How to deal with rats and mice
IT’S 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.
Worried you may have unwanted rodent guests lurking in your home? Below are tips on how to spot and get rid of rodents.
Signs of a rodent problem
1. Droppings Rodents 50 to 80 droppings a night, small and dark (approx. 3-8 mm in length), scattered randomly. Look for droppings particularly along walls, in cupboards or under sinks.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Nests 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.
6. Tracks 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.
7. 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 1. Take an empty toilet or paper towel roll and place a teaspoon of peanut butter at one of its ends.
2. Place the roll on the edge of a surface, with the peanut butter end hanging off the edge.
3. Below the roll, place an empty plastic container with the lid nearby. 4. Wait for the mouse to take the bait.