Humane Mouse Removal Guide: Steps for a Rodent-Free Home
Have you ever had friends who wouldn’t leave your house, no matter how much you hinted that you wanted your own space? Perhaps you even subtly moved the snacks from the coffee table to the cabinets to discourage them from hanging out longer. You may have felt guilty for wanting them to leave since they were super-sweet and didn’t cause any trouble. The worst thing that they’d do is leave little crumbs on your countertops and occasionally deposit some poop in a corner of the room.
I’m talking about mouse “friends,” people! Even though mice are absolutely adorable and more afraid of you than you are of them, it’s understandable that you may not want a family of them calling your home their own. But removal methods like glue traps and poisons are exceedingly cruel and cause animals unimaginable suffering.
Eliminate access to food.
Mice are less likely to hang around if you make it harder for them to get to their favorite thing: food. Keep counters, floors, and cabinets crumb-free, and store dry food, including pet food, in chew-proof containers.
Seal your trash
when Templeton the rat has a full-on fiesta in the trash after the carnival closes for the night? No? Well, picture it, because that’s what your garbage might look like when you’re asleep if you don’t make it impossible for rodents to get into it. And I don’t mean that you should tie a pretty little bow with the trash ribbons: I’m talking sealed shut with a bungee cord, people.
Don’t leave out your companion animals’ food.
Think mice discriminate when it comes to human food versus animal-companion food? Well, they don’t. Be sure not to offer them a feast by leaving your cat or dog’s food out—pick it up once your animal companions are done grubbing.
Repel rodents with unpleasant scents.
You may be thinking, “Oh, come on. Bad smells? Mice like trash.” But here’s a secret: Mice hate the scent of peppermint. So buy peppermint essential oil (you can get it on Amazon.com or ask your yogi aunt for some), soak cotton balls in it, and put it in the infested areas. Ammonia-soaked rags work even better. (Ammonia can be purchased at any grocery store in the cleaning section.)
Rodent control: How to get rid of mice and rats in the house
Mickey Mouse is cute and all, but his real-life friends have no business being inside your home. Unfortunately, mice and rats can’t read, so putting up a “No rodents” sign won’t keep the creepy critters away. Knowing why they come inside in the first place, however, can help with rodent control.
“Rodents like what we have to offer them: food, water and shelter! If there is an opening, they will take advantage of it and then take advantage of the safe spot and food resources in our homes,”
Like many of us, mice and rats don’t love the cold, so they tend to seek shelter in the cooler months especially. They also gravitate toward a few specific rooms in your house.
“They like safe places with access to food. That could be your attic with access to the fruit tree or trash bin outside your garage with birdseed and pet food sitting out or your kitchen with dark cabinets and plenty of food options,”
How to tell you have a rodent in the house
Just because you haven’t seen a rodent in person doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you suspect that you have a mouse in the house, you could be right if you see any one (or all) of the following signs:
Mice droppings: The little pests often leave their signature calling card in rooms where food is stored, along the baseboards and under sinks.
Greasy rub marks: Rats in particular leave greasy dirt marks behind them as they travel the same pathways over and over.
Chew marks: While searching for food and water, rodents can chew through any number of materials, including wires and plastic.
HOW TO GET RID OF MICE IN YOUR HOME
Discovering a rodent in your home can be stressful. One moment you’re watching TV and the next you’re standing on the couch screaming at an unwanted, furry guest. While rodents in the house may not sound like a very big deal in some circumstances, they do pose health risks, especially for children, the elderly, and pets. Getting rid of mice does not necessarily warrant an expensive call to a pest control service — oftentimes you can deal with it on your own.
If all else fails, calling a professional pest control service is a good option. Even though Aftermath doesn’t perform pest extermination, we do recommend full-scale disinfection service following any severe rodent infestation. We know sanitation best-practices and put together this DIY pest control guide to help you out!
