Finding a rat or a mouse in your home can be a big problem. Not only are these rodents capable of spreading nasty diseases, they can also cause considerable damage by gnawing through electric cables, gas and water pipes and woodwork. In fact, many cases of electrical fires and floods have been blamed on them.
One of the first signs you may have mouse activity is droppings. Rodent control experts Victor Pest, who provide an extensive range of control options and traps for rats and mice, say that even a small infestation can produce thousands of droppings in a short period of time. Another sign that you may have a mouse or a rat is finding a nest. These little rodents like to shred paper from books and paper towels and use wool and other debris to build nests in places such as roof spaces, under floors or in wall cavities – wherever there is access to food.
While discovering that you have a rodent in your home can be a fright, there are things you can do to deal with the problem and prevent them from coming into your home in the first place. Here are our tips:
Secure gaps and holes: Make sure gaps around windows and doors are secured and seal gaps around pipes and under sheds. You may need to block some holes with wire wool embedded in cement and fit metal strips to doors to prevent mice and rats from entering. Some mice need only a very small gap to enter your home – 5mm to be exact! Also check for any loose brickwork around the foundation of your home and fill in cracks and holes.
Remove potential nesting sites: Keep your garden and yard clean and tidy. Cut back overgrown areas and clear away any piles of wood and debris which may attract the rodents.
Cover waste: Dustbin lids should be firmly closed and compost heaps covered as these can be sources of food for hungry pests. Keep food in the home stored away and in containers but be aware that if a rat wants to get at the food it will make every attempt to chew through most packaging.
Use an ultrasonic repellent: This is a device that emits high frequency sound waves that can’t be heard by people and non-rodent pets but that can expel rodents from protected areas.
Traps: If you do find a mouse or rat in your home then a trap is a popular way to get rid of it. Alongside the traditional snap traps, there are also electronic traps that administer a high voltage shock to humanely kill rodents in a matter of seconds. Live traps are another option if you want to catch the rodent without killing it.
Bait: When using a trap, cheese is actually not the most effective baiter. Victor Pest suggests using peanut butter, chocolate, crackers, a thin slice of hot dog, bacon bits or nesting materials such as dental floss to attract the rodent. The specialists advise that when using a solid bait, tying it to the traps will prevent the rodent from licking or nibbling the bait or stealing it without setting off the trap. Where this is not possible, as in using peanut butter, then it is advised to use small amounts.
Take on some of these tips and tricks and prevent mice and rats from invading your home this winter!