Showing posts with label rodents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rodents. Show all posts

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Get of Rats and Mice

I have recently completed a series of videos describing how to identify rodent infestations, what products to use to get rid of rats and mice, how to use those products, safe use of and disposal of rodenticides and how to prevent rodent infestations.

Q: Where do mice park their boats?
A: At the hickory dickory dock.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What to do on ANZAC Day

ANZAC day tomorrow! Let’s hope the weather remains good. We have been having something of an Indian summer this autumn and this has meant ongoing, or even increased, problems for some people with insect pests.

The weather has been warm during the day but clear skies at night have meant low temperatures and even a frost this morning in the fields around my home. This time of the year is normally when rats and mice move indoors to find fresh sources of food and shelter from the cold. Perhaps a good use of your time would be to take 30 minutes of your ANZAC day off and look around your home for places that rats and mice could enter.

It is almost impossible to make any building 100% proofed against rats and mice but 95% makes having an infestation 20 times less likely. Setting out some rodenticide baits and traps would add to the protection; controlling any rodents that find their way in.

What do you get if you try to cross a rat with a skunk?
Dirty looks from the rat! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Autumn – Time to Stop Rats and Mice

This autumn could see a larger than usual influx of rats and mice into our homes, offices, shops, factories and farms. We haven’t had much of a summer in New Zealand but the wetter than usual weather has been good for the growth of plants and their production of fruit, seeds and nuts. The abundance of food this provides for rats and mice means that rodent numbers are likely to be high in the bush, parks and gardens of the country.
At this time each year pest rodents move into our buildings. When autumn gets colder and the fruits, seeds and nuts diminish the rats and mice seek shelter and alternative food sources. When they find a nice dry insulated sheltered attic with food to be found in the kitchen below they will quickly build a nest, and continue breeding. Timely action now to prevent rats and mice getting inside and to deal with them quickly if they gain entry, will save time and effort later during winter.
I have discussed proofing in a previous blog postingHere is my 3 point plan for proofing your building against rats and mice:
  1. Deny rodents entry – Go outside and examine your buildings for possible entry points. A mouse can squeeze beneath a door if there is a gap large enough to fit a pencil a young rat is only a little larger than a mouse! Draft excluding brush strips, are an ideal method of proofing such gaps. You might also consider placing some rodenticide around the exterior of the house to reduce the numbers that might find their way in.
  2. Deny rodents food – Take 10 minutes to look around your kitchen and check that should a mouse or rat get in that there is no food behind the fridge, or spilled down the side of the cooker. Check that dried good such as cereals are in sealed, preferably metal, containers. Make sure butter and even bars of soap are out of the reach of rodents. Remember, rats and mice are excellent climbers and just putting food high on a shelf may not be out of their reach.
  3. Be ready for rodent entry – No matter how carefully you find and seal possible entry points if you can get into a building through and open door so can a rat or mouse. They may also get in carried in a box of goods and there are almost always other possible entry points around any building. So it is always wise to keep fresh rodenticide bait in place in safe places such as the roof void so that any rodents that get in are dealt with before you know about them.
    1. Put bait in safe places NOW. Don’t wait for signs of their entry. Place the bait where rodents might encounter it but where pets and children cannot. Set traps as well.
    2. Rodenticide baits are more effective than traps but once a rodent has taken some bait it is more likely to get caught in a trap and body can then be removed.
    3. Particularly if dealing with roof rats block baits should be fixed in place so that the rats cannot take it away and store it. Some baits have holes so that they can be nailed in place in voids and fixed by use of a wire. Block baits without holes can be put in a plastic bag and the bag fixed in place.
Carry out this rodent proofing now and you give yourself the best chance of staying free from pest rats and mice this winter.

Three rats are sitting at the bar bragging about their bravery and toughness.

The first says, “I’m so tough, once I ate a whole bagful of rat poison!”

The second says, “Well I’m so tough, once I was caught in a rat trap and I gnawed it apart!”

Then the third rat gets up and says, “Later guys, I’m off home to beat up the cat.”

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Zoonoses from Pest Rodents

    Rodent droppings and urine can carry serious disease
    Zoonoses are diseases caught from animals. Wild rats and mice carry several diseases that can be passed on to humans. The most famous epidemic caused by close association of rats with people is the Black Death which caused the death of millions in 14th century Europe. The disease was the plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis


    Plague still infects and kills people world wide but thankfully not in New Zealand. But there are other serious diseases that can be caught from wild (and pet) rodents in New Zealand.

