissors and a set of gloves.
I trimmed a piece of the material to fit the space, then shoved it into the hole.
Done. Apparently, in addition to rodents, this stuff is also effective against flying insects (bees, check), bats and crawling insects. Also, unlike steel wool, it won’t rust or degrade over time, and it compresses during installation to “spring back” once in place to create a more effective seal.
I still have to make a trip to the attic, sigh, to check for and plug some holes up there. I’m hoping this stuff does the trick and the rodents stay outside where they belong this year.
If you want to take a proactive approach to keep critters from getting into your home this winter (I recommend this approach over trying to get them out), the folks at Xcluder are giving away four Xcluder Rodent and Pest Barrier kits to four lucky blog readers.
You can enter to win one below:
This giveaway will be open for entries until 11:59 p.m. (EST) Nov. 20. Winners must respond within 72 hours of being chosen or a new winner will be selected.
Or if you don’t want to wait for the giveaway to get a kit, you can purchase one here.
Special thanks to Xcluder for providing me with barrier kits for my home and this giveaway.