Mice and rats can be easily spotted everywhere, and these critters can be a source of various harmful diseases. In fact, rats can be found in every city and countries, even in sailing ships. These pests are related closely to humans since we provide their three basic needs, food, water, and shelter. Mice and rats infestation at home can be dangerous because not only they spread various diseases, but also they are capable of causing multiple damages to the house. To control mice and rat infestation, there are numerous chemical products which can be found in wide markets. However, homeowners must also concern about re-infestation, instead of merely extermination. As long as rats consider your house a place to fulfill their basic needs, these critters are likely to get back. Thus, persistence and commitment to hygiene and sanitation are required, aside from attempting to kill the creatures using safe methods which will not harm the whole family members.
Signs of mice and rats problems
Noticing signs of mice and rats infestation enables you to perform initial treatment before the infestation gets heavier. Normally, rat infestation can be seen easily you might even spot the critter with bare eyes. However, sometimes homeowners do not realize that mice and rat infestation exist in their houses since they do not spot the animal itself. In fact, knowing the signs of mice and rats problems can be encountered by paying attention to the things the critters may produce or leave behind.
Mice and rats are nocturnal so that their activities are likely to be performed at night. It will be hard to notice its activities during the day. However, at night you might hear strange sounds following their presence. The sounds might be gnawing, wall scratching, or other squeaky sounds. Mice and rats gnaw to trim their constantly growing teeth. Tooth marks as the result of this gnawing can be seen on wooden materials, such as baseboards, doors, window’s frames, cabinets, or wooden picket fences.
Around the infested areas, mice and rats spread musty odor which infiltrates the air and can be a strong sign of this pest infestation. This odor comes from mice urine and can be spotted on the woodwork.
Mice’s droppings are dark-colored and measured approximately 1/8 to ¼ inch long, while rats’ droppings are slightly longer—1/2 to ¾ inch long. Old droppings are grayish and pale. This excrement becomes dry and hard after several days. Check the areas behind kitchen cabinets, garage, basement, and other suspected spots.
Mice have sharp teeth and can enter the house by making holes on the wooden materials. Uneven holes behind the cabinets, cupboard, or wall corners might be the pests’ entrance for infesting the house.
- Runway tracks
Since mice have poor vision, they tend to run very close to the wall and other helpful surfaces. As mice and rats have oily skin and hair, this oil running tracks can be spotted under a strong flashlight. Look for the tracks which contain greasy lines and dirt on the wall and other visible surfaces to possibly find the mice nests.
Mice and rats use shredded paper and clothing to build up their nests. Hence, a pile of these on a dark, unnoticed spots can be the sign of larger infestation. Look carefully for any possible nests around the cabinets or wardrobe if you notice some of your clothes are torn.
Getting rid of mice and rats in house
Mice and rats are considered as troublesome pests because of various bad effects they may cause. Hence, it is important to find a solution and treatment which can get rid of mice and rats infesting the house as soon as possible. Often, homeowners believe that having one or two mice around the house is not a big problem. In fact, these visible mice or rats are not its entire population. There might be more population which grows bigger without being noticed. Immediate mice infestation extermination should be performed regarding the health risks which may occur with the infestation.
Risks from mice and rat infestation
Mice and rats are the cause of problems around the house which can be associated with health and home safety. Several problems which are encountered as infestation exists include:
- Mice are carriers of bacteria, virus, parasites, and diseases originated in the place they are living in or the dirt they consumed. An infested house is prone to these carried diseases which can be spread through mice’s saliva, urine, and fecal excrements. Some of the diseases are transmittable to humans and pets, such as leptospirosis, Hantavirus, pulmonary fever, typhus, salmonellosis, and even asthma.
- Mice gnaw and may damage the wooden construction of a house. Their teeth are sharp and they gnaw to trim their growing teeth. Wooden surfaces are helpful in providing soft tooth-trimmer and hence, are chewed frequently. If the infestation at the house is heavy, it is not impossible that this population damages a large number of wooden things inside the house which can be dangerous for the house structure.
- Mice are able to walk on a thin wire and undoubtedly, chew it. While chewed woods are dangerous for the house construction, chewed wire is even more dangerous. This makes the house prone to the risk of fire. In fact, 25% of fire are caused by electricity shorts which are caused by the mice-damaged wire.
Killing mice and rats
As mice and rat infestation has become a common house problem, there are various commercial products which can be chosen to get rid of the critters. Some old-fashioned way to get rid of rats which are still widely used nowadays is by keeping a cat, which is a natural rat’s predator. However, this can be less effective since not all cats are a great mouse-catcher so that it is not necessarily helpful in getting rid of rat population at home or in the farms. Should rat infestation in your house has become a frustrating problem, you might want to consider some other ways of killing the pests.
