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The Homeowners Guide to DIY Rodent Control

Bug Lady posted this on Oct 18, 2016


When you are dealing with a rodent infestation it is imperative to take action immediately with a smart DIY rodent control plan.  Solutions Pest & Lawn has put together this easy to follow DIY rodent control guide which is guaranteed to eliminate problem rodents from your home permanently.

Rats and Mice Overview

rat and mice control

Both rats and mice tend to breed rapidly (not with each other), so if they aren’t dealt with promptly, you can go with dealing with one or two to dealing with an entire infestation. 

Rats and mice are very damaging to interiors as they are known to contaminate food, and ruin the structure of your home and property with their constant need to gnaw for survival. Dealing with rats is much more hazardous to humans as they bite when they are threatened or cornered.

The two most common rats that are found in homes, commercial and business building are the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat. The common mouse that are usually encountered are house mice.

Rat and Mouse Characteristics

rat and mouse control

The Norway rat is brown or black and will have a grayish belly, and can weight over a pound. They typically have a very broad body. Their tails can be as long as their body, and they consume human food. The Roof Rat will travel the same path every night and is the most common species of rats. They are nocturnal but have been seen during the day when the population has gotten too large. This rat will have a longer more pointed nose.

 

House mice are smaller in size than rats and covered in short hair which ranges in color from light brown or gray to black in color, with light colored bellies. Adult mice weigh approximately between 12 to 30 grams and can grow up to 20 cm from the nose to the tip of the tail. Droppings are rod-shaped and pointed on both ends.

 

DIY Rodent Control Guide

Rat and Mouse Identification

Mice are about 5 to 9 inches of total fear creating rodents, can have a tail that is about 2 to 4 inches long and can weigh as little as an ounce. Some can be grayish to even brown hair and they can have relatively large ears and nearly a hairless tail. Unfortunately for humans, mice like living close to us, in and around houses or in fields. They mean us no harm unlike rats but they can do some serious damage to clothing and household items if they get in them.

Rats are about 6 to 10 inches long and this can depend on what type of rat you are dealing with, tails can range from 6 to 10 inches long. The Norway rat can have average size ears while the Roof Rat has a very large prominent set of ears. They can also have litters between 6 and 18 offspring. Now that’s a big family!

Homeowners usually can mistake a rat for a mouse or vice versa. The table below contains each rodents defining characteristics to help you to distinguish between the two. Of course, if you are still unable to distinguish between the two, you can take a photo of the rodent and send it to our email at: askapro@solutionsstores.com and we will identify the critter for you promptly so you can carry on with your DIY rodent control program.

 

Feature

Rat

Mouse

Head

short, stubby, broad, large relative to body

small, triangular, small relative to body

Muzzle

large and blunt with wide muzzle

narrow with sharp muzzle

Ears

ears are small relative to the head

ears are large relative to the head

Tail

thick

thin

Tail/

Body

ratio

Tail usually longer than body

Tail same length/longer than body

Feet

Large relative to body, especially the hind feet

Small relative to body

Weight

around 100 grams at 6 weeks, 200 grams at 8 weeks

30-50 grams



Rat and Mouse Inspection

 

Mice

Fortunately, (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) the house mouse likes to live in and around homes near humans, hence their name. It’s not because they think we’re cute, they just know that wherever humans are, food is around. Mouses usually make their nests using whatever soft scraps they can rummage like cardboard or paper. If you see any damage to paper-based products or cardboard, that is the first sign you have mice. Typical places where you can find nests may be in walls, storage boxes, voids in the ceiling, or within furniture upholstery.

Rats


Rats usually live outside and around the structure of a house or building so it is recommended that inspections start outdoors and you work your way indoors unless you already know or have seen that a rat has entered your home.

 

Looking for Signs

When inspecting your home as part of your DIY rodent control program, it’s necessary to look for signs that rats and mice have taken residence. Whether indoors or outdoors the signs are usually the same with a few exceptions for both types of rodent. These include:

 

  • Gnaw Marks- Both rats and mice are avid gnawers and can sometimes even be heard gnawing at night. For mice, look for gnawing damage done to paper materials, cardboard boxes or fabric which was likely shredded to use for nesting. With rats look for marks made to piping and wood which they bite through to find new areas to search for food.

  • Droppings/Urine- Rat droppings are larger than mice droppings and are usually brown and cylindrical. Mice droppings are smaller and rod-shaped. These are the most obvious sign that a mouse or rat is present. Rats urinate frequently and the urine as a pungent odor that is a quick detector as well.

