Dealing with rats and mice at home

2016-07-14 06:00
Rodent infestations should be treated sooner rather than later because the population can increase at a rapid pace.

Rodent infestations should be treated sooner rather than later because the population can increase at a rapid pace.

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IT is winter, which means that, like many us, rats and mice are looking for somewhere warm and cosy to spend their days.
For property owners, this means an increased likelihood of rodents trying to make their way inside your house to set up home.
These nocturnal creatures are most active between dusk and dawn, and usually hide from humans during the day.

It is often easier to spot the signs of a rodent problem than the actual pests themselves, so it’s important to know what to look for.

Are you worried you may have unwanted rodent guests lurking in your home?
Here are tips on how to spot and get rid of rodents.

Signs of a rodent problem


Rodents do 50 to 80 droppings a night, small and dark (approximately 3-8 mm in length), scattered randomly. Look for droppings particularly along walls, in cupboards or under sinks.

Grease marks

Grease marks and smudges are caused by mouse fur constantly brushing against walls, floors and skirtings on regular routes. You may find dark smears around holes or around corners too.

Urine pillars

With heavy infestations, body grease combined with dirt and urine tend to build up into small mounds that are up to 4cm high and 1cm wide.

Scratching noises

People often report hearing unusual scratching noises during the night when mice are most active. Listen for noises between partition walls, under floorboards, in false ceilings, basements and lofts.


Mice use easy to shred materials such as newspaper and fabrics, together with other soft materials to line their nest.

Check lofts, suspended ceilings, cavity walls, under floorboards, behind fridges, under stoves and in airing cupboards for mice activity.

Nests will often contain young mice.


Rodent tracks and tail marks can show up in dusty environments such as unused lofts and basements. To check for activity, sprinkle flour, talcum powder or china clay and check for fresh tracks the next day.

Strong smell

Mice urinate frequently and the urine has a strong ammonia-like smell. The smell may be strongest near the main site of activity or in enclosed spaces. This smell can linger for a long time even after an infestation has been removed.

If you are going to try and catch a mouse, you need to know the best bait to use. In most cases, when people think of mice, they think of cheese, but did you know that mice aren’t really that passionate about cheese? That’s not to say they won’t eat it, just that they won’t go out of their way to snack on it.

Mice do, however, love peanut butter, so if you are planning to try your hand at some DIY mouse control, peanut butter would be your best bet to lure them into a homemade trap.

How to make a humane DIY mouse trap

• Take an empty toilet or paper towel roll and place a teaspoon of peanut butter at one of its ends.

• Place the roll on the edge of a surface, with the peanut butter end hanging off the edge.

• Below the roll, place an empty plastic container with the lid nearby.

• Wait for the mouse to take the bait.

• When the mouse enters the empty roll to help himself to the peanut butter, its body weight will cause the roll to tip over and fall into the plastic container. When this has happened, place the lid on the container and set the mouse free in a safe area away from your home.

Professional rat and mouse control

If your DIY rodent repelling measures have failed, and you still notice signs of rats or mice in your home, you should contact a professional pest control company to help you get rid of them.

Even if you’ve spotted just one mouse, it’s safe to assume that its family is somewhere nearby.

If you’re finding it hard to get the mouse to take the bait in your homemade trap, you may need to call in the professionals before the problem gets out hand.

Rodent infestations should be treated sooner rather than later, because the population can increase at a rapid pace. Rodent young are born about 22 days after mating, and become sexually matured within three months.

Depending on the type of species, a female rat can have as many as eight to 12 offspring per litter, and up to seven litters per year.

A reputable pest control company will only use rodenticides as a last course of action, and only after food, harbourage and access have been denied. They will also take into account additional factors such as young children, pets and other wildlife in the area before applying treatment.
– Supplied by Rentokil,


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