Freeloaders. All of them. When the weather turns cold, rats and mice move in without even checking to see who was here first. So rude. Especially since they multiply like, well, like rats and mice. I tell you, it’s getting more crowded in these Southern California attics, basements, and crawl spaces than Bolsa Chica Beach over spring break. Now you may wonder how it’s possible in this day and age of clean living for an average single-family home to become infested with (ugh) rodents. But as someone who knows firsthand about infestation, cleanliness doesn’t necessarily dictate which homes rats and mice move in to. (Unless, of course, someone in your family leaves a half-eaten pizza under a bed for weeks, in which case you may end up sharing living space with rodents, ants, and cockroaches. And as you well know, they all refuse to pay rent.)
So imagine my surprise when one night I noticed a lonely little mouse creeping across the back deck of my house. At first I thought it was just a dust bunny floating on a breeze, but when I saw it pick up a errant saltine cracker I knew it was either a rodent scouting for a new home or the cockroaches had been working out again.
Here’s the thing, in the winter rodents move into over 21 million homes across the U.S. That’s a lot of real estate. If the housing market could see that kind of turnover for people, the economy would be in better shape than a beauty queen (or a cockroach) with a gym membership.
I mean, come on. It’s not like rodents don’t come with a lot of baggage. And I’m not talking about the kind with designer initials stamped all over it. Rats and mice can bring really serious diseases into your home, like hantavirus, salmonella, and even fleas, which technically aren’t a disease, as much as they are a painful nuisance to people and their pets. (And if you think rats and mice are hard to get rid of, try evicting those pesky fleas once they’ve settled in. It’s like attempting to boot out that obnoxious neighbor who prefers your place over his because you have better snacks and a home theatre system with big screen, satellite TV.)
Plus, rodents are notorious for destroying property, and that’s where I draw the line. Nobody gets to cause “lived-in” damage to my home but me. No question, that mouse had to go.
I immediately buzzed around the house looking for any points of entry he might use. I found a few and decided the next day I’d get my brothers to help me patch those holes (my family are masters at woodworking). I’d also get everyone to help with:
- Cutting back tree branches that hang over the house
- Moving the firewood pile away from the house
- Checking the screened vents
- Making sure items in the garage are sealed in plastic
- Getting rid of any garbage or food (including pet food) that might be lying around
And if all that doesn’t work, well, then I guess we’d have to call in a professional. Fortunately, I have a connection in that department. But we’ll try these preventative measures first, and THEN if we have to, we’ll bring in the big guns.
Either way, stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted.