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.

Find pest controllers with Bark

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.”

Find pest controllers with Bark

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.”

Find pest controllers with Bark

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.”

Find pest controllers with Bark

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.

Find pest controllers with Bark

Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Home For The Colder Months

The Great British summer is well and truly over. Bar the odd mid autumn balmy weather, we’ve got darker mornings, bitter winds and winter coats to look forward to as winter sets in. Don’t worry, we’re not there just yet, but have you thought about how well equipped your home is to deal with the chillier months? If you’re not sure, it’s best to double check that everything is shipshape before the cold snap because the last thing you need is a winter domestic mishap that puts you out of pocket and potentially out of home.

Here are the most important areas to prepare around your home to ensure you’re ready for winter.

Pipe Down
Pipes Winter insulation
Prepare your pipes

First things first, it is absolutely crucial that you head into winter with well insulated piping. Poorly protected pipes that aren’t properly insulated are likely to freeze during winter, and with that bring an inevitable blockage that could wreak havoc inside your home; potentially a complete central heating collapse or even dreaded water damage. Of course, you can prep your pipes yourself, but we always suggest calling in the expert just to be on the safe side. For your pipes to last the winter, they’ll need to be well insulated, checked regularly and have a regular supply of warm air circulating through them. If your pipes do freeze, it’s best to summon a professional plumber as fast as possible.

Bonnie Boiler
house heating boiler
Service your boiler regularly

October 31st . Save the date. According to HomeServe, that is the day that 28% of us Brits turn our central heating on, ready for the frost. With just under a month before we reach for the dial, make sure your boiler is well pressurised, your radiators are bled and, above all, the central heating has been serviced. It’s recommended that you service your boiler once a year, so now would be the perfect time to do just that. Find a local plumber to service your boiler and check your whole system.

 First Draught
Draught proofing home WInter
Porches and conservatories are perfect for maintaining heat

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. There’s nothing worse than trying to keep nice and cosy on a cold winter’s night only for a chilly draught to invade your home. Door and window frames, floorboards and letterboxes are the main culprits for allowing the draught in. A simple DIY session can amend these gaps and leave your home nice and toasty. You could even go the whole ten yards and install a porch or conservatory onto your property; ultimate protection for maintaining the warmth, and added space to relax in.

Glazed over
Preparing home for winter
Window of opportunity

Installing double-glazing on your property this winter has three main benefits. The obvious one is that it helps insulate your home and keep out the cold. Not only that, it’ll also muffle any unwanted sounds from outside. Third, and perhaps most importantly, installing double-glazing can help you save up to £170 a year on your energy bills. Have we won you over? Thought so. Find an expert to install double-glazing on your property.

Roof And Ready
Roof repairs and maintenance winter
Preparing your roof for winter is vital

The roof is perhaps the most overlooked part of any property, but ensuring it’s in prime condition is probably the most crucial part of our heat-saving masterplan. Winter brings falling leaves, and with that brings blocked gutters. What may be a quick-fix can easily become a major issue that threatens to undo all your hard work. What’s more, if you have cracks and weaknesses around the roof, the dastardly frost can wreak havoc and cause leaks that require a costly fix. It’s important to check your roof as often as possible before winter sets in, both from the inside and the outside. If you suspect anything is wrong, however slight, it’s probably best you find a roofer to fix the issue. What may be a relatively cheap fix could end up costing thousands if left unattended.

Ensure you’re insured
Preparing your property for Winter
Play it safe and get home insurance

So, if you’ve stuck to the plan, you should have your pipes sorted, your boiler in tip-top shape and a nice warm home complete with double-glazing and a new roof. Bring it on, Winter. Right? Wrong. The last thing you need is to be complacent and think that the job is done. It is crucial that you’re fully insured to cover the worst case scenario. Who knows what weather we could have in store?

It’s always best to cover every base and insure your home. After all, what’s the point in going to great lengths to prep your home for it all to come unstuck through freak weather?