Of Mice, Men and A Menace

No, this isn’t a review of the classic 1937 novel by John Steinbeck but rather a friendly heads up to be wary of certain pests that have been a nuisance and a hazard to homeowners since even before the day that novel was published – rodents.

Like the novel, rodents are a classic — one of the classic pests Western Exterminator works to prevent from entering your home (or removing them should they sneak in somehow) and causing problems for you and your family.

Rodents join ants, cockroaches, stinging insects and flies as some of the most common and unwelcome pests that seem to have been around forever. I liken them to holiday fruitcake; always there but no one really cares for it!

As the fall season swings rapidly through the calendar, rodents are inclined to seek out winter harborages, and they aren’t picky on where that is. As long as it offers food, water and shelter from the cool evening air, they think they’ve checked in at the Ritz!

Homeowners are likely to encounter both mice and rats in and around their residences and the following preventive measures from the experts at Western Exterminator’s Technical Department should do the trick for these annoying and potentially very hazardous creatures.

The most successful and long-lasting form of rodent control in structures is to deny them access in the first place. Small holes that seem impassable to our eyes can easily be four-lane highways for rodents. They have the uncanny ability to flatten themselves to get through even the very smallest opening. You would be amazed! Some helpful exclusion measures include:

  • Smudge marks, caused by oil and dirt rubbing off their fur, are often left along areas where rodents regularly travel. Look for smudge marks along rafters, pipes and walls. Seal cracks and openings in foundations and openings for cable or telephone lines, water pipes, electric wires, sewer pipes, drain spouts, and dryer vents.
  • No hole larger than 1/4 inch should be left unsealed, (think about the circumference of a pencil), in order to exclude both rats and mice. Coarse steel wool, wire screen, and lightweight sheet metal are excellent materials for plugging gaps and holes in the foundation.
  • Make sure doors, windows, and screens fit tightly and have no tears. Door edges can be covered with sheet metal if gnawing is a problem. Use caulk to seal any openings around door and window frames.
  • Because rats and mice are excellent climbers, openings above ground level must also be plugged. Keep trees and bushes trimmed away from the house at least three (3) feet to prevent easy access. Rodents love ivy and palm trees, or any dense shrubbery, and use them as bases for their covert activities!
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden are a treat, but they are banquet food for rodents too.  Be mindful of keeping fruits and vegetables harvested, and look for tell-tale signs of rodents helping themselves.

When it comes to making your home a non-attractant to rodents, it all starts with sanitation – you have to keep it clean. What you see as clean could be a feast for these critters.  Rodents do not have discriminating taste buds and will eat just about any piece of food or garbage their pointy noses come across. What looks like a few crumbs to us could be a rodent family buffet.

Effective sanitation practices are fundamental to rodent control and must be continuous. If good sanitation measures aren’t properly maintained, the benefits of our pest control measures will be lost and rodents will quickly return (they are opportunists as well!).

  • Storing pipes, lumber, firewood, crates, boxes, gardening equipment, and other household goods off the ground will help reduce the suitability of the area for rodent harborage and also will make their detection easier.
  • Collect garbage, trash, and garden debris frequently, and ensure all garbage receptacles have tight-fitting covers.
  • Store pet food in rodent-proof containers.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on garbage cans and recycling bins.
  • Eliminate any standing water and fix leaky faucets – no need to “buy a round” of water for these guests.
  • Pick up pet dishes once pets have finished eating so food is not left out; pet dishes are considered a rodent welcome sign.


If you have questions about rodents or any other pest control issue, give Western Exterminator a call or send me an e-mail at [email protected]. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with information on how Western Exterminator can help.

On a non-pest related note before I close I want to mention the importance of Veterans Day, November 11th, and our remembering those who have taken their commitment to this great nation to another level. A day where we honor the men and women who have honorably served their country and protected the freedoms we all enjoy.

From the very beginning Western Exterminator has proudly welcomed veterans to join our team. Our founder, Swedish immigrant Carl Strom, earned his U.S. citizenship by serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. Following World War II, the ranks of Western Exterminator were filled with veterans returning from the war including Board of Directors members Bob Strom and Richard Lovejoy, plus many, many more. We proudly boast that today members of our team are veterans from Korea like Roy Ashton and Ron Bauer, from Vietnam, and from our most recent wars in the Middle East, and know we are stronger for having these veterans as part of our Western Family.

Mr. Little tips his top hat to all veterans who have dutifully served and sacrificed for their country. Thousands and thousands of courageous Americans have fought around the world to insure us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and we should never take those freedoms, or those who fought for them, for granted. Veterans, we salute you!

If you come across a veteran today, thank him or her for their service, or better yet, buy them a cup of coffee or treat them to lunch.  They certainly deserve our gratitude not just on Veterans Day, but every day.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!

Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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