- Using live traps
Besides keeping a cat as a mouser, live traps is also a common method to get rid of mice and rats. To do this method, you will need any materials which can be processed into a trap, such as pallet woods or wire. Since the traps should have a closure which will close automatically when triggered by an entering mouse, you might want to buy the store-bought one if it is hard for you to do it yourself. You will also need any kind of foods as a bait, which will be placed into the boxed trap. Cut the bait into a small piece and place it inside the trap box. When a mouse is trapped, relocate the mouse from the house or put it into a plastic bag and toss it in the trash can.
- Using kill traps
Another old-fashioned mouse trap is the kill trap, which is made from strong wire or glued board. This trap will kill any trapped rats instantly. It is offered in the wide market in different shapes and sizes, which compromise your needs. Baits are also required to heighten the possibility for a mouse to be trapped. However, many people consider this kind of trap as a cruel method of killing rats, so that live traps are usually preferred, and is still one of the best ways of catching and killing the pests.
- Bucket traps
This is the best method of killing rats which infest the farm. Farmers create the trap by filling a bucket with water or oil and scatter floating seeds in it. They put a board leading to the rim which mice and rats can climb into to get the seedy bait. They will not be able to swim and climb back down so that they will die in this bucket. Many farmers and homeowners state that this is a pretty effective trick for both the farm and garden, as long as they change the water once they found dead mice and rats. Unchanged water will invite another pest which can be disturbing.
Rat poison is very common and can be found easily at the markets. This poison is usually tasty for mice and rats and thus, attract their appetite. Some other kinds of rat poisons are plain-tasted and can be mixed to your preferred baits to attract the victim-to-be. Rat poison is considered effective because it will definitely kill the rats and thus, reduce its colonies. However, some tips on using the poison are as follow:
- Choose a rat poison which is likely to dry up the pests’ body, so that there will be no unpleasant smell around the house which comes from dead rats.
- Place the poisoned bait under the cabinets or any other places which cannot be reached by pets and children, as rat poisons are highly toxic to humans and other animals.
- Check frequently the areas you put the poison in since there might be dead rats which do not find any way out of the house. Dispose of any found dead corps before they start spreading bacteria.
Prevention tips for mice and rats infestation
Among all the methods of killing mice and rats, keeping those pests away is the most effective one in preventing the infestation. It is not easy to get rid of mice and rats as they reproduce quickly and build the nests in hidden places which can hardly be visible. Our houses and farms are their sources of living needs so that they will keep attempting to get into any possible places. Read on to consider tips on preventing mice and rats from infesting the place you are living in.
- Cut off all possible foods, water, and shelter sources which may attract mice and rat colonies by:
- Emptying the trash bin in the kitchen before sleeping time
- Sweep all food crumbs and wipe spills on the floor and cabinets clean
- Put away pets’ bowl and drinking bottle
- Check any leaked faucets in the bathroom, kitchen sink, and garden to cut off the water supply which may attract the pests
- Put away any wood or paper piles and avoid keeping those in an opened space as the rats and mice might use those things for building nests.
- Seal cracks and holes in the wall or wooden casings around the house. Check for holes and cracks on the pets’ wooden houses in the garden if you have one. Mice and rats may find this entrance and use the pet’s house as their hidden nest. Plastic-based pet house or iron-based pet cages are a better choice since those are easier to clean and are not prone to pest infestation.
- Put some mothballs around your garage, basement, and the spaces between cabinets in the kitchen. These chemical-based ingredients keep the mice and rats away because it excretes strong smell hated by the pests. However, put this remedy away from spaces which can be reached by pets and children.
- Trim tree branches and bushes in the garden, as these, might be a hidden spot for rat colonies. Compost files are also attracting the pest so that it has to be tossed immediately.
- Close the door and windows—especially those ones in the garage when not in use, since the pests can come in without you noticing. Some people suggest to splatter peppermint oil to the door rug to keep mice away.
- Leaving the kitchen lamp on at night might help to deter possible mice colonies from infesting the kitchen because mice prefer dark spots.
Mice and rats are scary critters which may spread multiple contagious diseases to humans and animals. Since mice and rats infestation is common, many people usually do not react immediately. In fact, immediate treatments are very important in combating and getting rid of the infestation. There are various ways to perform this, and professional exterminator can be helpful if you think the infestation has been too heavy for DIY treatments. To prevent future re-infestation, house hygiene must be paid attention to. Be accustomed to small stuff about home cleanliness to deter the pests. Cutting off its access to foods, water, and shelter can be an effective way of getting rid of the rodents. Quick and consistent actions will help you eliminating the existing infestation and preventing any possible colony re-infestation. Check your house both indoor and outdoor to make sure there are not pests trying to get their ways into the residence.