All winter long, nearby your house, little creatures are stirring. An important question for homeowners: How to keep out a mouse? Let’s talk about common rodent pests in Southern California, how a mouse or rat can get into your house, and how to remove rodents from your home — and keep them out.

Which rodent pests live in Southern California?

In the fall, mice, rats, and other rodents are among Southern California’s most common pests. Specifically, homeowners can expect unwelcome visits from Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, and Rattus norvegicus — that’d be house mice, roof rats, and Norway rats. These pests are commensal, which means that just like cats and dogs, they’re entirely comfortable sharing living spaces, food, and water with humans. Mice and especially roof rats are prolific pests, and in warm climates, they breed year-round. “Which means SoCal is like rat heaven,” says Efrain Velasco, Lloyd Pest Control’s Technical Director and a certified entomologist.

How did a rat or mouse get into my house?

Even though SoCal’s weather remains more temperate than other areas of the country, cooler temperatures in autumn and winter drive mice and rats to search for warmth, food, and water. Each varmint has its own stealthy approach to entering your home. House mice can squeeze through incredibly small spaces — including entryways larger than a quarter of an inch. That means windows, ceilings, and gaps in your home’s foundation are fair game.

Roof rats, on the other hand, get their name from their talents: they’re adept climbers, known for scaling walls, eaves, roofs, and even trees. Oftentimes they find gaps in ceilings and tiny entrances to your attic. The brown or Norway rat keeps closer to the ground. Like the much-meme’d Pizza Rat, their game is largely scavenging in subterranean areas, like your home’s crawl spaces, which they can enter through tiny access points. (Rats, like mice, can also squeeze through unbelievably tight spaces.)

How can I keep rodents out of my house?

There are three main reasons mice and rats enter residential homes: warmth, food, and water. Identifying your food and water sources is an important start to staying pest-free. Where is your food stored? Where do you keep your pet food? Did half your takeout Pad Thai end up under the couch? (No judgment here.) Are your pantries secure? Is open food being kept in secure containers? Do you have moisture problems under your floors? What about water bowls that fido might knock over daily? If food and water are hard to access, mice and rats might be less likely to visit.

How do I remove a rat or mouse from my house?

Unfortunately, because they’re such talented burglars, mice and rats do frequently find their way inside even the most well-guarded homes. If you see signs of them — like droppings, holes in food containers, and holes or rub marks in walls, ceilings, and floors — we’re here to help evict them.

Lloyd Pest Control’s trained and experienced technicians follow a well-proven battle plan when servicing homes with rodents. The goal isn’t just to get rid of these particular rodents. The goal is to keep them gone. First, our technicians inspect the exterior and interior of your home to determine vulnerabilities. This includes a diagram of your home, highlighting potential entry points for sneaky rodents, and identifying whether your pests are mice, rats, or otherwise. Next, the tech will think like a mouse, identifying food and water sources, which they’ll help you make rodent-proof – and stat! Ditto those tiny gaps and holes in your home’s structure that may have allowed rodent entry in the first place. Trapping and removal is just the icing on your (un-nibbled) cake.

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