When inspecting your house as part of your rodent control program, you should look for signs that rat and mice have entered your home. Here are the common signs of rodent activity.
- Squeaking sounds – Follow where the squeaking sounds are coming from to determine where they’re nesting.
- Gnaw marks – Mice can gnaw on fabric, paper materials, and cardboard boxes. They may shred and use these materials for nesting. Rats can gnaw on wood and piping to look for food sources.
- Urine or droppings – Mice droppings are smaller than rat droppings and are rod-shaped. Rat droppings are usually cylindrical and brown. The urine of rats has a pungent odor.
- Burrows or runways – Rats tend to be more outdoorsy, so they’re more inclined to dig burrows along the walls and structure of a building and around garden areas as well as plants. Check areas of soil or grass that appear pushed down. Rats can also make visible runways along grass from their repeated travels.
- Food tampering – Mice and rats will consume almost any food they can get because they are natural scavengers. They will chew through food packages to access the food inside. Check food containers and packaging inside the pantry.
How to Control Rodents
There are various ways to deal with a mouse or rat problem. An effective rodent control program should include sanitation and removal through mouse and rat baits, rodenticide, and mouse traps.
Mice and rats are present in your yard or house because they’ve found access to nesting materials as well as water and food. Get rid of these sources in order to keep rodents away from your home. Here are some tips on how to sanitize your property.
- Trim bushes and shrubs to prevent them from touching your house.
- Store pet food and bulk food items such as grains and cereals in metal or hard plastic containers with tight lids. Rats and mice can easily gnaw through cardboard boxes and plastic bags if they are hungry enough.
- Keep firewood or woodpiles away from your house.
- Get rid of any cardboard or paper clutter lying around your home that could be used by rodents as nesting material.
- Pick up nuts and fruits that have fallen from the trees in your yard.
- Snap Traps
Using rat poison may cause the rodent to die and the foul odor of its decomposing body is the only sign that the poison worked. Using a rat or mousetrap allows you to know that it worked through the snap indicator.
It also allows you to easily get rid of the caught rodent. This can help you avoid potential secondary infestations such as cockroaches or ants feasting on the rodent’s dead body.
Snap traps are plastic, wooden or metal traps with a tough snap hinge designed to kill captured rodents quickly. It snaps upon the rat or mouse as soon as the rodent touches the trap.
Bait is usually used to lure the animal to the trap. Snap traps should be placed beside the walls in areas where a rodent has been previously spotted.
- Baiting Program
Using bait indoors is not recommended because baits contain a deadly dose of poison. It is possible that the rodent may be in a hard-to-reach area once the bait’s effects incapacitate the animal.
You may not see the rodent’s dead body, but you will definitely smell its foul odor. If you want to use rodent baits indoors, you should keep it away from children and pets and proceed carefully. The best baits are those that emit a scent of food such as a small amount of peanut butter or tuna.
Rodenticide baits are also available such as anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants. Anticoagulants hinder the body’s blood-clotting mechanism, which causes the rat or mouse to die due to internal bleeding.
Some anticoagulants are single-feed and take effect within several days. Its delayed effects reduce bait shyness.
Zinc phosphide and bromethalin-based products are common examples of non-anticoagulants. Palatability is usually low with products that contain these ingredients. Rodents that ingest a lethal dose of non-anticoagulants usually die within twenty-four hours.
Non-anticoagulants are single-feed baits since rodents normally stop eating after a single meal. If they eat a sub-lethal dose, they might develop bait shyness.
Most pest control professionals would deal with rodent problem using a combination of bait stations with rodenticides, snap traps, and glue boards. You just need to put as many traps and baits as possible in order for the rodents to be eliminated efficiently and quickly.
Baiting Techniques and Tips
Rodenticides usually offer the most cost-efficient method to rodent control. Choose rodenticides with a formulation and active ingredient that work well for your environment. Proper bait placements guarantee quick rat or mouse control. It also protects pets, non-target animals, and children from bait contact.
Put rodenticides in containers that are inaccessible to non-target animals and children. If possible, put the rodenticide in properly installed bait stations that are tamper resistant. Bait stations offer extra security for non-targeted animals and children as well as protect the bait from various elements.
Use the right amount of product to ensure a constant bait supply between service visits. Rodenticide bait placements must be no further than eight to twelve feet apart in areas of confirmed mice activity.Rodenticides must be placed every fifteen to thirty feet in areas of confirmed rat activity. You should also keep a comprehensive record of rodenticide and amount used, bait station placements as well as when you last checked the stations. This will help you monitor bait and measure the extent of rodent infestation.