When you discover that you have rodents in your home, you can do several things to fix the problem—including calling a professional pest control company. If you’ve encountered a rodent infestation, your first inclination will probably be to set mouse traps or set up a bait station. Handling a mouse infestation yourself is doable, and we’ll break down some of the steps you can take before calling in professionals. That being said, mice and rats are surprisingly clever. Since mice and rats can pose significant health risks by contaminating food and spreading disease, you need to act quickly. If you want to tackle a mouse infestation or a rat infestation yourself or you’re unsure if you should call a pest control professional, keep reading.
Telltale Signs of a Mouse or Rat Problem
Mice and rats are known for the evidence they leave behind of their presence. If you’ve noticed any of the following, chances are, you have a rodent problem on your hands.
- Rodent droppings. Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice with tapered ends. Rat droppings are more rod-shaped. Rodent poop can carry pathogens, so make sure you handle their droppings with gloves and have disinfectant at the ready.
- Chew marks. Rodents will gnaw through a variety of surfaces as they build their residence. They’ll even chew on electrical wires, fabric, and wood to collect nesting material.
- Unusual sounds or smells. Mice and rats are excellent hiders — they’re even known for living inside your walls. If you hear scratching or smell unexplained bad odors, you may have a rodent problem in the works.
Ways to Handle Mice and Rats
Since mice and rat infestations are usually fairly similar, the same home pest control techniques are often used for both. That being said, a professional pest control company will be more familiar with the distinctions between species and can tailor a treatment plan to get rid of your rodent concerns for good. If you want to try DIY methods, there are a handful of tactics you can consider — or simply let the professionals handle it.
Let the professionals handle it.
Most people’s first reaction when they discover rats or mice in their homes is to go out and buy mouse traps, whether they’re old-fashioned snap traps, glue traps, or more humane catch-and-release traps. Typically, you’ll want to set traps where you observe mouse activity or rat activity, evidenced by rodent droppings, chew marks, or unusual smells and sounds. These traps lure mice and rats when baited with their favorite foods, like peanut butter, and once placed, all you have to do is wait.
Use Poisoned Bait
Buying and using rodenticide solutions also has a chance to get rid of your mice or rat problems. You can mix it with food bait so the infesting pests will be poisoned, or you can create other forms of bait stations that will kill rodents. Over-the-counter poison bait will kill mice and rats, but it can be extremely dangerous if you have pets or children in your home. Even handling poisoned bait incorrectly can harm you, so this method is best left to professionals.
Get A Cat
Many people who run farms or who have extensive outdoor property swear by their feline friends as a method of effective rodent control. And many a cat owner can attest to being given the “gift” of a caught and mangled mouse by their purry pet. In fact, science has shown that not only do cats often kill or chase away rodents, but the scent that they leave around the home is also a great tool for discouraging rodents from taking up residence.
Prevent Mice and Rats from Entering
One of the best ways you can tackle a rodent infestation is by sealing entry points mice and rats use to invade your home. These pests are sneaky, and even if you’re prepared to roll out a plan to tackle a rodent problem when it arises, avoiding one altogether can save you time, money, and hassle. Rodents seeking shelter will squeeze through even the tiniest holes, so make sure you’ve properly sealed any gaps and cracks that can fit a mouse or rat. In addition, you can store food products (including pet food) in glass or metal containers so it’s harder for rodents to smell. Open containers and bags can attract mice in search of a meal, but if they’re sealed up properly, you can reduce the likelihood of contamination if rodents do make their way inside.
The Problems With DIY Rodent Treatments
Baiting traps and using home remedies may give you a bit of peace of mind, but these solutions won’t necessarily complete the job of eradicating pest rodents (not to mention they can be hard to clean up). Traps will only catch rodents that are actively moving around looking for food sources, and will not target the source of the rodent problem—the nest. Rodents are shy, so they’re likely to stay in their nest out of sight except in the morning and evening when they feed. Rodents are also known for being incredibly intelligent and resourceful. Traps aren’t effective in many cases simply because the rodents can avoid traps and find other safer sources of food.
Cats can be a great solution for keeping rodents at bay, but they’re still not a 100 percent effective solution, and the efficacy of the solution will often depend on the cat you have (not to mention, cats that actively hunt rodents or live outside are more likely to catch diseases).
Waiting for a DIY solution to work can also lead to more rodent issues, since rodents reproduce rapidly, carry diseases, and can do a lot of damage to your home over a short period of time. While you’re placing traps, the rodents in question could be gnawing through your insulation, wiring, or even water pipes, and leaving urine and feces around the home that can result in allergies and sickness. Furthermore, laying down traps and poisoned baits in your home is not the safest option for you, your family, or your pets.
Professional Pest Management
It’s best to leave rodent control to pest control professionals. At Dodson Pest Control, we have over 75 years of experience helping people get rid of their unwanted pests, and we can help you do the same. Contact us today for a free inspection!