The Biggest Threat To A Prepper (And What To Do About It)

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The Biggest Threat To A Prepperphoto © Erni –

The biggest threat to a prepper is not the zombies charging down the street to pillage your stash. It is not your so-called neighbors and friends while you are away. It is not the government making tougher restrictions on how you live. It is not even a natural disaster. Why it is because we are prepared for all those sorts of things.

The biggest threat and most devastating thing to a prepper is simply a little ole rodent.

This little creature can ruin just about everything you have worked for before you even realize it.

What’s that old saying, “If you build it they will come.” Well, I say, “If you store it they will come.” Now with cooler temperatures, the mice are looking for a warmer environment. They are coming out of the fields to your storage room full of all those goodies. There is nothing worse than having to throw away good food because it was not stored correctly. If you find bags or boxes that have been chewed open and some of the contents are gone, I would not chance it due to the risk of disease.

Food storage is the equivalent of the grocery store for a mouse or rat. Once they find it, it’s over. They tell all their friends and family and before long you are overrun.  Most people make a paltry attempt to get rid of them but to be honest (and without disrespect) they have no clue what they are doing. If you don’t do this right, they will walk right over you and don’t for one minute be fooled by the cute face. Rats are hardcore survivalists and they carry numerous nasty diseases.

Here’s a simple four-step principle for rodent removal and cleanup that the pros use: Store up, seal up, trap up, clean up.

Step 1: Store Up

First of all, stop giving them free dinners! All your food should be in containers that are inaccessible to critters. Fresh food, bread etcetera can go in the fridge instead of being left on the counter top. You might want to invest in good quality sealable storage jars – such as Kilner or these Fido Jars that I love and own several of. It may seem like you are spending more, but you end up saving a huge amount when your staples, dried foods and other supplies are kept in good condition. PLus these jars are BPA, phthalate and lead free and so keep the food more pure. You can also buy in greater bulk, which leads to further cost reduction.

Another great tip is food grade plastic buckets. I’ve linked to a source of 5-gallon food grade buckets on Amazon – but you may be able to get them free from the grocery store if you ask, I get mine from the bakery department. They are the small buckets that the icing came in. Leaving the food in the packages, I can put almost six months supply of elbow macaroni in one of those.  This goes the same with everything else that comes in a package. It does make the rotation a little harder, but it’s worth it. Just label the bucket and you’re set. They also stack easily so you can have room for other things.

These little buckets are also great for making up a survival cache. By placing the essentials in it for a week’s worth of meals they are great to take on road trips just in case.

Box foods don’t fit too well in a bucket so I use sturdy totes with well-fitted lids. It is more of a pain to do this with the box foods because you can only see the tops of the box, but it’s better than throwing them away because of a hungry critter. Date the box tops so with a quick glance you can see what’s for dinner that night.

Step 2: Seal Up

Probably the most important step of all – stop giving them free accommodation! This means closing up all the entrances and exits where the critters are coming in. This is no mean feat and may mean crawling under the house to find the place where the plumber drilled a hole for a pipe and left a gap big enough for the critters to sneak through. Sealing up should be done with sturdy 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch wire mesh (also known as hardware cloth), perhaps even folded double, or even 1/16th inch steel plate, held in place with screws in all cases (staples are too weak). Note also that spray foam can be chewed through by rodents and is insufficient for this task. This work needs to be 100% thorough as they only need one entrance. The crawl space should be inaccessible to rodents from the outside, and there should be no way from the sub-floor through to the ground floor – and that includes up through the walls. Also, don’t forget the attic: Attention should also be given to any bushes or trees that would enable rats to climb up and gain entry through roof eaves. Branches touching the roof should be trimmed back to leave 4 feet of clearance.

Step 3: Trap Up

Traps will need to be set for any rats or mice remaining in the house. They will get hungry and noisy if they have no way in or out. This isn’t a nice job. Wear gloves for disposal and don’t touch the animal. Don’t prise it out of the trap, but dispose of the whole thing – straight into a garbage bag and then out.

Step 4: Clean Up

Don’t underestimate this. Rat mess is considered hazardous due to the risk of nasty diseases that rats carry – and if there has been an infestation you should consider professional cleanup. A tyvek suit, respirator, and gloves are vital. Contaminated items – including dirty roof insulation – should be bagged up in situ before being removed from the house. You may wish to consider an enzyme cleaner – excellent for this kind of work – and also a stain and odor-blocking paint such as Kilz Max to treat woodwork.

If you never had a problem like this then that’s great. If there is a way for them to gain entry though, it will happen though and unless you want to waste food, money and time then I suggest taking the extra time to protect your investment.

By Modern Day Redneck – edit by MFSP

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