Most of us are stuck at home trying to think of things to keep us occupied. It happens to be the time of year when rodents, rats and mice, tend to search for new sources of food and shelter as natural food supplies dwindle and the temperatures drop; they move indoors.
Rats and mice are more than nuisance pests. They carry diseases that can be transferred to people, they gnaw through plastic pipes, electric wires and building timbers and can cause considerable damage. They are also environmental pests, causing significant damage to New Zealand’s biodiversity through predating on native birds and other native creatures.
This is the best time of year to prevent rodents from gaining access to your home and to control them on your property. Take some time to look around your house and other building for potential entry points. A mouse can get through a gap as narrow as a pencil. Here are some tips to keeping your family and home safe from rodents and for helping protect our native creatures:
- Check for any current infestation. Look around your house for rodent droppings. They are most often found in roof voids, hot water tank cupboards and other dark voids.
- If you find evidence of infestation use the Rat & Mice Bait range to get rid of them.
- Wearing gloves and a mask, if you have one, clean up rodent droppings.
- Check around the house, both inside and outside, for potential rodent entry points, gaps under doors, gaps around pipes or cables, broken air vents, gaps at eaves, etc. Seal up entry points you find. Builders foam, cement, filler and wire wool are all useful for sealing up entry points.
- Check for vegetation that enables rodents to gain easy access to roofs and eaves. The roof rat is live predominantly in trees and can easily drop down onto your roof and gain entry to your attic at the eaves. Cut down plants that climb up walls to at least 30 cm below eaves and trim back trees that overhang roofs.
- Place Rat & Mice Baits in bait stations around the property to control rodents before they find their way in. Bait station can be purpose-made such as NO Rats Bait Stations or you can make your own from a length of downpipe or similar with a wire or nail to hold the bait in place. A bait station must exclude non-target animals such as pets from access to the bait.
- Check baits every few days for evidence of rodent activity. If all the bait has been consumed at any location double the amount of bait in that place. It is important to prevent sub-lethal dosing that bait is fully available to the rodents.
If you follow these tips you and your family can stay safe from the harm that rodents can bring and help in the fight to protect New Zealand’s natural habitats.