Odds are that you’ve been at least somewhat educated on the need to keep food items appropriately stored to prevent mice and rats from being attracted to your residence. What you may not have focused as directly on is the fact that water is also attractive to rodents and can make your home a target for these critters. This particularly becomes the case when weather conditions are such that the outdoor environment becomes particularly dry. This article is designed to present you with information about dry weather conditions that are most likely to prod rodents like mice and rats in the direction of your home.
The California Drought
In recent year, much of California has experienced a severe drought. This includes communities in Southern California.
The California drought has resulted in negative consequences, including everything from crop loss to devastating wildfires. The drought has also impacted the way in which humans are undertaking different aspects of their lives. For example, the drought has altered the manner in which many homeowners in Southern California and elsewhere in the state maintain their gardens and lawns. It has affected the way farmers grow and harvest crops.
What you may not realize, is that the California drought has impacted the manner in which rodents live their lives. As water resources in the wild available to mice and rats dwindle, these animals become far more aggressive in seeking water sources elsewhere. What this means is that rodents are targeting homes as sources of water.
Rodents and Water
A typical adult rat consumes between one and two ounces of water daily. Although that might not seem like a great deal to us – we’re said to be obliged to drink eight 8-ounce glasses day – when it comes to a rat in the wild in a drought-stricken state, coming up with one to two ounces of water daily in the wild can prove to be challenging in some circumstances.
Of course, mice also require water to survive. Because of their size, they require less in the way of water on a daily basis. Nonetheless, these smaller rodents are also challenged in finding adequate supplies of water in the wild and are focusing on residences (and other human structures) in order to survive.
Most Common Types of Rodents Feeling the Drought in California
There are four species of rodents that are most commonly seen seeking water in residential and commercial properties as a result of the drought in California. These are:
10 Tactics to Protect Your Home From Drought-Driven Rodents
- Seal all cracks and holes on the exterior of your residence. Bear in mind that rats can enter a hole that is no more than a U.S. quarter in diameter. Similarly, a mouse can get through a hole that is no more than a U.S. dime in diameter. In sealing cracks and holes, pay attention to those places on the exterior of your home where pipes and other utilities enter into the house. Deal with potential entry points higher up on the premises. Roof rats and some mice are eager to climb and will enter from openings at higher levels on a residence.
- Keep trees near your residence trim. Make sure that branches do not extend over the roof of your home. Trees that do have boughs that go over rooftops provide ready access to a residence for roof rats and some mice.
- Avoid planting shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation directly next to the exterior of a residence. This foliage provides cover and security for rodents with a design to enter your home in search of water, food, and shelter.
- Consider creating a “no rodent” zone around the physical perimeter of your home. This can be accomplished by placing a layer of gravel around the perimeter of the exterior of your home. The gravel strip can be between 12 to 18 inches in width and is likely to deter rodents from making a final approach to your home.
- Keep your lawn cut regularly. Uncut lawns are not only eyesores but are appealing pathways to rodents desiring to enter your home for water, food, and shelter.
- Rake leaves and other debris from your lawn regularly. As this yard waste accumulates, it can prove to be attractive to rodents.
- Keep woodpiles away from your residence. No matter how convenient, keep your firewood stowed away from the exterior of your home. Ideally, locate your woodpile at least 20 feet from the exterior of your home. In addition, consider placing a woodpile three to five feet off the ground.
- Replace loose mortar around windows and the basement foundation of your home. Rodents are adept at gnawing and pulling apart loose mortar to gain access to a residence or other structure.
- Check the weather stripping on entry doors, the garage doors, and windows of your home. Confirm that there are no gaps in the weather stripping and replace it if it is not in prime condition.
- Check screens on doors and windows to ensure that there are no holes in them. Repair or replace if they have even small holes.
Why It’s Vital to Guard Against Drought-Driven Rodents
There are a pair of significant reasons why it’s vital to keep rodents at bay in the first instance when these critters are striving to enter residences in need of water (and food and shelter). First, rodents can cause what amounts to significant physical damage to a home. They can gnaw on parts of the structure itself, and items in it, causing expensive damage. For example, rodents will chew on electrical wires and panels, which can result in a very real fire hazard. Indeed, approximately 25 percent of all home fires in California and across the U.S.A. are caused as the result of rodents stripping wires and damaging electric panels, a process that can result in sparking a fire.
Second, mice and rats can carry diseases, including serious ones. These include harmful bacteria like salmonella and potentially fatal viruses like hantavirus.