Effective rodent control involves sanitation, rodent proof construction and population reduction. The first two are useful as preventive measures. When a rodent infestation already exists, some form of population reduction is almost always necessary. Reduction techniques include trapping and poisoning.
Rodents can survive in very small areas with limited amounts of food and shelter. Consequently, no matter how good the sanitation, most buildings in which food is stored, handled or used will support house mice if not rodent-proofed. Although good sanitation will seldom eliminate rodents, poor sanitation is sure to attract them and will permit them to thrive in greater numbers. Good sanitation will also reduce food and shelter for existing rodents and in turn make baits and traps more effective. Pay particular attention to eliminating places where rodents can find shelter. If they have few places to rest, hide or build nests and rear young, they cannot survive in large numbers.
The most successful and permanent form of house rodent control is to “build them out” by eliminating all openings through which they can enter a structure. All places where food is stored, processed or used should be made rodent-proof. Dried grain and meat products should be stored in glass jars, metal canisters or other re-sealable airtight containers.
Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch to exclude rodents. Steel wool mixed with caulking compound makes a good plug. Patching material needs to be smooth on the surface to prevent rodents from pulling out or chewing through the patching compound. Seal cracks and openings in building foundations and openings for water pipes, vents and utilities with metal or concrete. Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly. It may be necessary to cover the edges with metal to prevent gnawing. Plastic sheeting or screen, wood, rubber or other gnawable materials are unsuitable for plugging holes used by rodents.
Trapping can be effective if there are only a few rodents present in a building. However, if a rodent witnesses another rodent getting caught in a snap-trap, they will avoid the traps. This condition is called “bait shyness”. That is why scientists have developed baits that take up to five days to kill them.
Bait Selection and Placement
Baits are available in several forms. Grain baits in a meal or pellet form are available in small plastic, cellophane or paper packets. These sealed “place packs” keep bait fresh and make it easy to place the baits in burrows, walls or other locations. Rodents gnaw into the packet to feed on the bait. Block style baits are also very effective for most situations. Proper placement of baits and the distance between placements is important. For effective control, baits or traps must be located where rodents are living. Rainbow technicians use tamper-resistant bait stations to provide a safeguard for people, pets and other animals from accidentally getting to the bait. We place the bait stations next to a wall or in other places where rodents are active.