We all know rats, mice, opossum, raccoons and other critters live among us. But, when those rodents and other vermin are cold and hungry, they often chew their way into bags of feed or cause other issues in sheds, tack rooms, and stables. That’s when it’s time to evict without harming people, other animals, or adding too much work to your already busy day. Here are some tips to help control pests on your property.
Remove Food and Water Sources
Start by removing any potential food and water from the area. If that isn’t an option, enclose loose-grain feed or birdseed into large, airtight metal containers.
Remove Perimeter Clutter
Rats and mice love stacked cords of wood, compost piles, and other debris. When you reduce their living options, you minimize the chances they’ll stay. Removing clutter can also involve using good trashcans, or simply moving your cans away from your home, garage, shed, or other structure.
It’s darn near impossible to seal up a drafty shed, stable or working garage. But you can make it harder for critters to enter. Just look for entry points along the base of your foundation or near the ground. We suggest sealing up any entry points with wire mesh and spray foam. It’s an easy and quick solution.
Get a Cat (or Dog)
Adopting a cat and allowing it to hunt for vermin can reduce rat and mouse populations. Some dogs are great mousers too, including breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier. Or invite owls and other birds of prey onto your property by building safe landing and hunting perches. For bigger critters such as raccoons or opossum, encourage your dog to chase them away.
Using Traps and Poison
Infestations can be frustrating. But with pets, kids, and other animals running around, it’s important to be careful and choose the trap that best fits your needs. These might include:
Cages or Funnels: You can catch large rats and other critters in a cage or funnel without killing them. Then, you can release them elsewhere or eliminate them. With these traps, the animal enters the cage, gets the bait, and the door closes. With a funnel trap, the rat, mouse, raccoon or other critter enters the cage through a funnel and cannot get back out once inside.
Glue Traps: These non-poisonous traps catch rats and mice as they walk across them. The rodent may die on the trap. These traps are not ideal for larger critters. Tomcat rat glue boards come in a 2-pack and are available at Coastal.
Snap Traps (spring-loaded): These have a wooden, plastic or metal base and a spring-loaded arm. Just put a small amount of attractant in the trap and arm the trap. An ideal option is the Tomcat Reusable Rat Trap.
Live Catches: These traps can be non-lethal if you get to the trap soon after they are caught. Or simply leave mice and rats to expire in the trap.
Electric Traps: Rats and mice enter the trap and trigger a sensor in the metal floor. The rodent is then electrocuted. These traps are not safe if you have a cat or small dog.
Bait Stations and Rodenticide: Tamper-resistant, refillable bait stations from manufacturers such as Motomco are great for rodenticides, especially outdoors and above ground where it’s legally required. These stations provide a sheltered area where rodents like to feed. They also help keep the bait fresh and out of the elements.
Caution: Be sure to read the label of any poison before you buy it. Do not purchase poison using warfarin as rats quickly develop a tolerance for it. If you’re placing bait indoors, especially around kids or pets, make sure you’re using a high-quality bait station that is either up high and out of reach of children and dogs, or enclosed.
Be sure to change your baits often. Diphacinone products are a popular and economical choice, If the infestation is bad, switch to a Bromethalin Meal Bait from Tomcat, or Motomco Prowler Chunx Rodent Bait. Compared to anticoagulants, these baits are proven to work faster and control more rodents.
Coastal tip: don’t expect overnight results. Rats are suspicious of anything new. Therefore, it could take up to a week before your measures take effect. Once they take the bait, Bromethalin may start to work in two or more days. Anticoagulant baits can take up to 4-5 days.
Coastal Carries Motomco Pest Control
Motomco baits and stations are made in the USA. Stop by your Northwest Owned and operated Coastal and check out the full line of products to help control pests on your property. We can even share our own locally-minded advice for evicting your unwanted winter guests.
Coastal Tips for Trapping
Warning! Dogs and cats can die or become very ill by eating a rat or mouse that has ingested a poison. Therefore, be sure to find and dispose of dead rats and mice as quickly as possible.
Rodents have a very strong sense of smell. It’s recommended to use gloves when handling rodent bait. Not only for your safety, but to reduce any chances of your scent transferring to the bait, trap or station.
Rodents prefer to run along walls for protection. Place traps, glues and stations 10 to 20 feet apart along those same walls for best results.
Rats are smart creatures and can quickly work around traps. To fool them, place food on spring-loaded rattraps without arming the trap for a few days. Once they get used to the food, arm the trap.