The 411 on Mice and Rats

Mice and rats (as well as other rodents) are a lot like those relatives from up north in the winter they are looking for:

  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Shelter

No but seriously these rodents’ needs aren’t too much different than humans or other mammals.

Your dwelling provides these 3 needs so it is almost a given they decide to become occupants of garages, attic’s, and every hidden crawl space, gap in the walls in between as their new home.  Rapid breeding cycles often make the issue a tough one to handle if not attended too quickly. A concept of money and value to your belongings (sort of like your childrenJ) is surely something these creeps do not possess, they cause damage to your furniture, wiring, siding, sheetrock, etc. They can also carry many known diseases, making it just that more important to deter these pests from your home.

Once in your home they will find a quiet, secluded area where they can access food easily.  The obvious place is near the kitchen and pantry however they like hiding behind your warm refrigerator and behind other appliances. Given the opportunity mice will collect supplies like newspaper and card board to build their nests.

Tips to help prevent them from entering your home:

  • Entry Holes – Seal around cable and plumbing holes in the exterior walls. Rats and mice can fit in any gap larger then 5mm or will gnaw to make the hole larger to allow access.
  • Vents and Weep Holes – Using a pest resistant wire mesh to cover these areas and still allow air floor through these holes and prevent them from being an easy access points for rodents.
  • Doors and eaves – Apply brush or bristle strips to the base of doors where gaps are present. This is more common in older buildings where movement creates gaps under the doors. Also ensure you fix any damage to roofing preventing new access points.
  • Food Sources – Keep food in sealed metal and plastic containers. Ensure cupboards, refrigerators and stoves are kept clear and clean. Don’t allow oil and food waste to build up around these areas. Try to wash up after every meal or never leave dirty dishes overnight at least.
  • Fruit Trees and Vegetable gardens – Ripe fruit that has fallen from trees or building up in your garden can be an easy food source for mice and rats. They will spend the day hidden in various areas on your property coming out at night to the buffet left in front of them.
  • Cluttered homes and messy gardens – Rodents love to stay hidden which means cluttered environments give them many hiding spots or places to build their nests. Keep areas clear to help reduce these areas.

Red flags that mice are already in your home include:

Heavy movement along areas such as skirting boards and cupboards will show smear marks or oily streaks from the rats greasy hair continuously dragging along these common pathways. You will almost certainly begin to notice their droppings or urine marks from where they are marking their territory or communicating with other members of their group. Another obvious sign is areas in which they have started to gnaw or cables which have been eaten through. This can be a common fire hazard if these cables are active and left exposed. You may also hear them moving above you as you lay in bed at night.

Rodents can live from 1 year to 18 months if the conditions are favorable and can multiply very quickly in these luxurious environments. If you notice that mice are in your home, there are various things you need to try. What to do first once mice have entered your home:

  • Rodent traps from local hardware stores or pest control companies (CALL A PROFESSIONAL ASAP)
  • Cats, can be a great pet and help keep these unwanted visitors low in numbers. Larger populations are not controllable by felines due to the rapid rate of reproduction and simply being outnumbered. It can happen.
  • And again…….Call a Professional! Professionals are able use a quick and effective range of rodent baits to help rid you of rodent problems and can advise you on the safe way to treat your home and how to protect your family and current pets such as dogs and cats from ingesting the bait.  Pest professionals can dispose of these rodents in an environmentally friendly way.