Every household is bound to face some type of rodent-related problems at some point. This is why you as a household owner need to be prepared to recognize and deal with these annoying, disease-bearing creatures at any time. Since these creatures breed very quickly, the longer they stay on your property, the harder it will be to get rid of them. Therefore, a proper rodent control plan is one of the crucial “crisis preparation” steps that every home owner needs to have in mind.
Before you start making or executing your rodent control plan, you have to be aware that it’s not an easy task. Although there are some highly effective methods you can use, you’ll need to take the rodent issue very seriously. Many people decide to save time and call rodent control professionals. However, if you are willing to put some thought into keeping your home rodent-free and have excess free time, you can try solving it on your own first. Remember, if at any point you decide its not worth the bother, you can always call the professionals.
Effective rodent control methods
The effectiveness of rodent control methods is largely determined by the type of rodents giving you trouble. It is also determined by the current situation of your household and the different logistics specific to your place. Since we can’t give specific tips without visiting your home, here are some general and universally effective tips for each stage of the rodent control process.
Just like all other pests, rodents enter your home in search of food and shelter. Since they tend to settle near their food source, your first task is to make sure you stop being a food provider. Otherwise, you will constantly share your home with uninvited roommates that will make a real mess.
Think about all the places in the house where rodents might easily find a meal. You should always store food in plastic or glass containers with tight, fitting lids. This also applies to your pet’s food. Never leave food in paper or plastic bags because rodents can tear them with a single bite.
Clean up after every meal. Even the smallest spills can make a good meal for your intruders. Keep your cupboards and floors clean, free of food scraps and spills. Don’t feed your pet on the kitchen floor. Always wash and dry the dishes right after use. Wrap up food scraps before putting them in the garbage bin. Don’t forget to clean behind and around the refrigerator, the stove, and other household appliances.
Rodents need water, too. Rats, in particular, cannot survive without a regular water supply. So, aside from food restrictions, your rat control plan has to include ways to cut off the water as well. Fix all dripping taps in your home. Keep your surroundings clean and dry.
When dealing with rodents, you’ll also need to make sure there are no fitting places for rodent nesting. Keep all the corners in your home clean. Do not stuff them with clothes or boxes. Organize your basement and make sure you can easily spot any suspicious changes.
It’s very important to maintain good hygiene outside your house. Abandoned items, such as wood piles or old tires, can serve as the perfect shelter for rodents. Make sure that all pipes and drains are properly covered and that they are not leaking. Always use a tight lid to cover the compost bin. Keep the lawn grass cut short, and clean the area around bushes and shrubs.
Although sanitation is the most important aspect of rodent control, sometimes even the cleanest of houses experience trouble with rodents. This can happen due to a large rodent infestation close to your home. As soon as they breed to the point where there’s not enough food for everyone, rodents will try to enter your home. That’s why you can’t have proper rodent control without rodent-proofing your house.
Check your home exterior thoroughly, including the roof, windows and door frames. Seal every crack or opening that can serve as an entry point for rodents. Have in mind that they can go through even the tiniest hole. Mice can get through holes which are less than ½ inch wide. Cover the holes with aluminum netting, or stuff them with steel wool, heavy wire mesh, or copper gauze. If you have ground level windows, provide tight-fitting window screens.
As soon as you “seal” your house, you need to make sure rodents will stay out of your yard, too. Putting rodent repellents outside has proven to be highly effective. The smell of peppermint is one of the greatest rodent repellents. You can grow peppermint outside your house, or put peppermint oil on cotton balls and put them around the house.
You can also plant daffodils, wood hyacinth, and camphor in your garden if you want to naturally repel rodents. Spices such as cinnamon and cayenne pepper can also be used for natural rodent control.
If sanitation and rodent-proofing fail you, or you are already facing a big rodent infestation as you read this, you’ll have to find a way to get rid of these pests. You can do this in several ways.
You can successfully deal with rodents by keeping natural rodent predators such as cats or barn owls. Just have in mind that some cats are not natural rodent hunters. On the other hand, a family of barn owls can eat more than three thousand rodents during their nesting season. You can attract barn owls by placing a shelter box outside your house.
Ultrasonic rodent repellents
Another effective method for rodent control is placing a device that emits ultrasonic sound waves. Rodents can’t stand these sound waves, so they run away from them. You can open the doors and windows as soon as you place these devices. This way, rodents will easily find their way out of your house.
If you decide to use this rodent control method, you should know two things. First, the sound waves that these devices emit cannot go through walls, so you’ll have to place a device in each room. Second, rodents eventually get used to the sound waves. If you don’t manage to get rid of them quickly with these ultrasonic devices, you’ll probably have to try another method.
Besides keeping predators and ultrasonic devices in your home, rodent traps are one more non-toxic method for rodent control. Traps are highly effective against rodents if you use them properly. If you go with this rodent control method, you’ll need to place a large number of traps in areas where you detect high rodent activity.
You can choose from a wide range of rodent traps for rodent and especially rat control – electronic traps, glue traps, snap traps, and live traps. Food such as cheese, peanut butter, bacon, and ground meat can be used as bait.
Rodent poison baits
Poison baits, also known as rodenticides, are made of chemicals which are lethal for rodents. This is the least humane option for rodent control. Although rodenticides are effective, they can be harmful to your family, pets and the environment. Therefore, if you choose this method, it’s crucial that you consult rodent control professionals first.