Rats and mice will quickly take advantage of any source of food or shelter. These rodents will consume any food discarded by humans, and they can fit through the tiniest of openings to access your home. Learn how to eliminate these pests from your home, and prevent them from returning.
Habitats of Rats and Mice
The most common rodent pathways are sill ledges, fence rails, foundations, electrical wires, pipes, tree branches and conduits. Inspect your home, outbuildings and landscape for these rodent signs: droppings, gnaw marks and burrows.
Rats can fit through a 1/2-inch opening or the diameter of a thumb. Mice can fit through a 1/4-inch opening, or the diameter of a little finger.
Get Rid of Mice and Rats
The Three Lines of Defense
Most baiting programs start once an infestation is discovered. By baiting along the three lines of defense, you're working on preventing an infestation from occurring.
Perimeter of the Property
- Use tamper-resistant bait stations along the perimeter of property.
- Use block bait as it can be secured inside bait stations on vertical or horizontal securing rods.
- Choose the correct product to reduce the risk of secondary poisoning to non-target animals.
Rodents tend to gravitate to warm air currents or where food odors emerge. Tamper-resistant bait stations or traps should be placed every 30 to 50 feet, depending on the severity of the infestation. Place bait or traps around every entry door.
Rodent device placement depends on the type of infestation. For mice, space placements at 8- to 12-foot intervals depending on the severity of the infestation. For rats, space placements at 15- to 30-foot intervals, depending on the severity of the infestation.
There are six key principles to successful baiting:
Whatever rodent treatment product you choose, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Do this to ensure your own safety and to maximize the efficiency of the product.Step 1
Choose the right bait for the job. Your choice of rodenticide depends upon the environmental conditions and the severity of the infestation.
Place the bait where rodents travel. Your inspection will identify the problem areas and the species involved. Place bait where rats and mice will find it.
Place enough bait to get rid of rodents. Keep a fresh supply of bait, and remove any spoiled or rancid bait.
Read the rodenticide label before placing bait. The label instructions give useful information on bait placement.
Use bait stations wherever safety is a concern. Tamper-resistant stations keep bait away from children, pets and non-target species.
Eliminate the rodent’s food, water and habitat wherever possible. Reduce the population first before applying rodent-proof measures. Disrupting the rodent’s environment may send them scurrying.
Keep Mice out of Your House
Identify areas in need of rodent proofing, but don't proceed until you've eliminated the rodents.
Build Rodents Out
- Close all holes in exterior and interior walls.
- Permit no openings over 1/4 of an inch, particularly around doors and windows Install self-closing devices on frequently used doors.
- Install vinyl or runner sweep seals under garage doors to eliminate any gaps.
- Tighten seals around pipes, drains and vents.
- Cap chimneys and make sure they're in good condition.
Recommended Rodent-Proofing Materials
- Steel Wool Hardware Cloth (19 gauge or better)
- Perforated Metal (24-gauge thickness)
- Sheet Metal (26-gauge thickness or heavier)
- Cement Mortar (1:3 mixture or richer)
Eliminate Pest-Friendly Conditions
It's important to identify conditions that enable the rodent problem to exist, and then implement corrective measures.
- Eliminate the rodent’s food and water source.
- Identify habitat areas and eliminate them indoors and outdoors.
- Keep grass and vegetation cut short. Tall grass protects rodents from predators.
- Cut back overhanging trees. Overhanging trees provide dark, shadowy areas where rodents feel safe and protected.
- Remove piles of debris from the exterior of the structure. Garbage and clutter around the perimeter are habitat areas for rodents.
- Establish a 2-foot-wide barrier of cement or crushed rock around the structure.
- Improve sanitation practices in and around the house.