Rodents enter your home looking for a couple very specific things: food and a warm place to nest. Without a good food supply, they’ll likely be discouraged from taking up residence; therefore, how you store your food, vegetables, and packaged goods in your home will affect the chances of a rodent infestation.
Here are a number of tips for safe food and vegetable storage that will keep your family healthy and won’t provide rodents with a free meal.
To start, don’t store any food on the floor, or on the bottom shelf of a cabinet that rests on the floor. It might be common practice to leave a bag of potatoes on the floor, but it’s not a good practice when it comes to rodent control. Where are good places to store fresh food?
Regularly clean out your refrigerator and get rid of any food that has spoiled or is about to spoil. Rodents can stomach the food that you cannot. When you dispose of food or leftovers, make sure to take out the trash immediately; don’t let it sit on your property for long. Consider also making trash pick-up day your fridge clean-out day.
Everything in your pantry needs to be sealed against infestation from rodents (and insects as well). The original packaging containers are sufficient so long as they are intact when you buy them at the store. Check packages to ensure all seals are intact and any bags are airtight. This means rodents won’t be able to detect the food through smell.
After opening a package, don’t just tie up the bag or fold down a cardboard tab. Unused portions in your pantry need to be stored in hard plastic or glass containers with tight fitting lids. Otherwise, rodents will be able to locate food in your pantry through smell and begin to feast on your groceries. A plastic storage bag is never a good idea since rodents can easily chew right through it.
Rodents are relentless in their pursuit of an easy meal, and they will often find one in your garage or other outdoor space. Bird seed, pet food, and anything else edible that you store in and around the home will suit a rodent’s appetite. Follow the same methods for storing pantry food; after opening a bag of dog food or bird seed, place the remaining food in a hard plastic container with a secure lid. Buckets with a screw-on lid are ideal for this type of application.
Finding rodent droppings is a sure sign that you have uninvited visitors. Check out-of-the-way places near access points to your home, such as the garage door, under eaves and around the attic, and around the foundation. Check behind large items and bring a flashlight.
If you suspect you only have a few rodents and know where the nest is, it is possible to successfully eliminate them through DIY methods like traps and poison. If you go this route, be sure to find all possible entry points and seal them up to prevent future problems.
For a serious rodent infestation, the best course of action is to call a professional pest control company. They are trained in both extermination and exclusion, and can quickly and safely handle your rodent problem. Remember that rodents are not only a nuisance and a drain on your grocery bill; they can also carry diseases, and an infestation in your home can put your family’s health at risk.
Good food storage habits are one of your best defenses against rodent infestation.