There are more than a 1,000 different species of rats and mice, and even the cleanest of homes is at risk of infestation at one time or another. From the large Norway rat to the tiny field mouse, there are some common species that you need to be on the lookout for. Both rats and mice are fast breeders and can establish a large colony over a short time if the infestation isn’t discovered and treated.
You may see signs of an infestation such as droppings, damage or boxes of food with chew marks or holes. A thorough inspection will help you determine where these pests are coming from and where they are nesting. Any entry point, no matter how small, is a good starting point and should be sealed to prevent rodents from entering your home. Food and water should be kept unavailable at all times, and trash should be taken out daily to make your home less inviting.
Once you have determined that you do have a rat or mouse infestation and figured out what areas these rodents frequent, it’s time to take action. There are basically two types of rodent control: Trapping and poisoning. There are a lot of options in both categories, both for the do-it-yourselfer and professional exterminators, and there are advantages and disadvantages for both methods.
Poisoning: Just like traps, there is a wide variety of rat poison available for consumers and for the pros. These poisons are designed to be eaten by rats and mice and kill them. Some poisons take longer than others, making this method less humane than trapping. Rat poison is very effective when used correctly, but you must be prepared to get rid of all those dead rodents. Disease and bacteria are always a concern with rodents so handling and disposal should be done carefully.
Trapping: Trapping is considered to be the most humane method of getting rid of rats and mice. From the traditional “snap trap” to a variety of catch-and-release traps, some are more humane than others, but both are effective if used correctly. Typically, any type of trap will use some form of food as bait, and when the rodent takes the bait, they are either trapped or killed. Regardless of the outcome, the rat or mouse must be disposed of either in the trash or somewhere outside.
Regardless of the method you choose, understanding a few basics will increase your chances for success. Rodents don’t like things that are unfamiliar, so placing traps or poison must be done in areas that the pests frequent. There is a possibility that a rodent population could be quite large so be sure to use a sufficient number of traps or poisons. Dead rodents should be cleaned up as quickly as possible, so you don’t deter the rest of the colony.