Control of Rodent Infestations
Signs that you might have a rodent infestation include:
- Droppings and urine
- Burrows or holes around foundation walls
- Tracks on dusty surfaces
Rodents can be carriers of disease and can damage property. Knowing what type of pest you have can help you figure out the best approach to controlling them.
Follow these tips to prevent rodent infestation in your home:
Rodent Proof your Home
- Eliminate easy entry points (some rodents can squeeze through cracks as small as a dime)
- Use metal weather-stripping under doors and weather strip windows
- Patch cracks in foundations
- Stuff steel wool around pipes before caulking or plastering
- Cover dryer vents, attic vents or soffits with fine mesh metal screening
Make your home less appealing to rodents
- Remove any clutter around the house and garage
- Cut tall grass and weeds
- Secure garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids
- Never place fatty or oily food waste, eggs or milk products in the composter
- Raise woodpiles about 30 cm off the ground and place them away from the house
- Eliminate water sources like leaky taps and open drains
- Keep the kitchen clean and store dry food and dry pet food in containers
- Dog feces can be a rat food source, feces should be collected and disposed of promptly
Setting Traps and Baits
There are several types of traps that can be used to control rodents. Always follow the manufacturer's directions and check all types of traps daily.
Snap and electronic traps are easy to use and very effective if well-positioned and set properly.
Follow these general guidelines:
- Most traps without covers should be set at right angles to the wall with the baited end of the trap closest to the wall. Some traps like electronic traps and covered snap traps should be set with the entrance parallel and flush against the wall. Set one trap per metre along walls or 5 to 10 traps per visible mouse hole.
- Allow a warm-up period of three to four days by baiting the traps but not setting them so that the rodents become comfortable taking the bait
- Use baits of strong smelling sticky-like foods
- Reuse the traps as used traps are more attractive to rodents
- Move traps to different locations if the bait does not disappear regularly
- Reset the traps in two to three weeks to catch maturing rodents
These devices give off sound waves or vibrations that rodents dislike.
Rodents may adapt to the devices and return, so it's recommended that these devices be used along with the other pest management practices.
Baits are a common way of controlling rodents. However, poisoned baits alone cannot replace rodent proofing.
Cleaning and Sanitation
Use caution when near urine and droppings:
- Wear rubber gloves and a dust mask during cleanup
- Dampen droppings and debris with a solution of bleach and water before wiping up
- Wear gloves to dispose of dead rodents
- Double bag the bodies of rodents in plastic bags and put in a garbage bin with a secure lid
- Wash hands and exposed clothing thoroughly after cleanup and separate from other laundry
- Never sweep or vacuum dry droppings as the dust that is raised can cause illness