To get rid of mice & rats, it’s important remove attractions such as unsecured rubbish; and tidy your garden as to remove shelter. Then there is the decision about whether to use clinical or humane solutions, whether it be traps & poisons or ultrasonic devices.

Primrose recommends ultrasonic deterrents as the lasting solution to your rodent problem, which acts as a permanent deterrent and allows you to avoid touching diseased carcasses.

Remove the Attractions

Key to keeping your home and garden pest free is to keep it tidy and free of rubbish. You can exterminate the existing rodents, but more will return if there is a source of food or shelter.

Rubbish should be kept in a secure bin, with the lid closed. Food shouldn’t be left out for other animals. Bird feed should be put up in specialised containers, and never on the ground. Similarly, tidying around the bottom of a fruit tree is worthwhile.

Remove the Habitat

how to get rid of mice and rats in your home

Overgrown gardens provide a source of shelter in which many pests thrive. It is worth checking for holes that rodents will use as a nest.

Secure Your House

Rodents are both adept climbers and extremely nimble, able to enter through small cracks from the foundation to the attic. Hence, it is worth checking your brickwork as well as going into the loft.

Ultrasonic Deterrents

Advanced Rat and Mouse Repeller - Whole House, By PestBye®

Ultrasonic devices are the most effective method to rid your house of rodents. Unlike traps and poisons, which only make room for new rodents, and at worst can act as a draw for new pests, ultrasonic devices function as a permanent deterrent.

They also allow you to forgo learning about the different types of rodents and avoid handling dead, diseased carcasses.

Ultrasonic devices work by emitting ultrasound, which is inaudible to humans, but disconterting to rodents, who use such frequencies to listen for predators. The ultrasound causes them to leave the area, and is henceforth completely humane.

Primrose has sold tens of thousands of units, with battery operated model, perfect for lofts and outbuildings, which has an average rating of 4.2 from over 400 reviews.

Unlike with traps and poisons, it is best to install a device before sealing your house, leaving a space for the rodents to escape.

Rodent Types

rat eating food waste

If you are to use traps or poisons, learning about the different types of rodents can be useful.

Two species of rat are likely to enter your home, the black rat and brown rat (Norwegian, cellar rat). The former is significantly smaller and more agile, and will infest the upper levels of buildings. The latter, by contrast, is much more likely to stick to the lower levels.

With mice, the species most likely to enter your house is the adaptly named house mouse, which is even more agile than the brown rat.

rat diagram
Rattus rattus is the scientific name for the black rat, and Rattus norvegicus for the brown rat.
Picture credit: Sponk licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The different types can be identified by their droppings with the brown rat’s between 1.5-2cm, the black rat’s up to 1.5cm and mice less than 0.75cm. As mice are significantly lighter than rats, you are unlikely to hear them scurrying.

All rodents can survive on a poxy amount of calories, but mice can survive without water and will multiply quickly, producing up to 8 litters a year with a gestation period of 30 days. It is for these reasons that you can’t afford to wait, but have to act quickly.

Traps & Poisons

Unlike ultrasonic deterrents, it is important to seal your house before using traps and poisons, which can act as an attractant.

There are three types of traps: snap, electric and glue. Snap and electric traps are the most humane and usually kill instantly. Traps have an advantage over poisons in that carcasses can be found in the vicinity of the trap, while poisoned rodents can be hard to find.

Poisons have an advantage in that they can be used in communal areas, provided they are secured in bait stations, safe from pets and children. You should use different active ingredients for different situations.

Alphachloralose is a must for mice, while for rats both difenacoum and brodifacoum can be used, although the latter shouldn’t be used in areas with non-target species.

For more information on poisons, please read our blog post on the best mouse poisons here.

Rodents are initially wary of new introductions, so traps and poisons take time to take effect. Rodent tracker dust can be used to identify where rodents are coming from, which helps with the placement of traps.

Be sure to use gloves when handling dead rodents and use rodent carcass disposal bags.

Natural Deterrents

Cats, and the specially bred terrier, will hunt rodents and can be set on them. The outcome is effective, yet grim.

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