Residential Rodents: How To Protect Your Home From a Verminvasion
Caring for a home involves a number of responsibilities; there are the monthly bills, the upkeep and maintenance, and then there are the unplanned (sometimes horrific) surprises. If you’ve ever heard soft scratching at night, found chewed-through cardboard boxes, or had the supremely upsetting discovery of rat or mice droppings (and trust us, you’ll know the difference) in your pantry, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Rats are incredibly prolific: if left in an ideal environment, a single pair can become a hoard of 482 million in just three years! Since they are so good at breeding, action needs to be taken at the first sign of invasion. With the proper attention, dedication, and know-how, you can eradicate the furry fiends before they cause any serious damage.
The Risks Of Residential Rodents
Rats and rodents are more than just nuisances: they wreak havoc on the physical state of the home and the emotional state of its residents. They gnaw on wood and drywall, tunnel through and build their nests in insulation, and can even start house fires by chewing through wires. Worst of all, this damage almost always remains unseen: it’s in the attic that only gets used for storage, the basement that no one ever ventures into, or the walls themselves. As a result, it’s extremely common for the pests to proliferate without any awareness on the end of the homeowner, making the final discovery much more daunting and unsettling.
Despite how common pest infestations are, insurance companies don’t offer financial protection against the damage they cause. If they do offer coverage, it’s usually part of a more expensive package. Since the damage tends to go unnoticed for an extended period of time, the resulting recovery can be costly and disruptive. The best thing to do is prevent the problem from ever becoming a problem to begin with.
Prevention And Protection
Rats and mice are notoriously good at survival. As their expansion rate proves, they can withstand an exceptional amount of stress before finally being purged from the home. There are three main ways to protect your home from this “verminvasion.”
- Seal the floors. Around 27% of rodent infestations occur in the basement. Since mice and rats can squeeze through holes that are a fraction of their size, sealing off any potential doorways for the critters is an excellent way to prevent their entrance. Epoxy coatings (as well as fillers for large cracks) are a good choice because they’re waterproof and durable, though they generally take between six and eight hours to cure. Epoxy floor coatings also guard against insects as an added bonus.
- Install spray-foam insulation. Insulation is a favorite for rodents; cellulose insulation is made from recycled materials, such as newspaper, that encourages nesting and even acts a food supply in some cases. Additionally, fiberglass insulation is loosely packed, allowing plenty of room for the determined pests to make their way inside. Spray foam insulation, on the other hand, expands during application, immediately sealing spaces between walls and floorboards. It cannot be used as a source of food, either.
- Cover vulnerable furniture. If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve got more furniture than space. If you have an attic and a basement, you are well within your right to take advantage of the extra square footage they offer; however, most rodents favor the attic and the basement, so if you’re going to put your high quality and durable sofa in storage, make sure it’s covered in plastic sheeting or an extremely strong slipcover. This will prevent little baby mice and rats from turning your expensive couch into a home of their own.
Whether you’ve experienced this blight or not, you should know that rodent invasions come with a price that lasts long after they’re eradicated: the average home sold for $249,000 in 2017, but a history (or evidence) of infestation can drop the selling price by nearly 9% and extend its time on the market. Don’t lose out because your home isn’t prepared for the creepy critters; ensure you’re protected from their wrath ahead of time.