Ask the Expert: How to protect your home from mice and other winter pests

Unfortunately, we aren’t the only mammals who like to cosy up warm indoors during the winter months.

When the weather starts to turn, pests of all shapes and sizes venture inside to seek refuge from the elements – and unless you want to end up sharing your home with them later in the year, now is the time to act.

So we spoke to one of our top pest control experts – Josh Simpson from King Pest Control – to discover what you can do today to keep your home free from pests this winter.

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Watch out for mice and rats this winter

“Rodents are the main issue in colder months, as insect activity reduces at a rapid rate,” says Josh. “Mice are pushed in due to the harsh weather conditions outside, but they will be found all year round once present.”

It’s not just the cold that drives animals indoors in winter, either. Josh says that snow and heavy downpours can also cause flooding and force even the largest rodents to abandon their usual homes.

“Rat infestations, nine times out of 10, tend to come from drainage faults,” he explains. “We see a surge of rat jobs after heavy rain due to the rats being pushed out of drains for safe harbourage.”

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Block entry points to keep the rodents at bay

The key to keeping your house rodent-free is to find and block all holes they might use to enter your home – such as cracks in doors and windows, and any openings caused by recent plumbing or electrical works.

But, because many rodents can flatten their out skeletons to fit through even the tiniest gaps, it takes an experienced eye to survey a property and identify all possible access points.

“Mice are capable of gaining access through holes as little as 5mm,” Josh explains. “So we advise you to always get a professional to step in and block the holes.”

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What to do if you spot an “unwanted visitor”

If you do discover signs of unwanted guests, it can be tempting to try and deal with them using ‘over the counter’ traps. But, Josh warns that attempting to resolve the problem by yourself can have unintended consequences.

“Contact professionals immediately,” he advises. “Mice and rats are dangerous animals and a risk to health due to the diseases they carry.”

“Dealing with infestations can be dangerous to non-target species if poison or traps are not laid in a correct way,” he adds. “Poisoning or trapping certain species of mammal can land you in prison, so it’s always best to leave it to someone who knows what they are doing.”

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The easy way to keep your home pest-free this winter

With thousands of registered pest control experts throughout the UK, protecting your home against pests like mice and rats is easy with Bark.

“The most rewarding thing about my job is our ability to help people when they are in desperate need of help,” says Josh. “Also, being able to solve problems which other pest controllers can’t fix is very rewarding.”

Place your Bark today and we’ll do all the legwork to get you quotes from recommended local pest controllers like King Pest Control fast and free.

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Four things to consider when hiring a house cleaner

It’s probably fair to say that people who enjoy cleaning – whether that’s the morning after an eventful party or simply the regular upkeep of your house – are in the minority. So for many, having a professional do the job for you is a godsend. But it’s not always as straightforward as it may seem, so to help you make an informed decision first time round, we’ve included Bark’s top tips for hiring a cleaner below.

Rubber gloves at the ready!
Rubber gloves at the ready!

Trust

Unlike hiring a plumber or hiring an electrician, who are generally brought in for one-off jobs, the majority of people looking for cleaners will want a regular service. This means it’s likely your cleaner will spend a large proportion of time alone in your home, making trust imperative. While initial contact may well take place online, don’t be afraid to ask for a face-to-face meeting to get a better feel for them.

Everyone’s favourite task!

Recommendations

So the meeting with the person you’re interested in hiring goes really well – but don’t take their word for the quality of the work they do. It’s important to seek out endorsements and recommendations from third party sources. Look particularly for testimonials on channels that aren’t run or owned by the cleaner – such as directories, listings, and Bark.com – to get the best, impartial insight in to their standards.

Price

Is your cleaner being vague about their fees? Then your ‘spidey senses’ should be tingling! Cleaning, as a service is largely charged by the hour and tends not to differ immensely from building to building, apart from if you’re looking for more complicated packages such as a deep clean, additional ironing services or for your cleaner to bring their own equipment. An upfront answer should therefore not be hard to come by.

Leave the equipment to the pros...
Leave the equipment to the pros…

Trial run

You may get on with your cleaner well; they may be both local and affordable but if they don’t clean your house effectively, then what’s the point? Inviting professionals for a trial session is commonplace and will help you when making your final decision. At the same time, you’ll be able to show them where things are tidied and allows time for any questions.

There’s plenty more info in our cleaning checklist. And for more Bark.com tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?