– I’ve noticed that one of the favorite points of entry for rodents in brick homes, mice in particular, is through the expansion joints between the bricks. There are purpose made products out there for sealing these gaps, but I just use crumpled up chicken wire to shove in the joints. The chicken wire still allows the brick to expand. When the brick contracts, it leaves a bit of a gap, but the wire ends discourage rodents from entering.
– All gaps leading into your house should be sealed. Steel or copper wool and scourers are useful in tricky places.
– Compost bins are unfortunately a draw card for rodents. Where possible, get your compost bin off the ground, but drill small holes in the base so moisture can still drain away. Avoid putting food scraps into a compost bin – a worm farm may be a better option.
– Keep your yard as clear as possible of piles of debris and regularly check under logs and rocks for signs of nesting. Disturbing the area regularly will discourage rodents from establishing themselves, and in the process you can also get rid of pesky snails and slugs.
– Mice need very little food to survive, so regular sweeping of your kitchen area will help deprive them of sustenance and a reason to hang around.
– If you’re in a rat prone area, use metal garbage cans instead of plastic ones – rats will attempt to chew through the plastic bins.
– Fallen fruit should be removed from under trees.
– If you’re building a new house or considering re-insulating your current home, consider recycled cellulose fiber – it’s a highly effective “green” insulating material and the (safe) chemicals it’s treated with discourage rodents from nesting in it.
– Rats and mice love seed, so if you do have a bird feeder, try to keep it as far away from the house as possible and in the open with nothing that could be used as a rodent hideout nearby.
– With your recycling items, ensure cans and soda bottles are stored in sealed containers or bins
– Mice love to eat soap (go figure) so store any soap you keep outside in a container. They’ll also eat leather and cloth if other food sources aren’t available.
– If your cats and dogs “graze” don’t leave their pet food out for long periods; particularly overnight.
– Speak to your local pest control company about alternative trapping and repelling methods such as ultra-sound and electric zappers.
– I’ve read that rodenticide products containing Calciferol (vitamin D), cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) are less likely to cause secondary poisoning of other animals. It’s still deadly to many animals if consumed, so treat it with the same care as you would the other poison and it should be placed in tamper proof bait stations.
– If you use snap traps, peanut butter is great bait. You can also put the trap inside a paper bag so you don’t need to handle the animal once it’s been trapped. Be sure to place the traps where you know other small animals won’t get to it.
It’s recommended not to reuse a snap trap as the scent of the dead mouse or rat will repel other rodents. Given that, it’s a little expensive and wasteful having to buy a trap each time, but if you choose to do so, buy the ones made of wood, not plastic.
– Live traps can be re-used; in fact, by leaving a single mouse in a live trap, it will attract others (not the case with rats though). How to humanely dispose of the live mice is another issue. Ideas anyone?
– Get a dog. Not a cat, a dog. A terrier to be precise. Fox/Jack Russell terriers are the best mousers and ratters around. Terriers do not play with rodents like cats will, they kill them extraordinarily quickly; so it’s a little more humane I guess. If there are multiple mice, a fox will kill one and immediately move onto the next – I’ve never of dogs dogs actually eating one. Fox terriers can be trained to leave other animals alone – for instance, you can train them to become super assassins with mice, but to learn to leave birds alone. Cats on the other hand are more indiscriminate killers; cause massive problems in relation to native wildlife and it’s my understanding that they are pretty much useless when it comes to rats.