Mice & Rats

Mice Vs. Rats

Although some people think of mice and rats as child and parent, these two are different organisms. Their biology is different and their life history is different. Therefore, it's important to point out a few key distinguishing characteristics.

The body of a mouse will be as little as 2" to as much as 3-1/2" when fully grown. The rat's body will be as small as 7" but can grow to a length of nearly 10". 

Mice will weight as between 1/2 ounce to up to 1 ounce whereas a large rat may weigh more than a pound. Color will vary in both mice and rats though they are most commonly seen as gray to brown. 

A mouse will squeeze through an opening as small as 1/4". A rat manages to get through an opening as small as 1/2". Both rodents have poor eyesight and rely on their acute sense of smell and hearing to compensate.


Management of Rodent Problems

A first step that is helpful in rodent management is cleaning up the existing rodent droppings; it provides a starting point to gauge the effectiveness of a control program.   

Be cautious in the process of removing rodent droppings from any area.   Rodent droppings and the dust surrounding them may contain disease organisms which are harmful to people or their pets.  Be sure to wet the target area down with either an antibacterial cleaner before attempting removal to minimize dust entering into the air while cleaning.   Use a damp cloth or paper towel for the actual removal to further minimize the chance of dust becoming airborne.   In cases of heavy infestation, a quality respirator should be used as well.  

Vacuuming is not recommended without a HEPA exhaust filter because the vacuum motor could blow hazardous particles into the air.   If it is necessary to use a vacuum in an area, keep the motor as far away as possible and be sure the exhaust stream is blowing away from the cleanup site.

The most effective means employed to control rodent is exclusion. If openings are eliminated, in most cases, rodents cannot get into a structure. However, sometimes a dirt floor may exist inside a structure to which a burrowing rodent may find entry. Exclusion or rodent-proofing, requires strong material through which rodents may not be able to gnaw such as concrete, sheet metal, coarse grade steel wool, hardware cloth and crushed glass. Check out our mice proofing products. 

The next step in controlling rodents is eliminating food sources. People are often surprised to find out that rodents eating foods that had long been forgotten; the bird seed up in the attic or in the garage or a box of food which fell down behind a shelf somewhere. Therefore, it is important to seek those things out. Also, any food in vulnerable packing such as boxes or bags as well as garbage stored in the living area and outside must be protected by placing these items into impervious containers of metal or glass. 

The final step in the process of creating a rodent free environment is eliminating existing infestations from a structure.   Trapping is an effective rodent control technique. There are humane traps which can trap mice or rats without harming them but require frequent monitoring.  Multiple catch traps such as Victor Tin Cat and Ketch-All may also capture mice without harming them, but also require frequent monitoring.  Snap traps and glue traps may also be used to quickly and effectively deal with rodent problems. Check out our collection of mice/rat traps.

The most common rodent control technique is the application of rodenticide bait.  Most products used today are anti-coagulant type baits. These kill the rodent by thinning the blood until the animal hemorrhages internally. The animal suffers some dizziness, then dies from the loss of blood.  Elimination of rodent using anticoagulants typically takes from five to ten days. Check out our collection of mice/rat poisen.

All rodenticides used outdoors must now be placed in a rodent bait station to prevent non-target animals from consuming them, These bait stations that can be used indoor or outdoor and protect children and pets from the rodenticide inside of the them.   Rodents enter the station, feed on the rodenticide block and then leave.    Results can take as little as two days once the bait is consumed, but it usually takes longer  - specially if there is competing food, if the station is not placed properly or the rodent is bait shy. Check out our collection of bait stations.

An alternative to using baits for rats outdoors is The Giant Destroyer - a "smoke bomb" .  This products is a smoke cartridge which contains sulfur which is ignited with a wick to create poisonous sulfur dioxide smoke as it burns.  The burning cartridge is then placed into an active burrow.  The smoke will kill rats living in the burrow.

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