Pest Issues

Proven Ways to Get Rid of Rats & Mice

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Getting rid of rats or mice is easier said than done. The little buggers won’t just march outside when you’re trying to remove them from your property and, sadly, the extermination process is not as simple as people hope it to be.

No need to panic, though, as we are here to help you understand how to successfully get rid of the rodents living under your roof and secure your property through proven methods.

Table of Contents:

Recognise the signs of a rodent infestation

Before you can solve a problem, you need to identify it first. Sometimes, it can be hard to recognise what type of rodent made itself a permanent guest in your house, as the differences between rats and mice are not that many. However, the rat is bigger in size, which will result in larger droppings and holes around the property.

Here’s how you can identify the type, signs and severity of your infestation:

  • Rodent droppings – As we’ve already mentioned, you can use the droppings to determine the type of infestation. Rats have larger and rounder droppings in comparison to the pointier mouse excrements. The quantity also gives out the severity of the infestation. Finding large quantities of rodent faeces is an indication that you have a big problem.
  • Urine smell – The inescapable, pungent smell of urine (ammonia in particular) is a dead giveaway that there are rats or mice around. You can’t mistake it for anything else.
  • Damage to wood and other materials – Rodents like to move around undisturbed and they find their own paths, either through climbing or by sneaking through walls or under floors. Since rats are larger in size, the entry points they create are bigger.
  • Gnaw marks – All rodents have four incisor teeth that never stop growing throughout their entire lives. This makes the little critters always look for something to gnaw on. Unfortunately, this often includes your furniture or home interior fixtures and fittings.
  • Rat/mice nests – If you find something that looks like a nest, it probably is. Rodents can use fabric or paper to make their nests as comfortable as possible for their babies.
  • Noises – Both rats and mice are active during the night. If you hear weird sounds in the small hours, don’t be alarmed – your house is not haunted. These are probably just rodents running around, looking for food… Not that this makes things a lot better, but at least we can help you get rid of them.
  • Rat mites – If one day you notice itchy bumps similar to bed bug bites, you might have rat mites. They are a sure way to know there’s a rat nearby. Learn more about rat mites.

How to get rid of mice & rats

When it comes to rats or mice, most people only treat the symptoms but not the cause. For a rodent-free home, you need to hit them on all sides. Alternatively, you can check out our professional rodent eradication service if some methods sound too risky or you just feel that the infestation is already too severe.


When we talk about rodent control, traps are the first pest removal method that comes to mind. There’s a reason for that – it’s tried, tested, and it works. However, there are a few things you need to know, in order to get it done right.

  • Catch and release traps– If you want to catch and get rid of a rat or mouse humanely, then a live trap is what you need. It’s a good idea to pre-bait it with peanut butter, dried fruit, oatmeal or even chocolate. This means leaving the traps loaded with bait but not ready to spring. In a few days, the animal will try the bait and see that the traps are safe. Considering that rats fear new things, they won’t try to eat the bait from the traps immediately. Once you notice the bait has started to disappear, it’s time to set the traps properly. The rodent will approach the bait as usual, but this time it will get trapped for good.
  • Snap traps – A quick snap and it’s over. These types of traps are a lot more effective, but you should also be extra careful when setting them. Snap traps are powerful enough to break your fingers, so make sure they are set in places that are out of reach for children or pets. Also, keep in mind that traps can be effective for smaller infestations.
  • Glue traps – Glue traps used to be a lot more popular. They can bring results, but in all honesty – they are akin to animal cruelty, which is why many people abstain from using them. Essentially, the moment a rodent steps on the trap, it gets stuck and dies of thirst. It’s a very slow and painful process. Also, note that a glue trap may not be able to hold a bigger rat.

Poison Baits

Poison is the most effective rodent killer but not all poisons are created equal. Anticoagulants are a type of rodenticide that causes internal bleeding by preventing the blood from clotting. The poison acts quickly, but it can also put smaller pets at risk, too.

Powdered corn cob, on the other hand, is non-toxic and acts by causing severe dehydration. This usually makes the rodents leave the property in search of water and they often die outside.

In any case, most poisons are powerful enough that once ingested, they definitely finish the job. However, they can be also dangerous not just for rats and mice, but also for humans. Therefore, they are best handled by a professional pest control expert, otherwise, there is a risk of making things worse instead of better.

Endangering local wildlife is also a real threat, since rodents may escape and get eaten by predators. Remember that poisoning rodents needs to be done with caution and all necessary measures need to be taken, from monitoring the poison baits to safely removing the dead rodent.

