When a rodent problem arises, jumping at the first control method that comes to mind can be tempting. You might get lucky and solve the problem quickly, but you might also choose the wrong option and lose valuable time.
There are several important factors to consider before choosing which method to go with, which can save you time, money, and energy.
Identify the Rodent Species
We tend to think of rats when we hear the word rodent, but this category can include mice, squirrels, beavers, and many more.
Here are the three most common rodents species you might come across:
Rats love gardens and outbuildings, but that doesn't mean they won't make their way inside. Rats will sometimes nest in attics, behind walls, or under floorboards. While they're primarily nocturnal animals, look out for them during the day. You can sometimes assess a rat problem from their droppings out in the open, but reduced food stock, and damaged packaging is often a better indicator.
Like rats, mice can make themselves comfortable throughout your home, often in the kitchen, attic, or cupboards and drawers. While they leave noticeably more droppings than rats, the easiest way to tell the difference is to examine damaged packing. Rats leave more prominent teeth marks, while mice leave much smaller markings.
Identify the Scale of the Infestation
Once you know the species, the next step is to identify the scale of the problem. People often make the incorrect assumption that there is only a single rodent loose in your home, but in reality, the problem may be much more extensive.
Underestimating the problem can lead to under-baiting or not putting out enough traps, which will have a negligible effect on the situation and could lead to a population explosion.
We recommend walking around your home and taking note of any signs of rodents you come across. This should include cupboards and drawers, under the sink, in your attic, and anywhere out of sight. At this point, you should have a good idea of the scale of the problem, and from there, you can think about choosing a suitable control method.
Choose a Suitable Control Method
There are three main options for choosing a method: rodenticide, traps, and bait boxes. Each comes with benefits and disadvantages; which you choose will depend on your situation and the level of infestation.
Rodenticideis rat and mouse poison and represents one of the fastest ways to deal with a rodent infestation. It works quickly and usually requires less time than other methods. However, there are a few notable drawbacks when considering rodenticides.
It needs to be kept well clear of pets and children, and applied in the right location - which means you need to be certain of rodent location. The biggest problem with rodenticides is that they can lead to resistance within rodents, which means that no matter how much you put down, you won't be able to shift your problem.
Rodenticides usually come in three different formulations in the UK; blocks, wheat, and pasta.
Block is more weather resistant, so it's probably a better option for outside or in damp environments, while pasta has the highest calorie count. It works well if you need to compete against locations with an uncontrolled food source, such as cities.
Wheat is the most commonly used of the three, as it's a good all-rounder, but spillages can be an issue, so it's best to use in locked boxes attached to walls or in controlled environments.
The last thing to consider when choosing a rodenticide is selecting the active ingredient inside. In the UK, this comes down to the following three options:
- Difenacoum - This is also called super-warfarin and is a second-generation rodenticide used for both mice and rats, but it works better with mice. It's the safest of the three options around pets and non-target animals, but caution is still advisable. Difenacoum is a multi-feed bait, meaning rodents will need to feed several times for it to work, while a few regions in Britain, notably Reading, Bolton, and Kent, have reported signs of resistance to it.
- Bromadiolone - Another second-generation rodenticide, Bromadiolone is better for rats but works effectively with mice. Like Difenacoum, this is a multi-feed bait, so it can take some time to become effective, and it is also showing signs of resistance within rat populations around the country.
- Brodifacoum - Brodifacoum packs a greater punch than the previous two, but its toxicity means that it must be kept clear of non-target animals. Just one feed on Brodifacoum should be enough to kill both rats and mice with no resistance. This should be the option if you've tried everything else.
Traps are another tried and tested method for controlling a rodent problem and come in all shapes and sizes. Traps are helpful in conjunction with rodenticides or alone for those who don't want to use toxic chemicals in their homes.
It's important to note that traps must be left well out of sight of humans, where rodents typically are. For mice problems, 6 to 7 traps in the target area is a good starting number, while with rats, between 2 and 6 should be enough to show some results. You don't want to oversaturate an area, as rodents will simply begin avoiding it.
We wouldn't recommend leaving bait lying around as it can easily be picked up by a child or eaten by a pet. A bait box is a securely locked box that houses the bait and can be placed either inside or outside. It allows mice or rats to enter through a small hole and has the added bonus of not having dead rodents lying around. You simply need to empty it after a few days and put it back in the same place.
Choose the Right Bait Type
Block (Blox) Baits
Jaguar Blox is one of the strongest, single-feeding anticoagulants around and is highly weatherable. It's made of 16 human food-grade ingredients and works best with mice, though it’s very effective against rats.
When it comes to pasta bait, look no further than the Romax Muskil, with proven results against both mice and rats. This combines both Difenacoum and Bromadiolone to give even greater coverage and comes in 15g sachets containing pasta manufactured from top-quality ingredients.
It also comes with Romax's ‘Fluorescent No Phobia technology’, which significantly increases the likelihood of acceptance and considerably speeds up the whole process. As mentioned, it has a higher calorie count than other baits, making them an irresistible feast.
Sapphire grain is an excellent option if you need a solid all-rounder that delivers results quickly and effectively. It contains a blend of premium-grade whole and cut wheat and is a single-feed bait, meaning a single snack should be enough to finish off both mice and rats. If all else fails, turn to this bait as your last resort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Is the Best Place To Put Rat Bait Stations?
Mice and rats only like to be out in the open if necessary, so the best place for a rat bait station is close to walls or locations that are out of sight, such as under the sink or at the back of cupboards.
What Is the Best Type of Bait for Rodents?
This depends on the rodent and the level of infestation, but wheat bait delivers the best all-around performance. However, if you need something in damp conditions, consider block bait and pasta bait for locations where there might be a lot of alternative food.
Need Help with Rodent Control? Shop Dalton Engineering!
Getting on top of it early is the key to successfully dealing with a rodent problem. Once you know what you're up against, you can think about putting a control plan in place, which might involve a combination of rodenticides, traps and bait boxes, or just one, depending on the situation. For the most comprehensive options for rodent control, head to Dalton Engineering and get ahead of the problem before it gets ahead of you.