  • Squeaking sounds- These critters will not shut up, especially at night! You can audibly hear both mice and rats squeaking about late at night along with their gnawing activity. Listening closely and following where the sound is coming from can help you pinpoint where they are nesting.

  • Food tampering- Both rats and mice are natural scavengers and will eat almost any food they can get ahold of. Both will also go so far as to gnaw through food packaging to get to the goodies inside. Checking food packaging and containers inside your pantry for evidence that the rodents had tampered is another indicator of their presence.

  • Runways/Burrows-Rats are more inclined to do this because of their tendency to be more outdoorsy. Rats dig burrows along the structure and walls of buildings as well as around plants and garden areas. Rats can also create noticeable runways along grass from its repeated travels. Observe areas of grass or soil that looks pushed down like it has been repeatedly trodden upon.

 

Rat and Mouse Control

In DIY rodent control, there are many different ways you can tackle a rat or mice problem, whether you decide that it is better to use glue boards, snap traps, repellents, and or rodent bait/rodenticides we have the largest selection available and the knowledge to help you because successful.

For both of these rodents, an effective program consists of sanitation followed by removal through baits, traps and rodenticide.

Step 1: Sanitation

To get rid of rats and mice, sanitation is a must. It should be noted that when both rats and mice are present within your home or yard, it is because they found access to food and water and/or nesting materials. By removing these sources you can help keep rats and mice away. Here are a list of measures you can carry out to sanitize your home:

  • Store bulk food items like cereals and grains in hard plastic or metal containers with a secure lid over plastic bags and cardboard boxes that can be easily gnawed through if they’re hungry enough.

  • Keep pet food stored containers when not being consumed.

  • Remove any paper or cardboard clutter you have laying around the house which could be used by rats as nesting material.

  • Trim your shrubs and bushes so they are not touching your home.

  • Store firewood away from your home

  • Scan your yard for fruit and nuts that may have fallen from trees and pick them up.

Step 2: Removal

Once proper sanitation measures have been implemented, you can move forward with the DIY rodent control procedure. There are multiple methods to choose from when you are are looking to catch mice or rats and there are different options whether indoor and outdoor. Here is what we recommend:

Method 1- Snap Traps

Solutions Pest & Lawn offers the following:

Big Snap-E Rat Trap

When it comes to indoor DIY rodent control, trapping is the way to go. Using rat poisons often times can cause the rat to die and the only time you’ll find out that the poison worked is the foul odor of the decomposing carcass of the rat or mouse. Things may be worse if the rat dies and is rotting in a hard to reach area. Trapping allows you to both know that the trap worked by the snap indicator and it will allow you to easily dispose of the caught mouse or rat, avoiding possible secondary infestations like ants or roaches feasting on the unable to detect body.

A snap trap is a wooden, metal, or plastic trap with a powerful snap hinge intended to kill rodents quickly, snapping upon the rodent as soon as he touches the trap, triggering the snap. Traps are typically used with bait to lure the rodent to the trap. The right bait along with all food sources being eliminated through a thorough sanitation process is sure to lure the rodent to the trap.

Snap trap placement should be placed adjacent to the wall in areas where you have previously spotted the rodent. To increase the chances of mice or rats passing over the trap as they scurry around.

 

 

 

 

Method 2: Baiting:

Solutions Pest & Lawn offers the following:

DIY rodent control products

 

While it is possible to use bait indoors, we wouldn’t recommend it. Baits contain a lethal dose of poison and it’s highly possible that the animal may be in an inaccessible area once the effects of the bait incapacitate the rodent. You may have trouble finding the dead rodent and not see them, but you’re sure going to smell their rotting body decomposing throughout your living quarters and may bring about ants or roaches to create a new problem as they feast on the decaying body. If you choose to use bait indoors anyway, keep out of reach of children and proceed with caution.

Ideal baits for DIY rodent control are those that give off an aroma of food like tuna or peanut butter (eRatication). Solutions Pest & Lawn carries two primary types of rodenticide baits - non-anticoagulants (acute) and anticoagulants.

1) Non-anticoagulants. Bromethalin and zinc phosphide based products are examples of acute baits which have no antidote. Palatability is generally low with products containing these active ingredients. Non-anticoagulants are considered single-feed baits because rodents typically stop feeding after one meal. If a lethal dose is ingested, rodents usually die within 24 hours. If a sub-lethal dose is eaten, rodents tend to develop bait shyness.

