Dealing with MICE & RATS by Darwin Pest Control Print E-mail
House Mouse House Rat

The house mouse and rat are remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Once mice and particularly rats become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control.

Reasons To Control Mice & Rats

Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing 6-10 litters continuously throughout the year. The greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Rats are most common in coastal areas because it is a rodent that flourishes in areas inhabited by humans as well as on large ships. For this reason, these animals are often called ship rats. Some other common names for this species include house rat, black rat, and roof rat. Rattus rattus thrives in tropical regions i.e. Darwin.

Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing. House mice & rats gnaw through electrical wiring, causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. They can also can transmit diseases, most notably salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent faeces.

Mice & rats are nocturnal creatures, and, therefore, are rarely seen by the homeowner. The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings (1 cm long, dark and pointed at both ends for mice & 2 cm long with blunt ends for rats) , sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials used for nesting.

Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest -- usually not more than 3-10mtrs. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few metres. They prefer to travel adjacent to walls and other edges. They are very inquisitive and will investigate each new object placed in their foraging territory. Rats tends to live in polygynous groups with multiple males and females. Dominant males have increased mating access and mate more frequently than do subordinate males. Females are usually more aggressive than males, but have been reported to be less mobile.

They feed on a wide variety of foods but prefer seeds and cereal grains. They also are fond of foods high in fat and protein such as nuts, bacon, butter and sweets.

Tactics For Control
To control mice & rats, you must "think like them," keeping in mind the behavioral traits noted above. The best way to control rodents is to prevent their entry. Mice are able to squeeze through extremely small openings narrower than the diameter of a 10 cent piece therefore cracks in the foundation should be sealed, as should gaps and openings under doors and where utility pipes enter the structure. Rats are good climbers and will often enter via the roof space where openings and ventilation occur.

Good sanitation and food storage practices are helpful in reducing problems with rodents. Since seeds are a preferred food, all vegetable gardens adjacent to the building should likewise be eliminated. However, because mice are able to occupy such small nesting areas and survive on minute amounts of food, sanitation alone will not normally eliminate an existing infestation.

Control Using Rodenticides

Nearly all baits are formulated exclusively as food-based baits containing seeds or grain as an attractant. Most rodenticides are anticoagulants containing Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone Chlorophacinone, Diphacinone or Warfarin as active ingredients.

They kill by interfering with normal clotting of the rodents' blood, causing the animal to die from internal bleeding. Since mice forage only short distances from their nests, optimum results are achieved with multiple bait placements as close to the mouse harborage as possible.

We take extreme care when positioning baits in areas inaccessible to children or pets. Dogs, in particular, will seek out and find baits placed in areas which are accessible. This is why we will nearly always place the baits securely in the roof void when possible. In the event your home does not have a roof space we place the baits in areas that are not accessible to children or pets. When this is not possible we place them in tamper proof containers which are only accessible by the rodents.

The rodents will nibble on the bait and will then feel a desperate need for water. The rodents will generally leave the house immediately. This of course goes a long way to reducing the chance of them dying in the home and thus giving off that unpleasant odour. This often happens when supermarket brand baits are used due to the low amount of poison in the bait and the way it is presented to the rodent.

Control Using Sticky Traps/Pads
Sticky traps/pads are used by many pest companies. We do not use them as we feel that they are an unpleasant form of control for the rodent. (we are not going to go into the details).

Transfer Of Poison To Pets Etc
There is a lot of conjecture about this topic. Some people will tell you that if your dog ate a mouse or rat that had eaten the poison the dog would die also. Based on the manufacturer’s comments and our own results obtained from clients when this has happened has shown no support for this. In fact we have had a situation when a dog had actually eaten the poison directly after an owner had moved one of our baits where a dog got access. The end result was nothing as the dog was fine. As this was eating the bait directly as opposed to eating the poisoned mouse or rat you would have to draw the conclusion that the poison was not sufficient to hurt the dog. (This obviously depends on the dogs’ size, weight and amount of poison consumed. The dog in question was about 25kg and ate two whole blocks).

We have attempted to inform you honestly about these baits as they are the only treatment that we do that is considered a health risk to children and pets. We take every precaution when placing these baits in your home and will always spend the time to explain the ups and downs of this type of treatment as your family always comes first.

If you would like to know more or would like to talk to us, please call us on (08) 8932 8002.

We hope that this information has helped you to make a descision.