Through the summer months the natural population of rats and mice rises as they have increasing quantities of food such as fruits, nuts and grains are available to them. Once autumn arrives the food sources dwindle and temperatures drop. Rats and mice then begin to look for shelter and alternative food supplies. All too often they find both by joining us in our homes, offices, shops and factories. Also all too often we don’t do anything about this inevitable invasion until they have moved in, set up home and begin to raid the kitchen.

Rats and mice are well known to gnaw on cables causing short circuits, pipes causing floods, eating our food causing health risks, and causing consternation to those with a natural fear of rodents. Now is the time to prepare for and prevent rats and mice moving indoors to live with you.

Here are a few simple steps to staying free of rats and mice.

Stop Entry

Stop rats and mice finding a way into your home or other building. Take half an hour to walk around the house looking for ways in. Take a pencil with you to write down what needs to be done and use it to measure gaps. If a pencil can slip under a door a mouse can get under it. Mice and rats can flatten their rib cages to fit through gaps, if their head can fit through, their body can follow. Gaps under doors can be sealed with draft excluder.

Rats and mice are usually active at night and are not likely to gain entry through open doors and windows during the day. The exception might be when they are under real pressure to find food and shelter. Then they may take the risk of venturing out during the day. So keep doors and windows closed at all times if possible.

Remove all food sources. Check for food that might have been spilled behind the fridge or under other furniture. Make sure the cereals, flour, rice and other food stuffs in your larder are put in sealed containers.

Other Entries

Look in places both high and low. Rats and mice are excellent climbers. Roof rats are better climbers than the larger Norway rats and feed readily in trees. They will walk along branches that overhang roofs and drop down onto the roof. From here they rarely have difficulty getting into the roof void via gaps around the eaves. Cut overhanging trees away from the roof and also trim climbing plants such as rambling roses, vines, ivy, honeysuckle etc. to at least 30cm below the overhanging eaves.

Air vents are necessary for the good ventilation of sub floors and should not be sealed. Undamaged vents are usually designed to be mouse proof. Repair damaged vents or cover with fine mesh. Also look for gaps where pipe work and cables enter buildings and gaps where weatherboards do not fit flush. These can usually be filled with silicone sealers, waterproof fillers or foam filler.

Baits and Traps

Nowhere can be made 100% proofed against rodents and you may already be too late to stop rodents entering. So place baits and traps in position NOW. This will also mean that the baits and traps are ready for any rodents that gain entry by some route not found during your search. Deal with them before they become a problem.

Almost all rodent baits contain anti-coaglulant (AC) toxin related to the original warfarin. However, there are two groups of anti-coagulant. Second generation ACs work more quickly but the toxin lasts longer in the dead or dying rodents which means there is an increased risk to animals that might scavenge on them. Kiwicare baits contain a first generation AC which is as effective but safer because it poses a lower risk of secondary poisoning of pets and there is a reduced persistence of the toxin in the environment.

If toxic baits are not an option the Kiwicare range includes natural organic certified rodent bait that is effective, but does not contain any toxin. It is therefore safe around pets. The bait is lethal to rodents because they are alone in not having the correct enzymes to digest the cellulose that the bait is made from. Note: this bait is only effective in dry conditions and where other food sources can be removed.

Traps are rarely sufficient on their own to get rid of rats or mice, but they will be effective at catching ‘dopey’ rats and mice that have had a feed of bait. The best lures for traps are peanut butter or chocolate but these have a limited life. Placed correctly traps are almost as effective without bait. Place traditional snap traps at right angles to, and against walls where rats and mice would travel. Rats and mice are generally reluctant to move into open space and prefer to stay close to some vertical surface or stay in enclosed places.

Electronic, electromagnetic and sonic devices can be useful at encouraging rats and mice to choose next door to live, but should not be seen as a way of getting rid of rodents that have already set up home. Rats and mice are wary of new things in their environment and will be quietened by such devices. But they become used to new things after about two weeks. It is better to stop them entering in the first place. It would take a lot to make you move out of your home!

Follow these simple steps and you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you are not sharing your home with rats and mice.

Article Brought To You By Kiwicare  kiwicare

Kiwicare is New Zealand’s own manufacturer and distributor of pest control, garden care and home maintenance products. The Kiwicare website contains advice on the eradication and prevention of all sorts of pests that bother us in New Zealand. Learn how to get rid of rats and mice, flies, spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other creepy crawlies. Protect your plants from aphids, grass grub, caterpillars, weeds and more. Keep biting insects at bay with the Safari range of insect repellents. See the BioGro certified organic range of products to help you stay pest free without chemicals.

