Eliminating vermin and creepy crawlies
As the weather turns colder, unwanted guests may try to encroach on your warm and inviting living spaces. Rats, mice and spiders find the warmth, food opportunities and multitude of safe hiding places irresistible and before you know it you and your home could be playing host to large extended families of these unwelcome intruders.
Rats and mice There are three types of rat in New Zealand, the most common being the Norwegian rat (sewer rat). We also have the ship rat and the kiore rat (which is rare).
There are two types of mice – the field mouse and the house mouse.
Rats and mice make short work of chewing through wiring and food packaging, causing annoying and potentially expensive problems with your appliances and household electricity supply, and contaminating our food and surfaces with all manner of bacteria and diseases.
Vermin like to nest in old newspapers, cupboards, spare rooms, insulation, basements and behind the oven or fridge – anywhere that is warm and quiet. Outside you’ll find mice and rats in piles of rubbish, old cars, building materials or overgrown gardens. Trees that overhang eaves can let rats into your ceiling space – the ship rat likes to nest in your insulation.
Needing only a very small hole to get into your house, rats and mice can climb vertical surfaces, gnaw through walls and squeeze in through gaps around windows or doors.
To get rid of vermin, they need to be attacked on three fronts. Places they would be likely to nest need to be cleaned up, they need to be kept out of the house, and they need to be eliminated with poisons or traps.
Seal holes around pipes with metal or cement, or if there are gaps inside fill with a filling product available from your local hardware store. Make sure doors and windows fit tightly and put in fine wire mesh across holes into basements.
Poison baits are an effective form of rat control although they are also highly poisonous to humans as well. When laying bait, protect children and pets by using a box or piece of pipe for the bait station. Always use gloves and wash your hands after handling dead vermin or working with baits or traps.
The old saying ‘‘where there is one, there is usually more’’ is usually TRUE and as prolific breeders, you need to get on top of the problem early. If, in a few weeks, the vermin have not been eliminated with the above methods, it would be wise to call in a professional early – before the infestation reaches uncontrollable levels.
Spiders Love them or loathe them, it is a fact of life that we share our homes with spiders.
Their ability to squeeze their way into your home through the smallest crack or gap means you are extremely unlikely to have a home free of spiders, and certainly not for long.
There are however, ways to effectively limit the population. Regularly removing spider webs and spot spraying as you see them may help, but a better option may be a spider or bug bomb which you can set off when you plan to be away from home for a number of hours as well as using a residual surface spray.
It may also be worth considering spraying around the outside of the house, concentrating on the eaves and bases of walls.
There are a large number of products available to help with spider problems, or you can call in a professional who will take care of the problem for you.
Cats prove their practical worth when it comes to helping control rats and mice around the house.