    Leptospirosis – Wiel’s Disease

    Leptospirosis, also known as Wiel’s disease, is caused by  the bacteria Leptospira. It is carried by rodents, and other wild animals.  Infection is through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from an infected animal.  Cuts or breaks in the skin will also allow in infection.     Infected people experience a range of symptoms from mild or no illness to severe or life-threatening meningitis, liver damage and kidney failure.  Infection can be prevented by avoiding contact with water that might be contaminated with animal urine.


    Salmonellosos is commonly associated with poor hygiene or inadequately cooked food, but can also be acquired from rodents.  Salmonella bacteria may be found in the feces of many animals including wild and pet rodents. Infection can be contracted by people who do not wash their hands after contact with rodent droppings or if food, drink or eating utensils are contaminated with rodent droppings.

    Rat Bite Fever (RBF)

    Rat Bite Fever is caused by Streptobacillus bacteria that is found in the mouth of apparently healthy rats and mice.  People are infected through bites or scratches from rodents or may also become ill after eating contaminated food or drink or through close contact with rodents.  In cases of bites and scratches, the wound often has healed before symptoms begin (2-10 days after the bite).  Antibiotic treatment for this disease is very effective.  Illness in those who do not seek medical attention and treatment can be very serious and result in death; therefore it is important to immediately clean and disinfect wounds and promptly seek medical attention after any rodent bite or scratch.

    How to Prevent Infections from Rats and Mice

    • Wear gloves when carrying out pest control against rodents or working in areas where there are signs rats or mice a have been active. Wash hands after handling anything that rats or mice may have urinated on. Rodents continually dribble urine where ever they travel.
    • In roof voids and other enclosed spaces where rodents have been it is sensible to wear a mask as dust may carry disease organisms.
    • Clean up rodent droppings where ever they are found and disinfect surfaces where rodents could have travelled. 
    • Dispose of any food that have been eaten or may have been contaminated by rodents.
    • If biten or scratched by rodents always clean and disinfect wounds and seek medical attention immediately.

    Two rats are in a bar. One turns to the other and in a drunken slurr says “I slept with your mother thats right your mother” the other just looked at him and said “Dad go home your drunk.”

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Mild Weather Leaves Rats and Mice Out

    In April I predicted that rodents would be a problem of larger than normal proportions this winter, particularly in quake damaged Christchurch. See here.

    Rats Surviving Outside This Winter
    I am happy to say that this prediction has not come to pass yet. Rats and mice have been able to survive outside due to the mild weather that New Zealand has experienced so far this winter. While many rats and mice have invaded homes in search of food and shelter, this has, so far, been in the normal range and not been a plague.

    The unseasonably mild weather has had implications for ski fields and the lack of snow has meant resorts like Queenstown have not been able to start the ski season leaving many ski field employees without work and skiers seeking alternative entertainment.

    For animals in the wild it has meant that more food is available to them and less food is needed to keep warm. The result is a high survival rate but less movement of rodent pests indoors. However, if a cold snap does come along there is still a likelihood that rodents will move indoors to escape the cold. So it is important to be proactive and be prepared.

    What did the lab rat say his mate?
    "I've got my scientist so well trained that every time I ring the bell, she brings me a snack."

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Do Rats and Mice Need Water With Their Bait?

    This week I have received several queries from people asking whether it is necessary to place water out with rodent baits. They have been told, or have read, that poison baits make rats and mice thirsty and that they will gnaw pipes to get at water to drink; so that placing water with the bait means they are less likely to gnaw pipes.

    This is one of those stories that has some truth and sounds plausible but but comes to the wrong conclusions.

    Damage to cables from gnawing rats 
    Almost all rodent baits contain an anti-coagulant toxin* such as the coumatetralyl used in NO Rats & Mice. Anti-coagulants do indeed have a slight tendency to make the rats and mice thirsty, but the rodents are likely to find water in their usual places if they are able.

    Rodents do indeed often gnaw at pipework and cables causing considerable damage. But they do this because their incisor (front) teeth grow continually throughout their life and must be kept worn down and sharp by regular gnawing. This is why rats and mice gnaw things other than their food. Plastics, including plastic pipes and cable covering, seem to be of a consistency that they get ‘pleasure’ from gnawing.

    Placing water alongside baits is unlikely to influence the likelihood of them gnawing pipes. Anti-coagulant poisons take several days to begin to take effect. So the rats and mice are likely to be some other place when they begin to feel ill and thirsty. In most cases they fall ill and die in their nest.

    The delayed action of anti-coagulants is very important for their effectiveness and in making anti-coagulants a safe type of poison for use in homes.