Get pets to keep mice and rats away

Terriers are terrifying for mice and rats. These dogs were literally bred for hunting rodents (among other things), so they have keen instincts. It’s not a guarantee that having a terrier will keep the small animal away, but it will definitely help. They are also much more effective than cats.

That doesn’t mean cats are useless, though. As a natural predator to rodents, the mere smell of a feline is enough to scare them away from your home. That being said, there is strength in numbers, so don’t expect your pets to solve a huge infestation problem.

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How to keep the rodents away from your home

Knowing how to keep the rodents as far away from your property as possible is important, as they can cause a lot of damage to your house. The nuisance vermin are not to be underestimated because they also spread many different diseases, cause structural damage to power cables and pipes alike, and unfurl contamination all around. You can prevent this from happening in the first place by using the advice from our rodent-proofing tips below.

Keep your home clean and neat

Keeping your home neat and clean definitely makes the place less attractive for rodents. So, this is a good way to start.

Clean the crawl space

Both rats and mice love crawl spaces. They provide cover for them, and when they are not cleaned for a while, crawl spaces can be perfect shelters. Because of that, crawl spaces should be cleaned and kept neat and free of clutter. That way you can easily monitor these places and thus, potentially prevent a future infestation.

Clean the garage, the attic, the basement, and try to avoid clutter build-up

Because clutter allows rodents to hide, they usually take it as an invitation to come in. This is why it’s crucial to prevent clutter in the areas where it’s most likely to occur – the basement, garage, and attic. We’re sorry, but “out of sight, out of mind” won’t cut it this time.

Store food properly

If rodents consider clutter an open invite, they take food scraps for a royal welcome. It’s like you’ve organised a feast and they’re the guests of honour. Ensure all food leftovers are properly sealed (even the one you plan to dispose of). Odours are what attracts rodents the most. Close the buffet!

Inspect your home for viable entry points and seal them

Examine the inside and outside of your home for any possible entry holes. Rats are bigger than mice, but they can also easily squeeze into relatively small holes.

In order to seal the entry points, you can use either a rodent-proof mesh or expanding foam. They both work great and depending on your problem, different materials will do the job. Holes smaller than half a centimetre can be sealed with expanding foam, and it will hold up well.

For anything larger, you will have to use a rodent-proof mesh made out of metal. Meshes work best for larger rodents like rats, while still doing a perfect job protecting from mice.

Have a look around your house for branches near the roof

Rats, specifically the black rat, often climb on trees, use stray branches to access the roof, and get in through there. If you remove those branches, you also remove a sure access point for rodents.

Garden waste should also be removed as soon as possible. All of this will help you avoid other types of infestations, not just rodent problems.

Put your rubbish bins away from the house

Place your rubbish bins as far away from the house as you can. Rodents love the smell of rubbish because our waste is actually their food. Thus, the further away you place the bin, the better.

Use gloss paint for the lower parts of the pipes and house

A great way to rodent-proof your home is to use gloss paint for the lower parts of the house and the pipes. This makes it more difficult for rats to climb.

Try to deter mice and rats naturally

There’s a number of natural rodent deterrents you can use to aid your endeavour. It’s important to note that these won’t work on their own. They have to be used as methods to enhance the rodent-proofing process, not as a replacement.

Peppermint oil, for starters, has a fantastic odour and also moonlights as a rat/mice repellent. Because of its strong and sharp scent, it irritates rodents and masks other smells coming out of your home and thus, keeps some pests at bay. They’re not likely to pester you if they don’t think there’s food around.

Some companies produce organic rodent deterrents. They extract the ingredients and mix them in ecologically friendly compounds. As such, their effectiveness has often been debated, but as we’ve said, none of these methods should be used on their own, anyway.

Ultrasonic repellent devices emit a sound at a frequency high enough to be basically undetectable by humans, but rather annoying for rodents because they can actually hear it. The problem with this is that if you have a pet (cat, dog, hamster), they will also hear it.

Also, this sort of rodent repellent is pretty limited in effectiveness and scope. So, this isn’t exactly a universal solution, but it is still something to consider.

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  • Correctly identifying the type and severity of the rodent infestation in your home is crucial for proceeding with the right pest control methods.
  • Choose your rodent removal methods wisely. Whether you choose traps or poison, every step of the process needs to be monitored closely.
  • Poison can be dangerous for both animals and humans, so be extra careful if you decide to handle it yourself.
  • In case of a large mice or rat infestation, the methods above may not be able to help. In this case, professional pest control can be the best solution.

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