ELIMINATE RODENT ENTRY POINTS INTO THE HOME
One of the best ways to control rodents in the home is to make it difficult for them to gain entry in the first place. Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime, so this can be challenging. Concrete and caulk are the most reliable ways of keeping rodents out, but copper, aluminum mesh or steel wool can be used in places where more flexibility is required.
Plug or repair all cracks and gaps in foundation, walls, basements, etc.
Seal gaps and cracks around doors and window frames.
Caulk holes around pipes that lead to appliances.
Check that seals around all exterior lines (TV, cable, electrical) leading through walls are tight.
CLEAN UP FOOD AND TRASH
In addition to shelter, rodents need easy access to food. Although eliminating garbage and food waste is one of the best ways to avoid a potential infestation, it will not resolve an active one
Rats: How to Get Rid of Rats
The most common rats in the USA are Norway Rats and Roof Rats. A quick look at the habits of both will help you understand how to inspect and control the rat population.
Norway rats are larger than the smaller, and sleeker Roof Rats. Roof rats have bigger ears and a longer tail than the Norway rat. Also, the roof rat has a pointed nose, and they are excellent climbers. Roof Rats inhabit attics, upper stories, and exterior vegetation. Norway rats occupy lower portions of the building and the ground.
Roof Rats are predominate in coastal areas. Generally, Roof rats stay within 100 miles inland. Roof rats are found in more temperate climates, since they do not do well in cooler temperatures
The First Step for Rat Control is Sanitation, Inspection and Exclusion
Inspection is an important first step in getting rid of rats. Once you know the location of the rats, you can set traps or place bait.
Exclusion is an important rodent control technique. It will get rid of the rats by making it difficult for them to enter the home or structure. Rats are easier to exclude than mice because rats a typically larger. Mice can enter an opening as small as 3/8″ wide. All openings greater than 1/4″ should be sealed to exclude mice. For rats, all openings greater than 1/2″ should be sealed.
Please also read the section on Sanitation, as it is an important consideration in rodent control.
Rats (especially Roof rats) are wary of new objects, new foods, or changed in the environment. They are constantly exploring surroundings and notice changes and are suspicious by nature. Their suspicious nature is why traps and bait stations may be avoided for a day or two. They approach new food or object with caution. Within a rat colony, they may be a few rats that are extra cautious and manage to avoid traps or eating rodent baits.
Rodenticides are poison baits and should be used in areas where domestic animals and children can’t access them. For protection against accidental poisoning, use tamper-resistant bait stations that hold the baits in place and keep children and pets out.
How to Get Rid of Rats Naturally
If you have a rat issue but do not want to use poison or other lethal measures to eradicate the population, you need a natural outdoor rat repellent. Or, to be more specific, you are going to need a combination of tactics to repel or prevent a backyard rat colony.
Killing them off is, of course, the fastest and surest method for getting rid of outdoor rats, but there are several reasons you may not want to go this route. One of the main reasons folks do not want to resort to lethal methods is because they want the rats gone, but that does not necessarily mean that they want them dead.
Another reason to not use lethal methods is that they may affect other animals that are welcome in your yard. For example, squirrels or chipmunks may be killed by baited traps or may consume the rat poison and die. It is also possible that your dog, your cat or a raptor might catch a poisoned rat and become ill or die
Then, of course, there are the dead rats to deal with when you use lethal methods. At the very least, this likely means that you will have to endure horrible smells coming from under your deck until the bodies decompose. In other cases, this could mean fishing dead rats out of your swimming pool or hot tub, or it could mean collecting rat carcasses littering your yard.
While you may not want to use lethal methods to rid your yard of rats, there are reasons to take steps to ensure that a rat colony does not become established in your backyard. For example, rats carry fleas that can transfer to your dogs or cats and that sometimes carry diseases (does bubonic plague ring a bell?). Plus, the rats, themselves, carry a handful of diseases that can be transferred to humans or other animals.