Protect your home from pests

Fend off attacks from insects and mammals

By Allan Britnell


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Felicia Ratiu, a service and sales rep with Abell Pest Control, parks her new, white S10 pickup in the driveway of a two-storey home in a suburban Oakville, Ont., neighbourhood and says, “Let’s see where the problem is.” The “problem” is that in the past couple of weeks the homeowner has caught a dozen mice with a single snap trap set under her kitchen sink.

Ratiu begins the visit with a perimeter inspection of the house. Along the way, she finds a gap around the garden faucet where it enters the house, another where wiring runs into the garage, vents that haven’t been sealed with steel mesh, possible gaps in the caulking around basement windows and even a thumb-size crack in a brick at the base of a windowsill–all of which could be used by mice as gateways into the house.

“Mice only need a two-millimetre space to get in,” she says in her Romanian-accented English. “Basically, they can enter all over this place.”

Inside, along with dispensing advice on how to seal the breaches, Ratiu will try to quash this invasion by placing snap traps, glue boards and poison bait in favoured mice haunts: under the sink and stove, in the attic, in the furnace room and even on top of the tiles in the basement’s drop ceiling.

Whether you live in the suburbs, the city or the wide-open countryside, there’s a whole host of critters scheming to become your uninvited guests. With the potential for bats in the attic, mice in the pantry and termites eating through the walls, it’s easy to feel like your home is under attack. And these pests are more than an annoyance. Left unchecked, wood-boring insects can affect the structural integrity of your home and, by Abell Pest Control’s and others’ rough estimates, mice and squirrels chewing through wiring are responsible for a quarter of all unexplained fires and household power outages. Insects and rodents also carry diseases, and exposure to their droppings can cause serious health problems.

Here we look at two types of pests–small nesting mammals and wood-boring insects–what you need to do to get these unwanted visitors out and how to keep them out.

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Aug. 11, 2012

7:49 am

Very useful article with lots of good advice. However, the statement "Mice only need a two-millimetre space to get in" is wrong. There isn't a mouse in the world that can fit through a 2 mm gap. Mice have no problem whatsoever with a 20 mm gap; and I might even buy a 10 mm gap but not 2 mm.

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