How do I protect my home this winter? Ask the Pest Expert!


Bill Brown currently serves as our resident pest expert and is happy to answer all your questions about protecting your home from rodents, bugs, termites and pests of all types. Want to submit a question? Email & we’ll make sure we answer it here! To read Bill's bio and more about his novel, visit


It seems that our house gets some kind of unwelcome visitor every winter. How can we protect our home from squirrels, mice and other unwanted pests? —Joe in Laurel

Answer: Cooler weather means mice and other rodents will start looking for their winter homes. As the fall weather turns cool, rodents, like mice, will make their way into your home, seeking warmth, shelter, and food. Mice can be a big problem for some home owners, while others barely seem to be affected by them. Here are some tips to keep the mice out of your home this winter. Use these tips to make your house less attractive to mice. Let this winter be a mouse-free winter!

Seal Holes:

Closely inspect your house to find any small holes that might be an entryway for mice and other rodents. Stuff the holes with steel wool or fill them with expandable foam sealer. Both of these are available at your local hardware store.

Be Smart about Storage:

Mice are attracted to things they can chew through to make nests. Instead of storing items in cardboard boxes in your basement, attic, and garage, transfer everything to plastic storage containers. Mice can’t chew through the plastic, will be dismayed at the lack of nesting material in your home, and will be less likely to stick around. Food should always be stored in sealed containers. Mice are especially attracted to pet food and birdseed. Be sure to store these items in plastic or metal containers as well.

Trim Branches:

Squirrels find it easy to enter a home when tree branches are overhanging a roof. Keep all tree branches cut back several feet away from the roof line. Likewise, keep shrubs trimmed so they don’t touch the siding on the house. ?ere should be at least a foot clearance between shrubs and the outside walls of your home. Not only will this keep any rodents scurrying through the shrubbery from finding a path indoors, it will cut down on insects that are able to make their way inside.

Keep the Foundation Clear:

In addition to keeping shrubs and trees trimmed away from the house, keep the foundation area clear of debris and mulch. Wood chip mulch invites insects and rodents into your home. Leaf debris and weedy, untended flower gardens near the foundation give rodents the perfect cover to scurry around looking for an easy entry into your home. Keep this area raked and clean.