Rats and mice are the most abundant and therefore the more annoying and destructive of all rodents the homeowner or business owner may encounter. Throughout history, they have been responsible for more human illnesses and deaths than any other mammals. The most common are the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat and the House Mouse.
Rats and mice are offensive in many ways
- They eat and contaminate all types of food.
- They damage and destroy property.
- They carry diseases that are health hazards to both humans and animals – diseases such as typhus fever, Trichinosis, plague, infectious jaundice, Salmonella food infections, and rat mite dermatitis.
Identification of a rodent infestation
The signs of a rat or mouse infestation include droppings, tracks in the moist earth or dusty places, and burrows in the ground. There will be signs of gnawing and runways in the grass or through trash. You also can smell the presence of rats and mice, especially in a poorly ventilated room.
Removal of Shelter
Piles of lumber, trash or other materials can be shelters for rats. Trash, such as empty boxes and cartons, should be discarded of promptly. Stored materials should be at least 18 inches off the ground or floor, and with space between the material and the wall.
Removal of Water and Food
The best way to eliminate the food supply of rats and mice is to store food in glass or metal containers, and to put garbage in tightly covered trash cans. Repair leaky faucets and remove any water that rodents have access to.
Rodenticides and Traps
- Rodenticides – One effective way of destroying rats and mice, and the one most generally recommended, is the use of rodenticides. There are many different kinds of rodenticides available.
- Traps – Traps work well where there are few rats and mice. The best place to set traps is close to walls in areas where rodents run. The selection of baits for trapping is important. Baits should be fresh and changed daily. Use a variety of baits on traps rather than a single kind of bait. Fruit, peanut butter and nuts all make good baits.
Sealing Possible Entry Points
All openings rodents can enter should be covered with rat-resistant materials such as hardware cloth or steel wool. Doors should be closed when not in use, and all edges subject to gnawing should be covered with metal. Unnecessary openings should be covered with concrete or sheet metal. Concrete also can be used to prevent rats from burrowing under foundations.