2) Anticoagulants. The preferred rodenticide type among rodent control professionals, anticoagulants inhibit the blood-clotting mechanism, causing rodents to die from internal bleeding. Some of these rodenticides are single-feed and effective within several days. The delayed effects of anticoagulants help reduce bait shyness. The antidote to human or non-target animal poisoning is Vitamin K1.

We like to recommend using a variety of different products to control and eliminate your rodent problem as the more options you use, the more successful you will be in the long run. Most professional pest control experts would tackle a mouse or rat problem in a home, office, or commercial facility with a mix of glue boards, snap traps and bait stations with a rodenticide. The trick is to put out more than just one of each in order for these home invaders to be eliminated swiftly and efficiently.

BAITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

When the situation permits, rodenticides usually provide the most cost-effective approach to DIY rodent control. Select a rodenticide with an active ingredient and formulation that works well for the particular environment. Correct bait placement is key to an effective integrated pest management program. Proper placement ensures rapid rodent control and protects children, pets and non-target animals from bait contact.

Neophobia - the fear of new objects - makes roof rats and Norway rats extremely nervous about changes in their territory. It takes several days for rats to accept a new object in their environment, including bait stations.

Place rodenticides in containers inaccessible to children and non-target animals, preferably in properly installed, tamper-resistant bait stations. Bait stations not only provide added security for children and non-target animals, but also protect bait from the elements and provide a comfortable place for rodents to feed and groom.

Use the proper rodenticide bait for the target rodent and the best formulation for the environment. Top Gun and Eaton PB Bait Blocks are paraffinized to withstand the moist environment in outside and inside burrows.

Using information obtained during the inspection process, place baits in rodent runways.

Use a sufficient amount of product to assure an uninterrupted supply of bait between service visits.

1) In areas of identified mice activity, rodenticide bait placements should be no further than 8 to 12 feet apart due to their limited home range.

2) In areas of identified rat activity, rodenticides should be placed every 15 to 30 feet

Keep a detailed record of bait station placements, rodenticide used, amounts used, and when you last checked them for your records and to measure the extent of the infestation.

 

Rats and Mice Prevention

 

Homeowners who experience rat or mouse infestation and take steps to exterminate the rodents often find themselves before long encountering another infestation. This usually happens because there is no consistent prevention plan being implemented in their DIY rodent control program to keep mice and rats from coming back. Preventing rats and mice from targeting your home again requires consistency in carrying out prevention measures such as regular sanitation and exclusion inside and outside the home.

 

Step 1: Exclusion

It is much easier to control rodents outside a structure rather than within, so the most successful and permanent form of DIY rodent control is to “build them out” and keep them out.

  • Using the proper exclusion products such as copper mesh to plug up entry ways and deter the rats and mice from taking up residence in your home or structure.

  • Inspect your roof to ensure that all roof vents and screens are secure and intact. If they are not, repair or replace them. Also seal the chimney off to prevent any entry.

  • Inspect all utility piping and wiring and use caulking, sheet metal or plug and seal any possible entry points. Look at all utility entry points. Areas where utilities enter the home can also make easy access points for rodents. Make sure any gap or hole

  • Deter climbing by painting pipes with high gloss paint.

 

Step 2: Sanitation

Eliminate their food and water source, both mice and rats need to drink daily to survive. Make sure your trash can lids are tight and that pet food is not accessible to rats and mice.

  • If you have pets, do not let pet food lay around for long periods of time. Feed pets in the morning hours and dispose of any uneaten food immediately.

  • Address and fix leaking pipes or drains. Remove bird feeders if possible to eliminate the bird seed as a possible food source. Pick up any fallen fruits or nuts from fruiting trees

  • Frequently take out the trash and remove garbage regularly. Keep a tight lid on your trash bins.

  • Keep weeds and overgrown vegetation under control to make it difficult for rodents to roam around unnoticed and offer them as little coverage as possible. Trim hedges and tree branches, especially ones that hang over or touch your home to prevent rodents from gaining access to your home.

 

DIY Rodent Control Pro Tips

  • Put the bait stations out and leave them alone, it can take a couple of days for the rodents to get used to the black box in their path.
  • Snap Trap placement is important and should be placed in areas that give them some protective coverage.
  • Rodent baits take time to work, range is 4 to 10 days after ingestion.

This concludes our guide to DIY rodent control. If you follow this guide carefully you will not have to worry about rats or mice terrorizing your home any longer. Click here to begin shopping for DIY rodent control products!

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