RODENTS IN AND AROUND BUILDINGS


Tree trunks and limbs, as well as other debris that are left piled on the property or fall into culverts, drainage ditches or streams quickly become an attractive nesting site for displaced rodents, particularly rats and field mice. Loosened soil around holes left by fallen trees also make ideal burrowing sites. Damage to your home's exterior provides animals with easier access to relatively sheltered areas, such as your crawlspace, basement, attic or even wall voids. People involved in cleanup and repairs may carelessly discard food and beverage items, which quickly attractive rodents searching for food.

 

  1. Watch for these signs of rodent activity:

    • Rats usually nest in underground burrows. However, in flooded areas, they will move to "high ground" and may be found nesting indoors. Mice will nest almost anywhere.
    • Mice and rats can chew through some materials, including siding, walls, cardboard boxes, etc.,, to gain access to an area.
    • Fecal droppings will often be found in indoor nesting or feeding areas.

  2. As soon as possible, clear debris that provide protective cover for rodents around houses and buildings. Debris that cannot be removed immediately, should be placed as far as possible from the building.

  3. If possible, keep lawn and field vegetation mowed, particularly near the building, to eliminate protective cover for rodents.

  4. Remove or contain potential food sources such as household trash, spoiled or discarded food, bird or grass seed in a storeroom, etc., that might attract mice and rats.

  5. Do not leave pet food outdoors overnight. This will help reduce attraction of rodents and other animals (such as skunks and raccoons).

  6. Seal gaps around water pipes, utility line entry points, vents, crawlspace accesses and doors. Sheet metal or 1/4-inch mesh galvanize hardware cloth can be used for large openings.

  7. Snap traps and glue boards can be used to capture rats and mice indoors. Successful trap baits for the trigger mechanism include whole kernel corn (or another grain), peanut butter and oatmeal. Do not place traps in areas where children and pets may be able to reach them. Check the traps daily and dispose of carcasses quickly and appropriately to avoid problems with flies. When handling traps that have caught rodents, wear gloves (preferably ones that can be rinsed in bleach).

  8. Rodent baits are effective for mouse and rat control, but must be used with great care. The disruptions that take place during clean-up activities after storms may make it difficult to get rodents to visit baited locations (if you're not baiting active burrows). When baiting outdoors the bait must be secured, e.g., inside a tamper-resistant bait stations, so that it cannot be removed and possibly dropped in an open area where children, pets or wildlife can get to it. This work is probably best done by a pest control professional after cleanup is underway.

  9. NEVER place baits or traps in areas where they are accessible to children, pets or wildlife. Always follow the instructions on rodenticide labels carefully.


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