Homeowners are being urged to prevent a winter invasion of mice seeking shelter in their home.
Gaps around pipes, cables and vents are often used as entry points by the pests, which can squeeze through holes the width of a pencil eraser.
Now, the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), is encouraging householders in the East Midlands to take precautions against the 'nibbling nuisance.'
Mouse-proofing a home is better than attempting to tackle an infestation and the Association is urging people spending their first winter in a new home to take particular care.
Technical officer at the BPCA, Natalie Bungay said: “Mice only need a gap of 5mm to gain entry.
“You will need to search for any potential entry points and seal these up with wire wool embedded in quick-setting cement.
“Check around pipes and windows, and double check the basement. Proofing all means of entry as much as possible will help to prevent an infestation.”
Other steps you can take are:
* Remove potential nesting sites by keeping gardens clean and tidy, cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood/debris
* Cover any household waste where mice can get access to it, close dustbin lids and cover compost heaps
* Store food in airtight containers and make sure any food debris is cleaned up straight away
* Install door sweeps or door brush strips on exterior doors
* Good hygiene practices won’t eliminate a mouse problem, but poor practices will attract them.
Cat owners face the additional issue of their pets bringing mice into the home, but the Association has tips to help discourage that:
* Don’t overfeed your cat - this will not prevent them from hunting, it will only stop them from eating what they kill
* Buy a collar with a bell - cats are silent hunters, so take away that advantage
* Play more! One of the reasons that cats hunt is for stimulation, so buy more toys and spend more time playing with them.
Natalie added: “Mice do not hibernate and are a problem all year round. House mice are already living in and around wherever we are.
“But as the weather gets colder, those field mice currently surviving outdoors will look for warmer places to nest and begin to move indoors.
“They are highly adaptable and won’t hesitate to take advantage of a cosy human structure during the winter months.
“Food is also an issue - they begin to scavenge closer to humans, as their own sources are no longer plentiful.”
For more advice about preventing or dealing with mice, the BPCA has published an online guide, Miffed about Mice, at bpca.org.uk/mice with accompanying video.
A BPCA member company will be able to treat infestations quickly and safely. All BPCA members employ qualified technicians who frequently update their knowledge.
The Association’s online Find a pest controller tool is ideal for businesses who need pest control advice from a local BPCA member. Go to bpca.org.uk/find to search for a member.