There’s an old rule of thumb that for every mouse you see in the home, another ten are hiding out. Spotting a mouse making a mad dash across your kitchen floor, therefore, has worrying implications.
There’s a few reasons rats and mice are considered some of the more formidable nuisance animals—they breed rapidly, need very little to survive, can carry several diseases, and can be incredibly destructive.
Signs of a Rodent Infestation
While some household pests can be removed rather easily, dealing with rats and mice requires great persistence and a bit of savvy.
- Urine odor. Rodent urine has a very pungent, musky odor, and it is easily smelled in large-scale infestations.
- Gnawed holes. Gnawed mouse holes are small—about the size of a dime—and clear-cut. Gnawed rat holes are considerably larger, with rougher edges.
- Rub marks. Rodents leave oily rub marks where they travel along walls. If these marks smear, then they’re fresh.
- Noises. Rats and mice are nocturnal, and produce scratching, scurrying, and gnawing sounds during the night hours.
- Strange pet behavior. Pets behave very differently when they detect rodents in the house. They may appear very alert, bark, sniff and paw very intently at spaces beneath appliances and furniture.
Now that you know what to look for, lets look at some rodent control methods.
The most common rat traps use a quick trigger system to catch mice. When used correctly, snap traps can quickly eliminate a mouse population in your home. An added benefit is that they are inexpensive, and often reusable. However, they can be tricky to set (your finger, a mouse—it’s all the same to the trap), and their proper use inevitably involves seeing and disposing of a dead mouse.
Glue traps or sticky traps are very simple traps that are comprised of an adhesive glue board—usually made of cardboard or plastic—and require minimal to no set up. However, they can only be used once, don’t work very well outside, and are thought by many to be a bit too cruel.
work by luring mice into a chamber and administering a lethal shock.
These traps are often engineered to include a no-see, no-touch disposal procedure, and light to indicate when a mouse has been caught. They are also designed to ensure that humans or pets can’t be shocked.
The major downside of electric traps is that they usually run on batteries, and the shock uses quite a lot of juice. For this reason, they are more appropriate for small-scale infestations.
These traps do just what the name implies: catch and hold mice, instead of killing them. They are basically cages outfitted with trigger-activated doors; the trap’s door shuts once the mice enter the chamber, and it won’t reopen until you release the captured mouse.
The release should take place at least three miles from your home, to ensure that the mouse doesn’t wander back. As is the case with many pests, rats and mice will become wary of these traps if caught and will likely not enter them again, so proper first-time use is a must.
Rodents enter your house for three reasons: food, water, and shelter. Any step you take to deprive them of these basic needs is a step in the right direction. There are different repellents on the market with varying level of effectiveness. Sonic or ultrasonic repellents have little to not proven effectiveness to get rid of rats and mice.
Natural solutions like peppermint oil or red pepper flakes have limited effectiveness. You will need to reapply frequently, and rats and mice can grow accustomed to the scent.
Rats and mice have a real talent for squeezing in tight gaps, so seal any gaps with wire wool (which is difficult for rodents to chew through), caulk, metal kick plates or cement.
A cluttered room is a rodent sanctuary, as it affords them all sorts of nooks and crannies to hide in. Ensure that garbage is kept in tightly sealed containers, and if possible, move objects away from walls, so you can check what’s behind them.
This is a big one. Many homeowners make it too easy for rodents by leaving food, especially pet food, out in the open for these opportunistic creatures to feast on. Store food in sealed containers, and if you have birdfeeders, consider moving them further away from the house or even taking them down completely until the issue has been dealt with.
Rodenticides are pesticides that kill rodents, including mice and rats. They are often formulated as baits with attractive substances like peanut butter or molasses. Rodenticide baits can provide short-term control of rodent infestations.
You need special care with rodenticides. Some states like California has regulated the use of poisons for rat control. Some specific types of rat poison have also been banned nationwide. Others may be available only to professional pest control operators.
Bait stations increase the safety and effectiveness of rodenticides. Rodent bait stations or boxes contain solid, liquid, or paste baits or traps. They protect the bait from the elements, keep non-target animals out, and help prevent accidental spills.
If you intend to use baits or poisons, make sure to follow all label directions carefully. For rats, place baits anywhere from 15-50 feet apart. House mice seldom venture more than a few feet from their nests, so put their baits closer—no more than 10 feet apart.
Try to place the baits near the rodent’s harboring areas, and avoid moving them after they’ve been placed, as the rodents might grow leery of them.
If you live in wet or damp conditions, use all-weather bait blocks, or soft bait forms. These variants won’t mold and will remain palatable even if wet.
Bait does work because poor choice of bait, improperly placed bait stations, abundance of alternative foods, bat that is mold, rancid, infested with insects, contaminated.
Of course, successful use of poison means dead rodents, which can smell revolting. Finding and disposing of them requires great care and diligence, as rodents carry diseases and shouldn’t be handled directly. This rather grim scavenger hunt can be avoided altogether by contacting Trutech Wildlife Service.
Professional Rodent Control
Rats and mice are noted for their destructive capacity, the staggering rate at which they breed, and the diseases they transmit, which include typhus and Hepatitis E. All these factors make banishing rats and mice a formidable task that might prove too difficult for the average homeowner.
Therefore, it is best to call a professional service like Trutech Wildlife to address a rat or mouse problem as soon as it becomes apparent, as infestations can set in in the blink of an eye.