How to Keep Rats and Mice Out , 5.0 out of 5 based on 83 ratings



  1. Vicki Corless says:


    How do I know how many mice are running around inside? How do I tell the difference between mice and rats’ droppings? We have put out humane traps but four times now have found the food gone and no mouse inside. The last time, the mouse/rat (I’m hoping it’s a mouse!!) made it look like it had actually picked the poison from the peanut butter and eaten the peanut butter only. Is that possible? I’ve got the Kiwicare bait already but the food just keeps disappearing from the trap. Can they survive the poison? Thanks.

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  2. The Kiwicare website has a great new look and many new features including interactive problem solvers for home pests and garden pests, diseases and health.
    You may find some of the links in this article try and take you to the page that no longer exists. The error page however will tell you go to the home page and you will easily find the new page on the subject you seek.

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  3. anna says:

    I have a question.

    My husband and I live in an old house. We’ve been here for over 2 years & our kitchen is conected to the garage. All of a sudden we are getting mice, but only in the kitchen. I looked all around the kitchen to see where they might be possibly coming in & I blocked tho holes up & out poison in the garage. We were mice free for about 2 months. Then all of a sudden we have a mouse. It seems that it may only be one at a time. And I have put traps in the kitchen and garage before and they are very small mice. Also, it seems as if they only stay in the kitchen. They aren’t getting into our food, but are cllimbing on the counters, sink & stove. And they freak my husband out terribly. I keep a clean home. So, do you know why we are getting mice all of a sudden?

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  4. Hello Anna,

    It is almost impossible to proof a home against mice completely. Mice can squeeze through gaps as narrow as a pencil. But the fewer possible entry points the less likely mice are to gain entry. So take a half hour and look around your home thoroughly; take a pencil with you and see if you can find places they could get in, note them and seal them or narrow them.

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  5. jonathon harper says:

    Do you have any data on which rat traps are most effective? I understand some principles of placement (next to a wall, enclosed spaces good, two exit points, etc), type of bait (chocolate and peanut butter are the two most often mentioned), and how rats have neophobia, so it may take a week for them to get used to the trap.
    So, my question. The Ka Mate trap was researched in Nelson and performed well. Then the nooski trap looks promising…or are the plain old snap traps just as good? I have used three different ones (snap, plastic jaw ones and the grey plastic similar one) and not noticed any significant differences in catch rates.
    Many Thanks,
    Jonathon Harper

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  6. lisa says:

    Hi. We have lived in our home for about 14 years and just recently found a mouse. We put glue boards out and caught one. The one I actually saw first was a bigger one. Well I soaked peppermint oil on cotton balls and a day later there was one outside that a cat caught. It was as big as the one I saw. Could that have been the one in our kitchen . Also we have put traps out and glue boards for weeks and nothing. What does that mean.I am literally going out of my mind. I’m scared and terrified everyday.

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  7. Kashif Chaudhry says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I am working in a food store. we are facing the problems of rats and mouses from last few months. We found some in store and we successfully trapped them. we also go around the store to check the possibility of rats and mice access but not found any special place. infect these rats and mouses are nibbling our store electrical supply cables that could be cause of short circuit or any big accidents. so please suggest us that how we can stop the entry of rats in our store?

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  8. Kennedy says:

    Hi, Kennedy here (12 years of age)

    About 3 hours ago i saw a mice in my room. I was terrified and still am. Is there any thing the mice may have been looking for in a CLEAN room? Im going to bed soon and am terrified 1 will crawl into my bed?! Im terrified! Any tips to keep mice out??!

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  9. sadia mehmood says:

    hi there…on thursday the 3rd of april i had the joy of walking out of my bedroom first thing…to my horror i found a rat jollying along not having noticed that i have seen was going towards the bathroom but doors shut….eventually called my husband and we managed to get it out of the house….i am wondering why it was walking around in the morning? i had my suspicions and found droppings for a while first….is this a sign there are more?

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  10. Rodents are generally most active in the hours just after dusk and just before dawn. To see rodents during the hours of daylight often indicates that there is a significant population. When there are many rodents competing for the food in a building some have to ‘take a chance’ during the day to hunt for food and shelter.

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