Its that time of year again when Rodents are at their most active in and around our homes. Of course Rodents are an issue all year round but during the colder months we tend to be more aware of them as they head into our homes/workplaces looking for a warm place to start a family…
Rodents spread disease and it is really important that they are kept away from our homes and most crucially our food preparation/storage areas. So what can you do? There are a few things to know about Rats and Mice to ensure you adequately protect your home.
- They are Prolific Breeders
- They love dark damp places with lots of debris
- Once they find a home they are reluctant to leave as other Rats will attack them coming into their territory
- They fit through really small spaces!! Mice fit through 6-7mm and Rats 20mm
- They are mistrustful of changes in their environment and can take a while to take a bait or approach a trap
- They do alot of damage inside a home and can ruin wiring, insulation and even plasterboard.
- Predators and “scents” won’t chase them out.
- They spread disease.. and we’re not just talking the “Plague”
The most effective form of treatment is prevention! Keeping them out of your home is key! Once they gain entry it can take a long time to get the problem under control. So block up entry points to your home. Expanding insulation foam is best as it ensures the whole area is blocked. Wire Mesh is the next best thing if it is an area that needs ventilation. Steel Wool can also be used to pack out a hole around a pipe. Limit their access to your roof. Trim back overhanging branches and foliage that provide a bridge into your home. Install a special “guard” around the power lines coming into your home so they can’t walk along the line straight into your roof. (These are available from most hardware stores)
Limit the areas they can nest in and around your home by removing all debris and clutter. Minimise the things they can use for nesting such as fabric and paper and cardboard as they will tear this up into small pieces and create a warm environment for their babies who need to be kept warm while mum and dad are out foraging for food. Choose the type of roof insulation for your home with this in mind as wool insulation and spray in particles create a great nesting environment. The rolls of insulation have less loose debris that can be used for nesting.
Ensure there isn’t any water source for rats or mice to drink from. This includes fixing dripping taps, repairing plumbing leaks, removing containers of water and ensuring there isn’t alot of water siting in pot plant saucers.
Limit food sources. Make sure that their options for food are minimal! Put all of the food in your pantry in glass jars or very heavy duty plastic as rats will eat through plastic eventually. You do need to be more careful with glass in your home as opposed to plastic which doesn’t shatter when you drop it.. If your home isn’t very hospitable to them when they do their initial recon they may not choose it as the perfect place to live…. maybe bothering that neighbour you don’t like.
There are a list of natural deterrents listed on the internet but once you have a mouse or rat they usually won’t leave because you introduce these deterrents to the environment. These are better thought of as one weapon in your “deterrent” plan. I have had some success with peppermint tea bags discarded around problem areas and peppermint essential oil sprayed around… You could plant some plants that are said to be deterrents such as: Mint, Sweet Pea, Lavender, Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Catnip, Camphor Plant, Elderberry. Having a cat or dog that is a good mouse hunter isn’t usually a deterrent in and of itself as they are used to sharing their environment with a predator.. which is why they find small inaccessible areas to set up house.. your ceiling or walls are their favourites.
Deter them from your home by Limiting Food and water, Blocking Entry using Natural Deterrents and having a good hunting Pet.
What can you do once they move in?
Once Rodents have moved in you will need to attack the problem on multiple fronts. Block off access points to food. Ensure there is no pet food left out or other food sources available to them. Set up traps and Baits in areas they travel or close to their nest if yo know where that is. Place the baits and traps inside a box with a clear entry and exit so that they feel safe to enter this space. Make this area really attractive by putting a little bit of an alternative food source loose in this area and put a small shallow container with water in it. It may take a while for them to trust this new thing in their environment. If you are using baits the rodent will go looking for water after it has consumed the bait and providing the water source will hopefully mean the dying rodent will die there where you can easily access the dead body for removal. Otherwise if they crawl in between your walls and die you will have an awful smell to deal with.
Be really careful if using poisons!
If handling baits be aware that rodenticides are extremely dangerous. Don’t be blase! Wear disposable gloves when placing baits and removing dead bodies! Make sure the baits are not accessible to other creatures. It is imperative that small children, our natural wildlife or your pets aren’t poisoned too! Baits should be placed inside lock boxes. The dead rodent is also a danger to other creatures as the poison remains active for several days. It can take several days from ingestion of poison to death making the slower rodent more likely to be captured by predators.
If you are suspicious your pet may have accidentally ingested poison this site is a great resource for information: https://www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/rodenticide-poisoning/anticoagulant-rodenticides-warfarin-and-congeners
What does your Pest Control Expert do?
Our technicians will assess the level of problem you are experiencing and give you their best advice on methods of attack. We would usually install bait stations that are not accessible by children or pets in areas frequented or commonly travelled by the pest. These baits will only be consumed if there are no more palatable and previously trusted food sources available.. so just laying out baits isn’t enough.. you also need to remove other food sources. A full rodent program can be instigated if the issue is a large infestation. This will involve monitoring and re baiting regularly.