1. Location, Location, LOCATION!
The most important rule for the effective use of traps is good trap placement location based on thorough inspections to determine the high-activity areas of rodents.
Spacing traps evenly every 10 feet may appear visually as “thorough coverage and protection” of the room. However, such placements make little sense if the majority of mouse activity is actually located in only a small corner of the room behind clutter.
2. Number of Traps
The most common trapping mistake is using of too few traps. For only a couple of mice, a dozen traps are not too many. For severe mouse infestations, traps should be placed close together in double sets in areas of high activity. About 1 inch of space should separate the two traps. These double sets help capture those rodents that attempt to jump over traps, a very common occurrence.
3. Importance of the First Night
Statistics show that more mice are trapped on the first night than on any other night. After three or four nights of trapping, the catch may drop to zero. For this reason, it is essential to use a large number of traps initially.
4. Offer Multiple Bait Choices
When many rodents are involved, different types of baits should be used. Individuals in a rodent population forage for different types of food. Therefore, it pays to divide the traps up and bait some percentage with meats such as bacon bits, some with peanut butter smudges, and some with nesting material like dental floss. Bait that matches what the rodents are currently feeding on should also be used (potato chips, e.g.).
5. Secure Baits
If a particular rodent population responds to piece-style baits, such as meats, crackers and candy pieces, tying the bait securely to the trigger will prevent the rodent from stealing the bait without setting off the trigger. For baits that cannot be tied like peanut butter, it is best to use small amounts.
6. Monitor Activity
Check traps regularly and continue to trap until signs of rodent activity dissipate.
7. Always Wear Gloves
Human odors on traps are not likely to deter rodents as our odors are present on the various objects rodents investigate and consume. Moreover, the odors associated with human touch only last for a few hours. However, for personal hygiene and biohazard awareness, disposable gloves should always be worn when installing or recovering any traps.
Expert Tips on Rodent Control
Know your enemy!
Fecal pellets are the most commonly encountered sign in a rodent inspection and serve as primary evidence to confirm an infestation. Even a small population of mice can produce literally thousands of droppings in a short period of time. By identifying the rodent droppings, you can determine who is infesting your home:
Qty: 50 to 75 pellets daily
Size: ¼ inch long
Shape: Small with 1 or both ends pointed
Qty: 40 to 50 pellets daily
Size: ¾ inch long
Shape: Larger, rectangular with blunt ends
Found in small groups
Qty: 40 to 50 pellets daily
Size: ½ inch long
Shape: Larger, curved, sausage shaped with pointed ends
ID the age of droppings
Fresh droppings are dark in color and soft in texture, but after three days they harden and lose the dark color.
Size of Infestation
The more you have the larger the infestation. This will help you determine how many traps or bait need to be placed in a particular area. More traps are better than not enough traps…the little money you may save by not putting those extra 5 traps out can be lost 10 fold in damage caused by your house guest.
Evidence of recent gnawing is an excellent sign for determining the presence of rodents.
Hole Size: ½ inch in diameter; small, clean-cut
Gnawed Material: Wires, plastic, wood, corners of cardboard boxes, bags
Hole Size: 2 inches in diameter; rough, torn edges
Gnawed Material: Wood, corners, floor joists, wall studs
Rodent Nests & Burrows
To check that you still have an active burrow, wads of paper can be stuffed into the opening or the burrow can be caved in with dirt and rechecked a day or two later. If it is the same then the burrow is old, if the paper is moved you got yourself an active location.
Mice are not typically burrowers, instead they create indoor nests of shredded paper, string, and other similar materials. Nest are commonly located in secluded corners, beneath cabinets, at the base of kitchen appliances, and in cluttered garages.
Norway rats’ burrows are typically in the ground outside and burrows usually measure about 3 inches in diameter. It is common to find burrows along foundations and underneath debris, low-lying shrubbery, woodpiles, and storage sheds.
Roof rats typically nest above ground in palm trees, fruit trees, attics, ceiling voids, and among utility lines connected to the exterior of homes.
Runways or Pathways
Runways are usually evident in rodent infestations because rodents repeatedly use the same pathways between their nests and food sources.
Common linear pathways include foundation or sill ledges, tree branches, electrical lines, pipes and sewer lines.
Mice typically travel 6-30 feet from their nests to a food source. Rats will venture out 25-100 feet from burrows.
These grease marks are created from oil and dirt on the rodent’s skin and often appear along wall areas next to runways.
Both rats and mice urinate frequently during their daily travels. Research has shown that a mouse is capable of depositing 3,000 droplets in just 24 hours. Rodent urine is often deposited in their runways and other frequented areas.
Rodent odors may be particularly pronounced in larger rodent infestations and may persist for prolonged periods. Also, cats and dogs may excitedly sniff and probe an area where rodents are present.
High-pitched squeaks, gnawing sounds, scratching and digging noises, and sounds of rodents fighting can commonly be heard during night inspections.
Exclusion or rodent proofing you home is critical in controlling rodents. It can be difficult to exclude mice as they can pass through only a 1\4 inch opening (size of a dime). Rats require only the size of a nickel. So do a through inspection and do the best you can to eliminate as many opportunities for entrance as possible.
Rodent Access Points
- Garage doors are particularly prone to rodent entry if not kep pest proof
- All door thresholds much be no more than 0.25” wide
- Chimneys are capped
- All tree branches are trimmed back from buildings
- All exterior lines leading through walls should be sealed off
- Crawl space vent covers must be tight
Rodent Proofing Materials
- Copper or Aluminum Mesh
- Coarse Steel Wool
- Hardware Cloth – 19 gauge
- Sheet Metal – 26 gauge thickness
All rodents must have th 2 main factors to survive food and shelter. By limiting and hopefully removing these things you can prevent and control rodent problems.
- Keep areas free of food, clean up areas under refrigerators, and stoves.
- Keep the counter tops clean of any food
- Store food in closed containers
- Pick up any pet bowls ( empty water bowls at night)
- Keep your landscaping properly maintained and harborage areas trimmed.
- Remove piles of debris, old equipment, etc.