Prevent & eliminate rodents without toxic pesticides
January 16, 2013
Mice aren’t just unpleasant guests, they are dirty animals. They can be carriers of a disease called “ratbite fever” that people can catch from a rodent bite or from the bodily fluids of a sick rodent. Mice can also introduce mites, tapeworms, and ringworms into your home. And in homes where people have allergies or asthma, their dander and urine can trigger reactions.
The only way to permanently get rid of a mouse problem is to stop access to the food and shelter that you are providing.
Follow these tips to get rid of rodents:
1. Prevent Entry
- Block holes and cracks larger than 1/4-inch, which rodents can pass through. Use a pencil (eraser end) to check size. Fill holes with steel wool and seal cracks in foundation. Close gaps around pipes and cables. Use hardware cloth to screen vents and floor drains. Don’t use chewable materials, like plastic, rubber, vinyl or wood.
- Repair broken windows, doors, screens and make sure they close tightly. Replace worn weatherstripping and install door sweeps.
2. Clear the Path to Your Door
- Remove or cut down tall grass and weeds, blackberries and other brush from the area near your home’s foundation.
- Prune ground level branches off shrubs.
- Avoid ivy, which shelters mice.
- Keep bird feeders away from the house and sweep up seeds on the ground frequently.
- Use trash cans with tight lids.
- Clean up fallen fruits, seed pods, and nuts from trees.
3. Make Your Home Uninviting
- Use garbage cans with tight lids or take trash out daily.
- Use mouse-proof containers, such as coffee cans, jars with screw lids or plastic food containers with tight fitting lids for pantry items, such as grains, cookies, sugar, etc. Mice can chew through, plastic bags, cardboard and burlap.
- Keep pet food in mouse proof containers. Rather than leave food out for pets all day and night, feed them at specific times and then remove food bowls.
- Store lawn and garden seed, birdseed and organic fertilizers (such as bone meal) in mouse proof containers.
- Don’t leave food or dirty dishes out overnight. Keep counters, stove top, broiler and the kitchen floor clean.
4. Determine Where The Mice Are
- Do a visual inspection for clues, such as chewed food boxes, etc. Mice do not usually travel far in search of food. Look for holes in which they may be entering.
- Coat the floor with flour in areas where you suspect activity. Look for mice tracks in the flour the next morning.
5. Trap Those Sneaky Critters.
- If mice move in, a highly effective way to deal with small infestations is to trap them.
- Use peanut butter, raisins, oats, or dried fruit for bait in snap and live traps.
- Use gloves when handling traps to prevent getting a human smell on the traps.
- Set out the traps unset and without bait for a few days to get the mice used to them. Place them five to ten feet apart near the wall, with the trigger closes to the wall. Behind objects and in dark corners are also good places to set the traps.
- Make sure you release mice caught in live traps far (1+ mile) from your house.
- Keep traps away from children and pets.