The most effective way to prevent rodents in the home is through proper sanitation and preemptive exclusion. Still, mice and rats are intelligent creatures and can easily squeeze through cracks and crevices that seem much too small to be a concern, making them challenging to get rid of. Our homes are most vulnerable during the coldest months of the year, when rodents and wildlife search for water, food, and shelter out of the elements.
Local hardware store traps are an easy and inexpensive option for all any DIY homeowners. Whether you use baited or unbaited traps, you must inspect them regularly. A trapped rodent or a food bait can attract secondary insects and cause an additional infestation.
Snap traps are an effective way of eliminating mice and rats inside the home and work swiftly to kill rodents with as little suffering as possible. Wooden mousetraps are only a few dollars, and you can reuse the traps. If you're like many of us out there and are feeling faint at the thought of clearing the equipment, simply discard the trap.
Keep in mind, SIZE MATTERS! Snap traps come in various sizes, and if you are trying to capture a rat, you will need larger equipment. Using too small of a trap could merely injury the creature and unnecessary suffering.
Live traps leverage rodents' natural tendency to investigate and wiggle into holes. The traps use a wind-up mechanism and are usually triggered by touch, providing rodents an entrance but no way out. Once captured, the rodent(s) must be humanely killed or released under your state's specific rules and restrictions.
Texas requires authorization from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the property owner where the release will occur. A report to TPWD must be sent by no later than the tenth of the month detailing:
Glueboards are useful for tight, hard to reach areas inside the home where snap traps won't work. The panels are coated with a highly sticky, pre-baited adhesive to attract rodents. This solution is useful for mice, but larger rodents can occasionally pull themselves loose from the glue or drag the board if caught by only a foot or two. While glue boards are necessary for some instances, they are considered by some to be inhumane. When disposing of the traps, captured pests can be unsightly.
Baiting Traps: Cheese is not an effective bait. Good bait options are bacon, nuts, dried food, and sticky candies. Peanut butter is also highly attractive to rodents. If using peanut butter, try adding a piece of gauze. The gauze gets stuck in the rodent's teeth, preventing the pest from dragging away the bait without releasing the trap.
Rodenticides: Some rodenticides are available at your local retail stores. However, new EPA regulations have limited availability of baits to the general public. Baits sold must be disposable, ready-to-use bait stations. Licensed pest control professionals have access to a greater variety of rodenticides, including green alternatives, and further usage. Generally speaking, we recommend homeowners use traps for control efforts rather than rodenticides to avoid accidental secondary poisoning of pets or children. If using any pesticide, please read and follow all label directions precisely.
Bait Stations: These hard-plastic shells usually lock and create an enclosed environment for the rodenticide bait, but will not trap the targeted pest. Bait stations protect against accidental contact or ingestion by children or non-target animals.
The placement of traps is critical to the success of treatment. Placement and baiting techniques will vary for rats and mice. The most reliable way to ensure the proper placement is to have an inspection completed by a certified rodent-control professional. They will be able to determine where the rodents are nesting, traveling, and feeding.
Pro-tip: To get rid of mice, leave the traps unset at first. Doing this will enable rodents to investigate the traps without fear, making the traps more effective once set.
Again, we can not stress enough; read and follow label directions precisely if any pesticides are used.
Once you get rid of the mice in your home, you'll want to clean out the nesting materials and sanitize your home. Handle the nest with extreme caution. Like the rodents themselves, it is home to many potentially infectious agents, including fleas, the plague, and Hantavirus. Before cleaning, open the room's windows and doors for 30 minutes. Do not use a vacuum cleaner since vacuuming disrupts airborne viruses that could be inhaled.
Wear non-porous gloves
and a mask while cleaning!
While wearing non-porous gloves and a face mask, soak the rat's nest in disinfectant for five minutes. Then, carefully place the nest in a plastic bag, sealing the bag tightly, and finally set it in a second plastic bag and seal before discarding. Soak any areas where droppings are found with disinfectant for five minutes. Then dispose of the materials the same way you did the rat's nest. Mop and sanitize all surfaces within the home to complete the proper cleaning. Disinfecting fogging services are most suitable to ensure your home's thorough sanitization.
Pro tip: Looking to make your own green, chemical-free cleaning products? Check out our post "A Guide to Green Cleaning Products!"
Resolving an infestation can be daunting. Rodent populations expand rapidly, making eradication difficult. Because of that, homeowners often fail to rectify the problem without professional assistance. If you've exhausted your DIY abilities or want a fast-track to reclaiming your home, we're here to help! Natran's rodent professionals are Green Pro certified and know just how to get rid of mice - we're ready to provide you with a swift and stress-free end to your rodent worries. Ready to get started? Click here.