About Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are constantly looking for food and shelter, and they don’t hesitate to enter people’s homes. Not only they can contaminate food and damage buildings, but they can also put your health in danger. They can spread more than 35 diseases, whether through direct contact, feces, saliva or through their ticks, fleas and mites. So it is very important to stay protected and to take action as soon as you notice any signs of rodents.
Not only they are dangerous, but they can also multiply very fast. A female rat can have 10-12 babies every 3 or 4 weeks, so that means somewhere between 170 to 204 rats in a year. What seems like a tiny problem today can turn into a serious infestation down the road.
Evidence of Rats and Mice
The most common species of rats found in Australia are the Black Rat (Rattuss rattuss) and the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). Both of these species can transmit diseases, not to mention the various species of mice. Here are some signs that may indicate their presence:
Droppings – small droppings that are pointed on both ends can indicate the presence of mice, while larger droppings can be a sign of rats. The areas with droppings indicate their active areas, and that’s where bait or traps should be placed
Smell of urine – the urine of rodents has a strong musky odor, and you can easily smell it in places with plenty of rats or mice.
Gnawed holes – the holes made by mice are about the size of a dime, while those made by rats are about the size of a quarter.
Nests – rodents will use various materials to build their nest, such as shred paper.
Noises at night – rodents are nocturnal creatures and they usually make a lot of noise when they are scratching, running or gnawing
Unusual pet behaviour – cats and dogs will act unusual when hearing or smelling rodents in the house. So if you see your dog barking or your cat pawing at spaces beneath furniture, refrigerators, stoves etc., then there might be something there.
Preventing Rats and Mice
There are 4 ways to prevent these nasty pests from reappearing into your home:
Clean – keep all the food in sealed containers and maintain the trash areas clean and tidy. Also clean the grills and put away pet food overnight. If they don’t find any sources of food in your home, they will not stay there
Seal – mice are very small and can squeeze into even smaller holes (the size of a nickel). So make sure to seal up any holes in your walls, around the doors, vents or other crawl spaces around the kitchen or closets
Monitor – keep an eye on the rodent activity in your home in order to find out their pathways, sources of food and to identify their number and species. Discuss this with your pest control company
Trap – if rodents are already present, they need to be eliminated, and trapping is a good method. But the best way to get rid of them is to call a specialist
You will find various rodent deterrent solutions online, but not all of them are effective.
Moth balls – they usually work for small mice, but they are toxic for children and pets and should be handled with care
Ammonia – this substance is effective because it is similar to the urine of their predators, so it will keep them away. But it is toxic for kids and pets and will also leave a bad smell in the house
Peppermint Oil – this is the safest method, and it involves soaking cotton balls into peppermint oil and spreading them throughout the house. The smell is pleasant for humans, but the process is messy, time consuming and should be repeated quite often because the smell fades away quickly