If you know how to keep your apartment warm and which supplies you need during the colder months, then your apartment is mostly winter-ready. Yes, with the right insulation and supplies, your apartment will be warm, but there’s a potential downside to this: Rodents may try to enter your apartment to escape the cold. This doesn’t mean rodents will come inside – if you rodent-proof your apartment for winter, pests may be more likely to stay out.
Are rodents in your apartment really that bad?
Nobody likes having rodents in their apartment, but these pests are more than just a nuisance. In fact, mice and rats can spread over 35 diseases. Mice can carry bacteria like salmonella in their saliva, urine, and feces, and in rare cases, the life-threatening hantavirus can be transmitted as well.
Five steps to rodent-proof your apartment
Now that you know why rodents in your apartment can be a health hazard, here are several steps you can take to greatly decrease the chances of rodents finding their way into your apartment:
1. Seal holes and gaps
It’s important to seal cracks and gaps to prevent rodents from entering your apartment. Rats, and especially mice, have small skulls and flexible backbones, making it easy for them to squeeze through holes as small as six millimeters in diameter. Since they can sneak through such small spaces, you should seal all holes larger than a quarter-inch. If your lease allows, you can seal any cracks in your walls with wire mesh or steel wool.
Rodents are also excellent at climbing and getting into unusual places. You should thus close any holes bigger than a quarter-inch that lead to an air conditioning unit. Additionally, if your door screens and window screens have tears, repairing them can reduce the chances of rodents climbing through your window. If your apartment has a chimney, you can also place a cap over its exterior entry.
2. Weatherstrip your doors
You can buy a door draft stopper or make your own door seal strip to prevent rodents and other pests from entering your apartment. Some weatherstripping materials, such as felt and foam, are easy to install, whereas aluminum or stainless steel door sweeps and tension seals – which are more durable – are not as easy to install. No matter the material you choose, you should add sweeps or draft stoppers to multiple doors in your apartment.
3. Keep your apartment clean
If you keep your apartment clean, you can greatly reduce the chances of rodents entering. A tidy apartment gives rodents fewer places to hide, and cleanliness may also prevent rodents from being attracted to food crumbs.
4. Don’t leave food out
Having a warm apartment during the winter and exposed food is an easy way to attract rodents. Instead, store food in your refrigerator or in sealed food storage containers to prevent rodents from smelling (and eating) your food. Additionally, when your food is properly stored, you lessen the chances of any rodents spreading their germs through your food.
5. Eliminate clutter
Eliminating unnecessary clutter may help to keep pesky rodents away. Rodents may build homes and breed in neglected, cluttered spaces. To declutter, you’ll need to decide which items in your apartment you want to get rid of, and once you do that, you can donate or sell them.
What do you do to rodent-proof your apartment in the winter? Sound off in the comments!