Rodent Exclusion

Finding the right rodent exclusion company versus doing it myself is a problem I never want to undertake again. As I found myself quickly inundated with all the horrors that come with a rat infestation, I began a breakneck paced search to find a company to help deal with the mess and perform rodent exclusion services.

Rodent exclusion

Whether you are interested in a do-it-yourself job or hiring a professional, exclusion is extremely hard work and the most important part of rodent control. Often times this will be an ongoing process, as the most obvious exclusion points will be fixed first, paving the way for rodents to slowly reveal other less obvious holes.

One of the important requirements of the service was finding a company that would actually disinfect and cleanup the rat infestation. Many companies were willing to trap or poison the rodents, but not much else beyond that.

I chose the first company to call me back that was able to perform everything. Summer is right around the corner, and with the current infestation, my AC was inoperable. Not the most ideal situation, but it is what it is.

What is Rodent Exclusion?

Rodent exclusion services consist of rodent-proofing your home as best as possible from entry. Find and block off holes. Essentially, any entry point the size of a quarter or less was fair game.

The Bid

The pest control company I chose identified an entry point right by my front door almost immediately after knocking. I was kind of embarrassed I never spotted something under my nose, but I guess this was a sign I needed outside help, and these people knew what they were doing.

Two people arrived, did a walkthrough around the house, in the garage, in the attic, climbed onto the roof, and peeked into a crawlspace entry point. All of which had signs of fresh rat droppings. Yuck.

This particular company operated by charging a $200 fee to come out and setup a plan to exclude all the rodents. They sent me an email within 15 minutes of evaluating the house detailing all the entry points with photos.

I could either take the information and perform all of the work myself, or hire this pest control company to do the exclusion, with the cost of the fee being removed.

After evaluating what a lot of the work was and whether I wanted to do it myself, I ended up signing off on them doing it all.

Cost of Rodent Exclusion

With a house of around 1500 square feet, and the cost came to $2775 – this the price in Sacramento, California – your own price will vary by location and work done.

Exclusion work to seal found rodent entry points including 7 coves, 2 gaps in chimney sides, 1 eve vent, 2 garage entry points and front patio wood siding gap. A two-year service warranty on workmanship is provided.

The company also told me that as I did other repairs or work in the house and found new entry points, they would come out and fix those as well, included in the price.

The company was able to start work the same week. They came out to bid on Monday and were available Thursday. They set traps that Monday while I was reviewing the contract.

While reading about other experiences people have had with cost, it seems like $2000-$3000 is a very normal range.

The company also offered to remove all old insulation, decontaminate the empty space, then reinstall new blow-in insulation. The total cost for this include rodent exclusion would have been $12,000.

Pricing was pretty transparent. They plugged in the square footage of the house into their phone, clicked on the service, and were able to provide an instant quote.

This seems to be a fairly common add-on service across the board, with reported prices being anywhere from $8000 to $15000. Again, the market and city you’re in will have a big impact on where you sit in the pricing range.

This is the bid for someone living in a two story 1600sqft home in Ohio. The home has three separate attic areas with obvious evidence of rodents in one and slight evidence of bats in the other.

Seal siding/foundation overlap along lower perimeter to prevent the entry of wildlife. $600

Install Peak Protector system (custom cut, galvanized, black vinyl coated screen) along the linear sides of ridge roof vents to prevent animal entry. $950

Install custom cut and painted, heavy welded screen over louver vents to prevent animal entry. $130

Seal soffit/roof junctions to prevent the entry of wildlife. $400

$2080 total, which doesn’t include the trapping the homeowner is doing themselves.

Choosing a Pest Control Company

During all of my research, these are some important things to check on when having companies bid on rodent exclusion for your home.

Do you feel rushed? Is the company impatient with your questions? Do they rush you or use high pressure tactics to get you to sign with them? This is a big initial red flag to not use the company.

Length of warranty. Generally its either 1 or 2 years, with a few companies offering lifetime if you use their monthly or bi-monthly pest control service.

New entry point coverage. What happens after they finish initial work and a new entry point is found? Ideally the company will come out and fix issues that continue to crop up as rodents try and inhabit your home.

Protective gear. Does the company take disease seriously? Make sure this is the kind of company that will use respirators, full masks, and plastic coverings if necessary.

Decontamination. Does the pest control company decontaminate? Will they use a virucidal agent or enzyme cleaner? Will they clean up rat droppings and other messes?

Attention to detail. When the company is walking around the house, how good are the people at spotting things? Do you feel like they are instantly identifying problems and seeing things that aren’t obvious?

