Getting rid of mice and rats can be daunting, depending on how widespread the infestation is in your home. When it gets cold outside, they want to get inside your home where it’s warm, and they have a chance of finding easy meals. Once a mouse or rat gets into your home, you can be sure that others will likely follow. If you see one, you must get rid of it quickly to avoid having a major infestation.
How Did They Get Inside?
You can call up a professional company and ask how much does it cost to exterminate mice and rats, or you can try to get rid of them yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, the first thing you need to figure out is how they got inside in the first place. Mice and rats are smart, but they’re also creatures of habit. By finding where they nest, you’ll have more success in putting traps out to catch them.
While you’re looking for their nests, you’ll also want to seal any other cracks or openings you might find. Cracks in your foundation or where pipes or vents meet the outside are excellent entry points for mice. The best sealants are steel wool and caulking because it is not easy for rats and mice to gnaw through them compared to plastic or wood.
Snap Traps and Bait
The classic mousetrap is an effective way to get rid of mice and rats. As a rule of thumb, double what you think you need. Mice and rats multiply quickly. While you think it’s only one or two rodents, it might be a whole lot more. When in doubt, contact a professional exterminator.
Don’t stick to a single type of trap, either. Remember, rodents are intelligent little pests, and they learn what is and isn’t safe. If a trap is obviously a snap trap, they will learn to avoid it. If you mix up the traps and use bait traps, glue traps, and capture traps together, you’ll have a better chance of getting rid of the population in your home.
As you prep your traps, use a bait that the rodents prefer. If they’ve been eating something in particular in your home, it’s a safe bet that you can use that as bait. When you’re not sure what to put down as bait, chocolate, bacon, peanut butter, and dried fruit are all good options. Tie the bait to the trap so they can’t run off with it. Other options for bait include nesting materials like cotton or other soft fabrics.
Placing the Traps
You can’t just lay traps down and hope you’ll catch the rodents. There is a strategy to getting rid of them when you place a trap. Rat and mice behaviors need to be considered. Mice like to run along walls, and so do rats. You want to put the trap in the right direction, so they will run towards the trap instead of scurrying over or around it. Change trap location every few days to keep them from expecting the traps.
Bait works well as its own trap or deterrent. With bait traps, the rodents go inside a sort of plastic housing to retrieve the bait. In some cases, they can’t get back out, and in others, the bait is poisoned, so they’ll die within a day or two. Bait traps are potent, so it’s best to use disposable gloves when handling them or leave them to a trained professional.
There are two main reasons for wearing gloves such as these. One is to supposedly get rid of human scent that rats can identify and “alert” them to avoid the traps. The other reason is to protect yourself from diseases that these rodents can carry and spread. As an added measure, clean and disinfect reusable mouse traps.
Cats and Natural Predators
Cats are predators by nature, and there’s a reason the cat and mouse dichotomy exists. Most cats enjoy hunting mice and rats, while rodents are afraid of their feline foes. If you’ve ever heard of a barn cat, that’s a cat that exists to control the rodent population naturally. Having pets can be an excellent way to keep rodents at bay once they realize that something that will hunt them down lives in your house.
If you like rat snakes, they can also be great deterrents to mice and rats. Many rat snakes live near homes, but they get mistaken for rattlesnakes. They couldn’t be more different as rat snakes are non-venomous. If you see a rat snake, leave it alone. It’s probably already controlling the rodent population, and you don’t even know it.
Get Rid of Rodents Once and For All
Before you can get rid of mice and rats, you need to know where they got in, along with where they’re nesting. Once you know you can get the traps, you’ll need to begin to get the population under control. For an extra layer of prevention, consider getting a cat to keep your home mouse and rat-free. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about anything when it comes to ridding rodents from your home, always contact a professional for help.