Fall is a time for pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters… and uninvited houseguests. As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, mice and other small critters start seeking out warm places to build their nests. If your home is on their list of potential housing options, you’re in for a long (and hairy) winter.

But have no fear! With a little advance planning, you can make your home less attractive to four-legged intruders and enjoy critter-free autumn. Read on for our top tips on how to keep the mice and other rodents out of your home this fall.

Seal Up Any Cracks or Gaps

Mice can squeeze through incredibly small spaces—as small as a dime! So take a walk around your home and look for any cracks or gaps that could be potential entry points for unwanted guests. Once you’ve identified them, seal them up with caulk or steel wool.

Keep Your Yard Clean

Wherever mice are hanging out, you’re likely to find some evidence of it in your yard: think droppings, gnawed-on plants, or little tunnels in the mulch. To discourage mice from setting up shop in your yard, clean up any debris regularly and keep your grass trimmed short. Mice like to feel hidden when they’re outdoors, so eliminating hiding spots will make them less likely to stick around.

Cut Back Trees and Shrubs

Mice love trees and shrubs—they provide both shelter and easy access to your home. If possible, cut back any tree branches or shrubs that are touching your house. This will create a barrier that mice will have to cross if they want to get inside, making it less likely that they’ll even try.

Get Rid of Their Food Source

Mice are attracted to two things: warmth and food. If you eliminate their food source, you’ll make your home much less inviting—and much less likely to end up with some uninvited guests this winter.

Be Careful With Your Trash

One of the easiest ways to attract mice is by giving them easy access to food—and that includes leaving trash lying around outside. Make sure all of your trash cans have tight-fitting lids, and try to take the garbage out as close to pickup time as possible. If you have compost, be especially careful about keeping it well-sealed; an open compost bin is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for rodents!

Store Food Properly

Mice can smell food from far away, so if you don’t store it properly, they’ll be able to sniff it out in no time flat. Make sure all dry goods are kept in airtight containers (mice can chew through cardboard!), and keep perishables refrigerated or in the freezer.

Put Down Some Mouse Traps

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, mice still find their way into your home. If that happens, don’t despair—there are plenty of ways to get rid of them! Mouse traps are one of the most effective methods; just be sure to place them where children or pets won’t be able to reach them.

Bring in a Cat

A cat can be a great way to deter rodents; after all, what mouse wants to hang around where there’s a predator lurking? If you don’t have a cat of your own, see if a friend or neighbor would be willing to let theirs stay with you for a while (just make sure they’re up-to-date on their shots first).

Trust Boo to solve your problem

If all else fails, call in reinforcements in the form of an exterminator. Let Boo scare away your pests We will identify any weak points in your defenses and help you come up with a plan to keep rodents out for good!

Don’t let mice ruin your fall fun—use these tips to keep them out of your home this season! And if worst comes to worst and you still end up with some furry unwanted visitors this winter, remember: there are plenty of options for getting rid of them quickly and effectively.

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