Mice and Rats….. or Urban Hunting

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Kill mice and rats in Jefferson County Missouri and St. Louis, MO

No matter how many times I meet someone that keeps a mouse or rat as a pet I am always surprised.  Why?  Why would you want to invite one of these disease carrying critters into your home.  Ok, I’ll grant you they could be considered cute, but so are pot belly pigs and I don’t have one of those in the house either.  For most of us the thought of mice or rats running a muck in our home is unpleasant at the least and the very sight of one is enough to instigate an arms race in which no limits will be placed on the amount of cash spent to purchase poison, traps and wonder if we should adopt a cat. 

The title of this article is only slightly an attempt at humor because ridding your home of rodents in many facets is a form of hunting.  In order to trap or even poision mice and rats you must first attempt to understand their behavior.  A common mistake is people often assume a rat is just a very large mouse, and though they are somewhat related their differences make “hunting” them species specific.

Thus the first step in ridding your home of rodents is to determine the type.  For our purposes we will address mice and then rats. 

Mice can enter your home through an opening on 1/4 of an inch in diameter.  Thus, the opportunity exist for them to enter via cracks under doors, drilled holes such as cable and telephone lines as well as holes created for pipes carrying water and gas.  As a species mice are very curious, they love to explore and will quickly check out changes in their environment.  Thus, if you are “hunting” mice it is to your advantage to use their curiosity against them. 

Any change in their environment will bring mice out to explore the addition, this includes traps and poison baits.  And though they are very curious, they also display fear or a lack of trust in the manner in which they eat; nibbling.  An adult mouse will only eat about 3 ml of food per day, which equals about 3 pieces of plain M&M candy.  However, their food will not be eaten in one location or from just one source.  A mouse will nibble a little here and there in effect spreading their risk among their total supply of food. 

Therefore, the best practice for trapping or baiting mice is to insert many opportunities into their environment as possible.  They may in fact eat poison from a dozen or more bait stations before they finally consume enough to obtain a lethal dose.  If you do not have enough bait stations it may take weeks for them to consume enough poison to expire.

Rats do not display a great deal of curiosity.  In fact, any change in their environment sparks fear and they will not approach any new or moved item.  In fact, you may get rats to leave your property by moving items making them uncomfortable.  In a 24 hour period an adult rat will consume about 30ml of food, which equals about 30 pieces of plain M&M candy.  They will eat all of their food from location and take a lethal dose in one sitting. 

Therefore, with rats you want to have enough bait at one location to provide a lethal dose and be patient once the bait is placed.  Remember, the  poisoned bait station may sit untouched for weeks until the rats determine it is not a threat.

Unless you use Gateway Pest Control to rid your home, business and property of mice and rats you should be aware of major changes coming June 4, 2011 to federal regulations referring to rodenticide.  These changes will greatly affect how poison is purchased and used, in short, many folks that have always done their own rodent control may find it necessary to turn to a professional.  At Gateway Pest Control we bundle rodenticide with other services, many of our clients are shocked how affordable it is to add the service to their preventative insect control management program.

Do you have questions on how to rid your home of mice and rats?  We have service technicians available 24/7/365 to answer your questions and book service if needed.

Gateway Pest Control (636) 525-1008

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