Holes: How pests get in your home
Winter is finally here held back by fall until the end of the year. As it gets below freezing at night we will begin to see uninvited guests wishing to warm their toes beside the fire. How will they get inside you ask? Let’s look at some of the most common ways insects, mice and even rats get inside our homes.
Windows and doors
The weather stripping around our windows and doors is designed to keep the weather out but because it is under strain to do that they wear out and need replacing. If you can see light between the door and the frame, it is time for a replacement. A fully grown rat can enter through a hole as small as 1/2 inch! Sometimes the sealant wears out and sometimes the house settles causing this gap. It can also be caused by the swelling and shrinking of the materials, especially if the door and the frame are made from different productss.
Pipes and wires
Every house I have ever been in has an opening around water pipes, gas lines, electrical wires, A/C units, or cable coax. A hole as small as 1/4 inch can invite a mouse over for dinner. Even when the homeowner specifically asks for these areas to be sealed it still never happens or is done so poorly that it is pointless. Just go get yourself some silicone caulk and get it done or we can do it for you.
Crawl Space Vents
One I found recently shows where mice had chewed through the screen on the crawl space vents where the cable line was run. This allowed access to under the house undetected and then access to the living spaces around all the pipes under the floor. The presence of the mice even caused a flea problem. Not fun at all for a customer that couldn’t understand why they had fleas but no pets. It came from the mice, all because of a hole. If the job had been done correctly the first time it would have saved the homeowner hundreds of dollars and a lot of headache. All this over a hole that could have been sealed for less than a dollar. Replace the entire screen or patch it with a small piece. Even then, if the gaps around the pipes in the crawl space had been sealed it might have contained the problem even if the screen was damaged. In pest control it is always the little things that get you in trouble.
The 220 connection for the stove is another common entry point. The one in the picture was caulked at one time but not done properly and that left a gap, rendering the entire job useless. Often times builders do not concern themselves with aesthetics when they know it will be hidden under a sink or behind an appliance. This seems to go for all builders from shacks to mansions. Out of sight, out of mind i guess. With no exaggeration at all I can say I have NEVER have seen a house sealed properly unless the homeowner did it themselves. Pretty sad. But then again, I wouldn’t be able to feed my family if houses didn’t have holes. Oh what a paradox.
Mice and rats can chew through almost anything. If you leave a small hole, they will make a big one, then make a big hole in your Cheerios. On the insect side they only need as much as 1/64th of an inch some times to come inside! Now that is small. So what can you do? You can’t seal a house up 100% if you intend to ever leave but, the more you seal it up the better. Not only will you prevent all the creepy crawlies from entering your home, it will aid in reducing your heating and cooling bill and prevent water from coming inside or flooding the inside of your walls. All of these are prevention, if you already have a problem it is best to call a professional. Often times treatment is needed along with excluding them from your home.
Contact Phoenix Pest Control and see how we can help with identifying your holes and eliminating your pests.
Knox (865) 963-8867
Blount (865) 455-8571