Rodent Infestation Prevention
There are a few things a homeowner can do to prevent rodent infestation.
- Keep garbage in metal containers with tight fitting lids, and empty them often.
- Remove pet food dishes and leftovers promptly after feeding.
- Store pet food in metal containers.
- Place bird food in feeder, not on ground.
- Clean up fallen fruits and nuts.
- Clean up animal waste frequently.
REMOVE THEIR SHELTER!
- An old shed or auto is an invitation to rats. Repair or remove them.
- Rats can jump up to 3 feet and climb wires and pipes. Be sure to seal any openings to the house, even above ground level.
- Keep windows and doors screened. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime!
- Store lumber and firewood well off the ground.
- Repair any breaks in the sewer line which connects your home to the main sewer system.
- Spring-loaded traps are effective indoors where poisons may pose a threat to people or pets.
- Trap or glue boards are preferred outdoors. Bait with peanut butter or partially cooked bacon.
- Mice may be trapped by attaching nesting materials, peanut butter or partially cooked bacon to spring-loaded traps. Follow trap instructions.
- An effective rat poisoning requires a fresh, dry supply of bait that is readily available. To kill rats in the shortest time possible, first eliminate all other sources of food, forcing them to eat the poison.
- Use properly labeled, EPA approved poison rat bait. Contact your local hardware or garden shop.
- Wear gloves when using any poison.
- Keep all poison out of the reach of children and pets!
- Poisons (rodenticides) can be used outside. Tamper-resistant bait stations reduce the chances of poisoning other animals. Take caution when using poisons. Always read and follow directions on the label. You may also choose to enlist the services of a pest control company.
Cleaning up after a rodent infestation / protection from rodent-borne diseases
- Rubber gloves
- Dust mask
- Long sleeve shirt
- Spray bottle
Before you clean:
- Air out a room or building that has been closed for a long time before you enter it.
- Always wet down surfaces and floors with a disinfectant before cleaning. Allow disinfectant to remain there for 20 minutes before wiping it up.
Disinfectants (try either one of these):
- A 10% solution of bleach made by mixing 1-1/2 cups of household bleach with 1 gallon of water.
- Lysol diluted to label recommendations.
The "Wash Twice" rule:
- Wash your rubber gloves in disinfectant and then soap and water before you take them off.
- Wash your hands and arms with soap and warm water immediately after taking off your gloves.
- Launder your clothes with hot water as usual.
Disposal of dead rodents:
- Wear rubber gloves.
- Thoroughly spray carcass and traps with disinfectant before handing.
- Triple bag the carcass and/or trap. Do not intermingle with other garbage and notify your garbage hauler for retrieval.
- If you wish to reuse the traps, soak them in a bucket of disinfectant for 20 minutes then allow to dry.
- If fleas are present, use a flea spray while picking up used traps and dead rodents.
Common, Local Types of Rodents
The House Mouse (Mus Musculus) is light to dark brown, with prominent ears and eyes. Adults leave rod-shaped droppings approximately an eighth of an inch long. Their life span is six months to a year, with an average of eight litters of five to six "pups" per litter. The house mouse lives in walls, cabinets, sub floors, crawl spaces, and furniture, usually within thirty feet of food source. It will eat any food but prefers grain. Habitual gnawers and collectors of nesting material, mice are generally curious.
The Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus) is heavy set, light brown to almost black. Droppings are capsule-shaped, about three quarters of an inch long. Norway Rats live about one year and have about six to twelve pups per litter, up to seven litters per year. Rats burrow in the ground, under buildings and rubbish, usually living within 150 feet of food and water. They feed habitually on familiar food and are cautious of new items or new food.
Roof Rats (Rattus Rattus) are somewhat smaller and more agile climbers than Norway Rats. They have a slender body, prominent ears, and large eyes. The life span for Roof Rats is one year, averaging around six to eight pups about five times throughout the year.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a life-threatening disease caused by the Sin Nombre Virus. Symptoms develop within one to five weeks and are flu-like with fever, headache, shortness of breath, coughing, vomiting, and stomach pain. As it progresses, respiratory failure may occur.
The Sin Nombre Virus is spread by inhaling airborne particles of urine, droppings, and saliva from infected rodents. Handling infected rodents, their nests, or droppings and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes may also spread the virus.
If you have been exposed to Deer Mice and become sick, seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to let your health care provider know where you have been and what you were doing. Deer Mice are recognized by their large eyes and ears and a bi-colored tail. However, it is almost impossible to tell what kind of mouse it is as it runs across the floor. It is also impossible to tell an infected mouse from one that is not infected, so consider all mice infected.