How can I reduce rodent activity in my house and garden?

 
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Roller skate boot damaged by mice

I imagine, in the present situation, like us, you’ve been spending a great deal more time in your garden. 

Rodents are amazing creatures and when living away from humans offer little risk to our health.  why control them?

  • Reduce Disease risk – Mice mark their territory by leaving a trail of urine wherever they go. Being fantastic climbers, this will mean they walk over food preparation surfaces. Unfortunately, this also means potentially spreading diseases such as Dysentery, summer Diarrhoea, E. coli and Leptospirosis (Rats also spread these).
  • Reduce Damage – Rodent’s incisor teeth continually grow and are incredibly strong.  They gnaw to ensure their teeth do not grow too large because if they do they will be unable to feed.  They don’t care what they gnaw and fires can be started by electric cables being damaged
  • Reduce Contamination risk  – As well as leaving urine over surfaces mice will produce up to 80 droppings per day………a rat produces 40 but they are much larger, not something you would want in your kitchen or home.  They also shed hairs as they walk or groom.

FEEDING THE BIRDS

Most people like to see wild birds within their garden and it is very fulfilling to provide birds with food during the winter months when natural sources of food can be scarce.  Be aware that how you feed the birds can, according to the RSPB, increase the possibility of unwelcome garden visitors appearing.  Only feed birds peanuts and high fat foods during the Winter as it can be dangerous to chicks.  Only feed birds from hanging stations or bird tables – NEVER THROW FOOD ON THE GROUND and in the interest of hygiene, ensure you remove uneaten food nightly from tables (or beneath tables).

Whilst we don’t want to reduce your enjoyment of wild birds, we are often called upon to visit customer’s homes where rats have become established due to the availability of bird food.

COMPOST HEAPS

There tend to be 2 types:

  1. Traditional style – wooden sided sitting directly on the floor with a piece of carpet covering the rotting food/garden waste. These are not suitable for all areas as they are easily infested by rats that will often set up home within the warm contents, coming only to the surface for food and water.
Traditional compost heap
  1. New Plastic Barrel style – These are an alternative to making a compost heap yourself and are very good at producing compost.  Should you have one of these please make sure that you attach 6mm diameter wire mesh all the way round the base to prevent access to rats.

USE ONLY GARDEN AND UNCOOKED VEGETABLE WASTE

REMOVE POTENTIAL HARBOURAGE / RODENT HOMES

Now is an ideal time to get on with those jobs that you’ve been putting off over winter, such as:

Clearing the shed or green house.  It’s amazing where rodents will take up residence.  Only yesterday I found a mouse nesting in some old roller skate boots that I’d put in a bag for life in the shed instead of keeping in the house!

It’s common to see mice and rats making good use of fabrics left in sheds. If you want to keep these fabrics in good condition, store them in a tightly sealed plastic box in your loft where they’ll be a lot safer.

Children’s toys damaged by rodents

Now is a good time to tidy up the garden, try to prevent storing items against the side of the property.  It provides somewhere for rodents to hide and means that any holes or damage behind the items cannot be seen.

Whilst plants climbing up the side of a building can look amazing you need to decide whether you want it stretching to the guttering as rats and mice can easily climb and find their way beneath roof tiles, entering your loft.

Time for a tidy up!

MAKE REPAIRS TO YOUR HOUSE OR STORAGE SHEDS

Rodents have extremely strong chisel-shaped teeth that are continually growing and they need to gnaw to keep their teeth from getting too long.  They are also extremely determined and will take advantage of wood that has maybe rotted a little to gain access to a shed or your house.  Mice will also squeeze through gaps as larger than 6mm, so it’s important to make regular checks of your property and use rodent resistant materials such as:

  • Concrete
  • Sand/cement
  • Metal plate
  • Bristle strips
  • 6mm wire mesh
  • Mouse proof air brick covers
Rat hole
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