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How to Keep Rats and Mice Out

Posted By David Brittain On January 22, 2010 @ 8:51 am In Pest Control | 10 Comments

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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 [1]

Kiwicare [1] 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.

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