Your home can be a nesting place for mice especially when the cold season kicks in. The rodent population tends to spike during winter and fall because they come in search of warmth, shelter, and food. And once they are in, they bring with them all kinds of diseases and bacterial infections.
Getting rid of rats can be challenging because they are sneaky and only come out in the dark. However, it is possible to outsmart and capture them. Read along to discover how.
How to Know you Have a Mice Problem
A lot of signals could suggest that you have unwanted visitors in your home, the most common being smell and sound. Crackling noises in the middle of the night coupled with a strong ammonia smell is enough evidence you have mice crawling around.
Rats will hide in holes or even create them to accommodate their nesting paces. Walls, and floors are commonly targeted areas and it is no surprise to hear movements and noises underneath or behind these surfaces.
At the same time, teeth marks are another warning sign. Mice have powerful front incisors that enable them to gnaw through plastic and wood seamlessly. You will notice rough edges where they have been.
Look for droppings in your house too. These should be easier to find since rats can excrete up to 40 droppings per day. You will likely spot some under your sink, near a crack in your wall, or behind doors.
Finally, smear marks and footprints might also indicate a problem. Of course, these are harder to spot than other signs but they count as well. Mice leave a nasty grease mark when they rub up against walls. Moreover, dusty areas of your home may bear witness to rodent infestation.
Getting Rid of Rats
Mice breed very quickly given the right conditions, so you may want to get ahead of the situation before things get out of hand. Contacting pest control services may be a smart option if you happen to be dealing with chronic numbers, however, the good news is you can eradicate them on your own.
Here is how to do that;
1. Get Them out of Hiding
Mice burrowed inside your walls must be lured out for you to catch them. Being nocturnal creatures, they are likely to creep out between dusk and dawn and this is when you need to have your bait traps laid out.
Place some cheese inside or peanut butter to attract the mice and ensure the traps are placed strategically in areas frequented by the rodents. The kitchen’s entry points for instance are a good idea.
The kind of trap to use is totally up to you. Traditional traps have been the go-to option for years, however, live traps are more forgiving if you prefer to free the animal rather than kill it.
You will need more than one trap depending on the number of mice you suspect to be nesting in your home. Further, you’d need to check the baits at least twice a day so you can proceed to either dispose of or free your catch.
Some people have a problem with pulling the dead mouse from the trap so if this is you, you can dispose of both the mouse and trap together. And if you’re freeing the prey, ensure it is at a safe distance away from your residence, maybe a forest or park. Either way, have your gloves on for both protocols.
2. Use Rodent Pesticides
These have been found effective in some cases but not always. Mice can be resistant to poisonous pellets making the strategy almost useless. Not only that, but if a mouse carries a pellet or two into a crack in a wall, it could die inside and cause a strong odor.
If you will to give it a try, proceed with caution. The last thing you want is to end up poisoning your toddlers or pets.
In that case, place the pellets inside a station box with the poison deep inside. These boxes resemble a maze and have only one entry point. It keeps the animal caged and the poison out of reach. The further the box is from your pets and children, the better.
3. Do Away with other Foods
For the bait trap to do its job, you have to clear any other distractions that might be lying around. This means keeping your kitchen spotless, cleaning any spills and food leftovers on the countertops. Mice will chew on the tiniest of particles so getting rid of them will focus attention on the bait.
Have your foods tightly sealed and stashed away in the refrigerator or pantry, and while at it, do not forget to close your kitchen cabinets and drawers.
4. Seal all Cracks and Holes
Because mice steer clear of openly accessible areas, the only remedy to this is closing such entry points. Locking them out will leave no hiding spot and thus nowhere to run for refuge.
Fill the holes in your walls, floors, and pipes with steel wire that has been reinforced with caulking. The extra layer makes it difficult for the mouse to chew on so it will give up. Note that if the rat can get its head through then it can squeeze its whole body. Caulking does not allow this.
A word of caution, do not trap the mice inside their residence, or else this will lead to another problem altogether. Be sure that your prey is out of hiding so you do not have to deal with a foul smell that’s out of reach.
5. Maintain Your Property Rat-free
To prevent a repeat of a rat disaster, it’s wise to take the necessary prevention measures. Cats for instance are a great natural combatant. Their scent is enough to scare away rats. And in case this is not an option for you, you could pick up some kitty litter and pour it inside mole tunnels.
Rodent repellants are another alternative. They are easily available from your pest control store or you could do a DIY. Mix three cups of warm water with a teaspoon of peppermint oil and shake well. Proceed to spray any mice hot spots inside and outside your home.
Lastly, take the time to also repair any worn-out windows and doors. Keeping them in top shape will lock out lurking rodents.