DIY Exclusion

I wanted to tackle exclusion work myself and hire a professional to clean up the nasty mess.

I’ve had minor rat issues in the past and had gone around the house before, finding and sealing off entry points. This time, however, I went around and around the house, unable to figure out an entry point.

Performing your own do-it-yourself exclusion work is very hard and time-consuming, but can also save you thousands of dollars – and you only have to do it once. For me, I threw in the towel. These are all methods you can use before hiring a professional.

Rats can scale wood, brick, and stucco like a staircase, though smoother sidings like aluminum or vinyl are tougher for them. Consider every little hole where you can see daylight while inside the attic. This is tedious but absolutely worth it as it’s effectively a one-time project.

Once you’ve done this, the routes into your attic are either dramatically reduced, or completely eliminated depending on your diligence. This is not a step you want to skimp on, or you will forever have rodents.

Take your time and find as many of the holes as you possibly can. Having someone outside with a very bright flashlight can help find those oddly placed holes that aren’t easy to see but might be a rodent superhighway. If you have a crawlspace or sub-area, do the same thing there as well.

Rodent Exclusion Products

Full PPE

You need a respirator, gloves, bootie covers, and full disposable suit. Both mice and rats carry hantavirus, the black plague, and other nasty things. You can give yourself serious and irreversible medical conditions.

Do not go in your attic or crawl under your house to even look around without at the very least a N95.

Use masking tape to seal the suit to your gloves and boot covers. Then put a second glove layer on top of the sealed.

Bait and Poison

The poison the pro exterminators use is Contrac Blox. You’ll also need the right bait stations to lure the rodents in.

These are for exterior use, and best set after you’ve performed your first round of exclusion work.

Estimated cost: $150

Traps

The Victor rat traps are the most effective and humane traps out there. Never use sticky traps, as it essentially constitutes torture. Tie a string to the trap and ties it off so the trap cannot be dragged away and into the depths of your home.

You’ll want to use these traps for the interior of your home only. You can better dispose of dead bodies without weeks of disgusting smells, and you won’t kill or maim outside wildlife.

Estimated cost: $20

Crawl Space Entry Points

Use 1/4″ hardware cloth and make sure all of the windows leading into the crawlspace and subfloor are fully covered.

Just don’t cover your dryer vent with this, as it will violate code and very potentially create a fire.

If you don’t already have some, tin snips will help you cut the cloth to fit.

If you have entry points completely open and you’re starting fresh, you might just want to get a pre-made crawlspace vent ($25ish each), which can match your home’s style a bit more nicely.

Estimated cost: $50

Skirting

If rodents are digging to get under your house, you will need to bury about 9″ of the same 1/4″ hardware cloth around your entire home’s perimeter to prevent the rodents from digging through and under your foundation. In talking to the pest control company hired to do my own exclusion, they said this is mostly relevant for snakes, best done at the fence line.

Estimated cost: $1 per foot of perimiter

Small Holes

For any small holes identified around your home, stuff them with copper meshing. Regular steel wool will rust and fall apart quickly. The mesh is much more durable. Use a foam sealant or clear silicone sealant, depending on what look you’re after for your home. If you are using foam around a fireplace, you’ll want to make sure you use a fire-rated product.

For larger holes, combine the above methods with 1/4″ plywood backing. Paint the plywood and you can monitor for chew marks.

Estimated cost: $80

HEPA Shop Vac

Use a HEPA filtered shop vac to clean up any rat droppings. A cordless small vacuum is perfect for carrying in your attic and under your house.

When cleaning up insulation, use black leaf bags and scoop up the nasty stained portions carefully, without disturbing too much dust or particles and dispose. This will reduce the risk of hantavirus exposure.

Estimated cost: $200

Mortar Mix

For repairing holes and entry points between the sill plate (The bottom horizontal portions of your home’s foundation) and your walls, a bit of fast set masonry mix will stop rodents from chewing new holes. It is also a useful method to shore up entry points between different types of materials, such as concrete, stucco, wood, or stone.

Estimated cost: $25

Professional Rodent Exclusion

As I mentioned earlier, I threw in the towel, DIY’ing as much as I could, before I had to turn to professional help. Not only did the company’s estimators identify holes I totally missed, but the people who came out to do the work found even more spots as they meticulously went over every inch of the house’s exterior. From little possibilities to a few embarrassingly large holes I missed, it soon became obvious hiring professionals to do the work was the right choice.

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