    If a poison makes a rat or mouse feel ill quickly, they will associate the illness with the bait and will avoid eating any more. If they have not yet consumed a lethal dose they can recover and will be ‘bait shy’ meaning baits will no longer be effective. With ant-coagulants the delayed onset of illness means they do not associate the illness with the bait and they have already taken several feeds of bait ensuring they have taken a lethal dose from which there is no recovery.

    The slow onset of illness also has the advantage of giving plenty of time to administer the antidote to any non-target animal, such as a pet,  that accidentally takes bait. Vitamin K is a fast and effective antidote for anti-coagulant poisoning.

    Another interesting fact about mice is that they can obtain all their water from their food and may live their lives without ever needing a drink.

    In conclusion, there is no need to leave water out with rat and mouse bait. But it is important to control rats and mice promptly to reduce the risk of damage to pipes and cables caused by their gnawing habits.

    *Kiwicare Natural NO Rats is a novel rodent bait that does not contain an anti-coagulant poison. It does not contain any poison! Instead it works by physical action. Rodents do not posses the enzymes in their gut necessary to break down the cellulose in the bait. Rodents cannot vomit and so the bait remains in the alimentary canal where it prevents feeding and causes dehydration and death by heart attack. The bait is safe for other animals.

    Who is the king rat in Rome?
    Julius Cheeser.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Easter DIY

    Easter is traditionally a time when DIY enthusiasts get down to preparing the home and garden for the coming winter months. The hardware stores and garden centres will be doing a good trade this long weekend.

    It is noticeable that sales of Kiwicare products for the control of insects of all sorts have surged in the last month; this is one or two months later than traditionally.

    Our retailers such Mitre10, Bunning’s, Placemakers and Hammer have stocked up early for rodent control products. It has been noticeable that rodenticides have sold well throughout the spring and summer and this suggests to me that it has been a ‘bumper’ year for breeding of rodents. The result is likely to be a big influx of rats and mice to homes, offices, factories and farms when some real cool weather arrives. It is advisable to be pro-active and carry out a simple preventative plan now. I recently wrote a guide for the Yellow Pages on how to keep rats and mice out. You can check it out here.

    In the garden and outside the house it is a good time to tidy up and prepare the lawn for winter and to improve your home’s resistance to damp and cold. There have been a few nearly frosty mornings here in Canterbury and terracotta, concrete or stone pots on your deck should be protected from frost. Again I have written Yellow How To guides on these subjects, see here.

    Have a wonderful Easter break whatever you are doing.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Rat and Mouse Numbers Explode

    It is normal for the numbers of both rats and mice to increase over summer months to a peak in the autumn. But judging by the continued high sales of Kiwicare rodenticides there are more rats and mice about in homes and workplaces than usual at this time of year. It is not clear what the reasons for this greater than usual explosion of number is, but it is reasonable to assume that the weather conditions over this summer have been suitable for both the breeding of rodents and the food which they eat.

    What will this mean for the annual autumn invasion of rodents?
    I think it is likely to mean more rats and mice than usual invading our homes looking for food and shelter this autumn and winter.

    How to Stop Rats and Mice
    1. If you have seen rats or mice, or evidence of them around your property, the most efficient and effective way to get rid of them is to use rodenticide baits sometimes in conjunction with simple traps and proofing.
    2. NO Rats & Mice rodenticide bait is placed at strategic, safe points, inside and outside the buildings, in order to reduce populations around the building and to deal with individuals that enter, before an infestation can take hold. The NO Rats & Mice Weatherproof Blocks is a rat bait well suited to using outside or in damp areas while NO Rats & Mice with Tracking Powder is ideal for use in dry areas inside the house. If you do not wish to use toxic rodenticide bait, Kiwicare Natural NO Rats is a bait that is harmful only to rodents. However it should only be used in dry areas where other food sources can be controlled.
    3. NO Rats and Mice Traps are useful to use where poison baits cannot be placed or as a helpful way of catching rodents that are ‘dopey’ from taking bait. The rodents can then be removed without risk of causing an unpleasant smell.
    4. Prevent the rats or mice getting in. A mouse can squeeze beneath a door if there is a gap large enough to fit a pencil a young rat is only a little larger than a mouse! Draft excluding brush strips, are an ideal method of proofing such gaps. However, there are almost always other possible entry points around any building. So it is always wise to keep fresh rodenticide bait in place in safe places such as the roof void so that any rodents that get in are dealt with before you know about them.
    5. This is an important and often overlooked aspect of controlling pests. For example, rodents are what we would call agoraphobic, they fear open spaces, and like to be under cover. A wide clear area around a building will deter rodents from reaching and entering the building. And the removal of available food and shelter from within a building can have a powerful deterrent effect.
    Stay rodent free this winter.

    What is the difference between rats and mice?
    The difference is in their size or the size of their incisors.