To most people their home is their sanctuary. The safe place where they feel comfortable and in control of their surroundings. This comfort can be easily interrupted by the presence of rodent intruders. The presence of a rat or mouse is not only startling and unsightly to some homeowners, but can also be dangerous due to the parasites and diseases that they often carry. The first place that these little critters invade is generally the garage, and if the homeowner can eradicate the problem there, the chances of rodents getting into the house are reduced. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix when it comes to keeping rats and mice out of the garage. It is a process with many steps and consistent maintenance and upkeep of the garage inside and out.
The first step in keeping rats and mice out of the garage is understanding why they are coming in. There are two main reasons why these rodents are taking up residency in your garage: food and shelter. Lets tackle their hunger instinct first. If their food source, e.g. pet food (cat,dog,bird,etc) or garbage is removed from the garage or not accessible the rodents will move on looking for another free meal. Since rats and mice are generally more active at night, leaving food out for pets overnight is an open invitation for them to feast. If you want to keep the garbage cans or store pet food in the garage make sure it is in clean, secure containers with tight fitting lids made of plastic or another material that makes it hard for them to chew through.
Now that you have taken away their food, lets take away their shelter. First, you must do a thorough inspection of the outside of the garage to pinpoint how and where they are coming in from. They can squeeze into the smallest of holes and cracks including vents and very commonly gaps in the garage door weather seal. Obviously, if there are holes in the drywall or the structure itself those need to be closed and eliminated. The vinyl weather seal should be replaced every 2-3 years depending on wear and shrinkage caused by the elements. Even if the vinyl is in great shape rats and mice can still chew through it or squeeze in-between the flexible vinyl and the concrete below. A metal threshold might be necessary to house the vinyl and make it impenetrable. Sometimes even a little steel wool stuffed in the corners of the bottom seal is enough to send the critters looking for a different entry point. Now that the exterior is secure let us focus on the interior of the garage.
If there is evidence of rats and mice in the garage in the form of droppings or holes in soft materials like cardboard or newspaper, that means it is time to clear the clutter and set a few traps in high activity areas. By attacking these rodents from the inside and the outside combined a full on infestation can be avoided. However, they are tenacious little buggers in large numbers with dwindling natural habitats. To keep them out of the garage and ultimately your home the condition of your garage inside and out needs to be addressed throughout the entire year.