Rodent Control for Rats and Mice
Rodents are an ever-present problem in farming, commercial and industrial environments, especially where foodstuffs are involved.
Rats and mice breed at an incredible rate. A female rat has the potential to conceive every 7-10 days. With a gestation period of about a month, they give birth to litters of 3-6 pups. This means that a single breeding pair of rats has the potential to produce a colony of over five thousand rats in a year.
An adult rat will consume approximately ten percent of its body weight in food per day. For an average sized rat, this is about 30g per day. For a population of five thousand, this equates to around 75 tonnes of food per year.
Damage from rodents
Aside from the considerable amount of food they eat, mice and rats often cause other damage and disruption. They can chew through almost anything, for food, nesting materials or even teeth sharpening.
The following are some typical damage scenarios for rodents;
- Destroy packaging. Packaging can be used as material to line their burrows.
- Electrical shorts. Rats and mice often chew wiring insulation. This can cause electrical shorts and there is a known incidence of fires due to this.
- Damage infrastructure. Rodents find access via small cracks or holes. If these are not large enough, they will chew through surrounding walls.
- Damage machinery. Also often due to chewing wires, they can cause breakdown of machinery.
- Contamination. Rat droppings and urine can contaminate goods. This is especially an issue with food manufacturing.
- Spread disease. Rodents can carry contagions and cause health issues.
- Dig up and eat new crops. Rodents can dig up and eat fresh crops directly from the ground.
An unchecked growth in rodent populations can very quickly lead to considerable cost and inconvenience. Rodent removal and ongoing pest control are vital.
A multi-pronged approach to mouse and rat control
Getting rid of rats and mice should be approached from a number of angles.
- Limiting the habitats that rodents prefer.
- Restricting access to food sources.
- Closing entry points.
- Killing the existing rodents.
There will always be factors that you cannot fully control, and the rodents will continue their attempts regardless. Continued work in all these areas, where possible, is important.
Mice and rats love the cover provided by long grass, old machinery, and dumped rubbish. These provide obscured access, spaces to live and a source of materials. These should be cleaned away from any sheds, storage warehouses or working environments.
Keep working areas clean
Clean up any animal feed spillage or food waste and dispose of properly. Carefully seal any still-used foodstuffs and securely store. These are what the rodents are seeking.
Seal access points
Rats and mice gain entry to buildings through small holes, cracks and gaps. Wherever possible, seal these up to prevent entry. In some working environments, and farms especially, this may not be wholly feasible, but any attempt should be beneficial.
Use a good rodent poison
Use a mouse or rat poison which is more attractive to the rodents than other food sources. This way they will be attracted to the poison in preference and it will be more effective. Rodent traps are not generally suitable for farm or industrial settings, though they may be added to catch any individual animals that are bait-shy.
Inspect working areas regularly for signs or rodent infestation. If you see live animals during daytime, it usually means you have a severe issue. Otherwise, look for signs of droppings and urine, chewing and other evidence. Inspect rodent baits for indications of them being eaten and replace when necessary.
Choosing a mouse and rat bait poison
Many types of rodent poison are grain-based. The rats and mice are not attracted to these any more than the standard grain that they eat. The best rat bait and mouse poison is one which attracts the rodents to it as a preferred food.
Furthermore, rats in particular are relatively smart; they recognise rat traps and begin to stay clear of them. An effective rat poison does not cause immediate death, but allows the animal to wander off and die elsewhere. This way other rodents are not warned of the hazard to their health.