Now is the time to think about keeping your home free from rats and mice this winter. Rodents have been outside feeding and breeding in the warm weather. The autumn produces lots of food for them in the countryside but then when the seeds and berries dwindle and the weather turns cooler, rats and mice start to seek shelter and alternative food sources. Our homes, workplaces and other buildings provide ideal places for rodents to move in.
When the rats or mice move into our homes they can cause considerable damage and risk to our health as well as consternation and embarrassment. Rats and mice have sharp gnawing teeth that are continually growing. They have a habit of gnawing at things other than food such as pipes and wiring in order to keep their teeth worn down and sharp. This has some unfortunate consequences for our homes and wallets; floods, fires, shorting and expensive repair bills.
The habits of rats and mice are such that they frequently move from sewers, drains and rubbish to our food and food preparation surfaces. There is a risk of them carrying disease causing organisms with them. They are also frequently defecating and dribbling urine where ever they go.
It makes sense to keep them out of your home or workplace and now is the best time to prepare.
- Proof your buildings – rats and mice have remarkably flexible bodies and can fit through gaps as small as the size of their skulls. A mouse can squeeze under a door if you can fit a pencil in the gap. Spend a little time checking around your building for gaps and holes around pipe-work. Seal any gaps with filler, or sealant and attach draft excluders to the bottom of doors. Although rodents can gnaw through many materials they will only do so if it is a route they have taken before. So stop them finding their way in in the first place. Roof rats, as their name suggests, are good climbers and often enter via eaves. Check for easy ways onto the roof including trees overhanging your roof. Rats often climb trees and drop down onto the roof and then enter the attic under the edge of the roof iron.
- Bait - Proofing will reduce the risk of rats and mice entering but can never be perfect. It is therefore vital to have baits and or traps in position waiting for any rats or mice that might get in. Rodent bait is the most effective and efficient way to deal with rat or mouse infestation. NO Rats Weatherproof Blocks are ideal for use in areas such as roof voids and safe places around the house where pets and children could not gain access. If there is a concern over using toxic bait there is safe alternative bait called Natural NO Rats made by Kiwicare. This organic certified bait is non-toxic to children and animals other than rodents. The bait is made from a cellulose that only rodents cannot digest so that when they eat it, it blocks their digestion and dehydrates them until they ultimately have heart failure.
- Traps are also a useful tool to catch any rodents that enter. Although rats and mice often learn to avoid traps (trap shy) they are safe and used in conjunction with baits will help catch bait affected rodents so they can be removed. Tried and trusted traditional traps are very effective and can be used baited with peanut butter or chocolate. Place the traps against walls where rodents travel.
- Tip - Rats and mice stay close to walls and like to feel enclosed. They rarely move out into the open. Think about this when positioning bait or traps.
Carry out these simple procedures now and you will stay free of the damage and distress caused by rats and mice this winter. I would also recommend that you continue this process throughout the year. Rodents are more likely to seek food and shelter in buildings in autumn/winter but they will still be happy to move in with you at any time.