It is rodent season and we get many questions about what is the best way to prevent rodents and what to do if you do have them. Here is a quick overview of basic principles you will need to know to keep your home or business rodent-free.
Prevention and Exclusion
It is much easier to prevent rodents than to deal with them after they get inside. The first step to prevention is “Exclusion”. Exclusion means sealing up all entry points so rodents can’t get inside. In theory, there could be a million rodents running around all they want to outside, but if they don’t have a way inside, then you would be OK. Without exclusion you don’t have a chance. As you trap or kill the rodents, more will follow their scent trails and come inside to take their place. Exclusion is the long term answer.
Seal up openings ½” or greater to keep rats out and seal up openings ¼” or greater to prevent mice too. This is where many people underestimate rodents. If they can get their skull through an opening, they can dislocate their joints and squeeze the rest of their body through also. Be sure to use something that the rodents can’t chew through and that doesn’t rust or leave stains behind. Xcluder is the best product out their right now. It is a stainless steel fabric that rodents will not chew through. Xcluder is easy to work with, doesn’t rust, and is reasonably priced.
The next step in prevention is to add exterior rodent stations, such as the Protecta SideKicks, around your home or business. Typically, four stations are enough for most homes. I like these stations because you can use either T-Rex snap traps or rodent baits like Fastrac Blox inside the stations. Using exterior rodent stations will help reduce the population of rodents around your home before they find a way inside. I am a big fan of Fastrac Blox. Other baits take a week to work and the rodents have to eat some of the bait every day for 5 to 7 days or they recover. Fastrac Blox works after a single feeding and the rodents die in 1-3 days. Plus, Fastrac Blox has the lowest toxicity of all the rodent baits for people, pets, and non-target wildlife.
What should you do if you also have rodents already getting inside? Below is a summary of the most common treatment methods used by professionals.
Trapping is great for indoors because you catch the rodent in the trap and then can remove it quickly. You don’t have to deal with lingering odors like you do if you put out rodent bait indoors and a rodent dies in the wall.
Be sure to get the correct size. Rats will not be affected by the smaller mouse traps and rat traps often miss mice because they are too big. For rats use snap-traps such as the T-Rex or Victor Rat Trap. For mice, use the Mini-Rex or the Victor Mouse Trap.
Also, be sure to place enough traps. You need at least 12 traps in an average sized home for rats and at least 24 for mice. You can always reuse them next year, so the more traps the better.
For mice, live traps such as the Ketch-All or the 612MC Multi-Catch traps work well. These work better for mice because mice are naturally curious (unlike rats). Mice will investigate the trap and get stuck inside. Other mice will come to investigate the sounds and get trapped also. You can easily catch 6 to 12 mice at a time! You can then take the trap outside to release the mice.
However, these traps are too small for rats. Traps such as the Have-A-Heart traps do work okay for rats, but not great so we don’t recommend live trapping rats.
Glueboards another option that works well on mice and juvenile rats, but not well on adult rats. Adult rats are stronger and can pull themselves off the glue. Glueboards are easy to use and you don’t have to worry about snapping your fingers, pets, or children as much as you do with snap-traps. The main negative with using glueboards is that you catch a live rodent and then have to humanely kill it. It is cruel to just throw it away in the trash.
Options for glueboards include 72MB (cheap option for mice and insects), 72TC (similar to the 72MB, but shaped to fit in TinCats and the 612MC traps), and the Trapper Rat Boards (strongest available for rats and mice).
To make product selection easier, we have the following kits available on our website.
Rat Trapping Kits – everything you need for trapping rats indoors.
Mouse Trapping Kits – everything you need for trapping mice indoors.
Exterior Rodent Baiting / Trapping Kit – great for prevention!
About the Author:
Joe Jonovich is the Entomologist for ePestHero.com . He has over 20 years of pest management experience. He has a Master’s Degree in Entomology from the University of Florida. He has owned his own pest management company, worked for manufacturers, and been the technical director for a Top-20 pest management company. He currently works to educate and help consumers and pest management companies across the country.