When a severe rodent problem arises, you have a short window of time to tackle it properly before it spirals out of control. Once an infestation has gone too far, it can be a mountain to climb, but by following these eight simple steps, you can get ahead of the problem before it overwhelms you.
Identify the Scale of the Problem
Before you think about what steps to take, you need to understand the scale of the problem. Unless an infestation is severe, you might never actually see a rodent, so it's essential to keep your eyes open for tell-tale signs, such as droppings, gnaw marks, nesting sites, and burrows. Doing this should also give you a good idea of what kind of numbers you're facing.
Cleanliness isn't always the main cause of a rodent outbreak, but it's usually at least a contributing factor. To get a good sense of the scale of the problem, it's always an idea to thoroughly clean before taking further steps. This will make it easier to spot signs of a rodent problem and establish a base level of hygiene that you can aim to maintain throughout the process.
Block Potential Nesting Sites
Part of the cleaning process will be to block potential nesting sites. Rodent nesting areas are usually warm places close to reliable food sources, such as roof spaces, under floors or wall cavities, sheds, basements, and storage boxes. They typically use shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter, so try to remove anything from the site that a rodent might see as nest-building material.
Also, block access to places to potential nesting sites, such as small holes that lead to the back of walls or gaps between floorboards.
Remove Potential Food Sources
Whether you can completely eliminate food sources will vary based on your location. If you're rodent-proofing a farm, ensure food is stored in secure containers that rodents cannot gnaw through. Where possible, remove any items that rats or mice may perceive as food. While cereal products are their preferred choice, rodents aren’t selective and will target any available food lying around.
Go on the Offensive
Cleaning and removing food sources can only go so far. You must go on the offensive at some point if you have a significant rodent problem. The strategy and products you use will very much depend on the scale of the problem and whether it's predominantly a rat or a mouse issue.
Maintain a Clean Environment
Staying on top of things is crucial once you've gone on the attack. You'll need to conduct regular assessments to see whether your chosen method is working (first thing in the morning is a good time to do this) and maintain your established clean environment. There's little point in scrubbing everything down if it's only to revert back to its previous state after a week or two.
Keep up the cleaning and ensure that your site remains clear of potential nesting areas and that all possible food sources are either well out of the way or securely stored.
Consider the Long-Term
If you've had a rodent problem, the chances are it might happen again. While it's next to impossible to ensure a site is rodent-proof, you can do a few things to mitigate the chances of another significant problem in the future.
A resident cat - or two - is a handy deterrent to rodents, so consider stopping at your local shelter and bringing home a new friend. Both mice and rats hate the scent of mint, so perhaps think about planting a little outside the building or even having pots inside. Even dried mint is beneficial, so consider placing some open jars around your property.
When a rodent problem ends, the worst thing you can do is to become complacent. You must stay vigilant for further signs of rodents and have a plan already in place if you begin to see those signs again. Catching a rodent problem early can make all the difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Steps to Rodent Control?
If you have a rodent problem, you'll first need to identify the scale and type of infestation. This should be followed by thoroughly cleaning, blocking nesting areas, securing food sources, and tackling the problem with bait or traps.
What Is the Best Course of Action for a Rodent Problem?
The best course of action for a rodent problem is almost always putting out bait or traps. However, doing so needs to be done in conjunction with cleaning and carefully ensuring your site is as unappealing as possible to would-be rodent intruders.
A major rodent problem can feel overwhelming, so taking things one step at a time is essential. Assess the situation carefully, clean and organise the area thoroughly before choosing the best rodent control solutions for your situation. At Dalton Engineering, we have a range of products to tackle everything from full-blown infestations to the odd pesky intruder. Put that rodent problem behind you - at least for now.