What to do About Rats and Mice

Rat damage to house wiring

In a long term emergency depending on where you live, rats and mice may quickly become a problem. Rats and mice reproduce quickly so you can’t ignore this problem. I suspect you will have more problems in the city or urban areas than in the country. Rats and mice spread disease, destroy food and cause other types of damage. Rats can chew through plastic buckets and even some metal containers.

Now, if you have a rat problem there are two ways to look at them, are they just a pest or a source of food?  If they are a potential source of food, you have to be careful about poisoning them. I avoid using poisons because you can’t control what animals might eat the poison; you don’t know the effect on the food chain; you can’t control where the rodents will die. We have had to take my sons dog to the vet because he ate a poisoned rat. If you choose to stock poisons, be aware that the EPA is attempting to ban the most effective poisons from the marketplace. Talk to your local feed stores to get the best recommendations on the types of poisons that can be used in your area and stock up now.

If you consider the rats and mice a potential source of future food, you need to trap them. Plus, even if you use poisons, you will probably run out. I store a lot of old fashioned snap traps because they are effective, hygienic, and reusable. You can get them in sizes for both rats and mice.

The Victor Tin Cat box trap

The Victor Tin Cat Mouse Trap, is an effective method of catching live mice similar to this one. It will hold up to 30 mice at a time and is reusable. It is a box designed to use in large commercial food processors and sells for under $20. Since the mice are still alive, you could consider it a meal in a box. There are some large electronic box traps; I do not recommend them, because they require batteries.

The sticky traps are very effective, but are not reusable, so you have to stock quite a few of them. The best thing I know of for rats is the old-fashioned snap traps, using something sticky for bait. That way they have to work to get it loose and will spring the trap.

A friend of mine who is an exterminator says that Bounce dryer sheets emit a smell that rats and other rodents find very unpleasant. He has kept mice out of his house by placing the sheets across their entry points. One dry cleaning company tells brides to place a few dryer sheets among the folds of their wedding dresses for storage.

Be sure and check your home or storage area for entry points. One likely spots is around plumbing pipes.  If there are small space around where the pipes come through the wall, stuff steel wool in them, this will kept rodents out.

Prevention is always the best solution; keep your area clean and neat. Bury or burn your garbage and avoid leaving out food that will attract rodents.

Howard

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9 Responses to What to do About Rats and Mice

  1. Mary says:

    That is gross, I would rather starve than eat a rat

  2. PAUL says:

    for entry points, may i suggest, copper wool, because any moisture will cause streel wool to rust and fall apart.; and rats WILL PULL STEEL WOOL APART & DEFEAT YOUR BARRIER. , RATS & MICE DO NOT LIKE COPPER WOOL OR COPPER IN ANY CONFIGURATION; THEY DO NOT LIKE TO WALK ON IT , OR CHEW IT. COPPER GENERATES A MINISCULE ELECTRICAL CHARGE , WHICH THE RATS & MICE FIND UNPLEASANT & UNCOMFORTABLE, THEREFORE THEY AVOID IT .

  3. PAUL says:

    P.S . , COPPER WOOL IS AVAILABLE AS ” SCOURING PADS” IN MOST STORES.

  4. mike says:

    don’t forget about pocket gophers as a food source.

    you’ll need to stock up on gopher traps as well.

    and for having snakes, do not ignore insects. yer gonna need ’em if you have plans of surviving into the next configuration.

    ~mike~

  5. Art says:

    A good source of the metal mouse trap pictured above is zorotools.com they cost about $8 and shipping is free with an order of $50. No affiliation with them just shop there like a lot of other folks. Do a google search for coupon codes for zorotools before you place an order, they always have coupon codes for discounts on an order. They have excellent customer service and fast shipping.

  6. ke4sky says:

    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=vpc14

    RODENTS AS A FOOD SOURCE
    LYNWOOD A, FIEDLER, USDA/APHIS/S&T,
    Denver Wildlife Research Center, P.O. Box 25266, Denver, Colorado 80225-0266.

    ABSTRACT: Rodents, one of several kinds of vertebrates included in the human diet, are very suitable as human food. More than 71 genera and 89 species of rodents, mostly hystricomorphs, have been consumed by man. Some have even been
    domesticated for private or commercial production of food for human consumption. Rodents in the temperate world serve only as a supplement to the regular diet of humans; but in the tropical world, they are widely accepted and a popular source
    of protein. Although harvesting field rats for human food is beneficial, it is not an effective pest control strategy. Consuming rodents in pesticide-treated areas and handling rodents with potential zoonoses are two possible risks.

    Proc. 14th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (L.R. Davis and R.E. Marsh, Eds.)
    Published at Univ. of Calif., Davis. 1990.

    Some interesting extracts from the article:

    At the University of Arizona, pack rats (Neotoma sp.) are consumed by a social club (Secret Order of the Neotoma Eater) that insists these rodents are a delicacy (Anon. 1987).

    History of Rodent Eating

    Peruvians have been consuming guinea pigs for centuries. The guinea pig, domesticated since at least 2500 B.C. (Lanning 1967), was the first rodent raised for food. By the 15th century A.D. (during the Incaic Empire), it was the
    principal meat consumed. Capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris)may have been domesticated in Brazil as early as A.D. 1565 (Gonzalez-Jimenez 1984).

    Early Chinese ate “household deer” [common rat (probably Rattus norvegicus or R. flavipectus) and bamboo rat (Rhizomys spp.)] and during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-
    907) ate newborn rats stuffed with honey, conveniently snatching them with chopsticks (Hendrickson 1983).

    Romans popularized the edible dormouse [Myoxus (=Glis) glis] by the 2nd century. It was caught from the wild in autumn when it was fattest and either roasted and dipped into honey or baked while stuffed with a mixture of pork, pine nuts, and other flavorings. Romans also raised dormice in special pots called “gliraria” and in large outdoor enclosures where they were fed walnuts, chestnuts, and acorns for fattening (Brothwell and Brothwell 1969). Southeastern Europeans still enjoy dormice.

    The Maoris of New Zealand used snares and pit traps in family hunting territories to trap the kiore or Polynesian rat 149(R. exulans, Best 1942). In the 16th century, they introduced this rat to Polynesia as a food item by carrying it in their ships.

    Elsewhere the Irula, a tribal group in India, has traditionally included rats in its diet and today is hired by Indian farmers to capture rodent pests.

    More recently a United States Army Quartermaster Corps survey identified 42 different societies in which people eat rats (Harris 1985). Traditionally we think of “rat eaters”
    (rodentiophagists?) as belonging to primitive societies–small groups living in remote areas with large, undisturbed land areas available for hunting and trapping small mammals. However, squirrel hunters today could be considered just as
    traditional. The squirrel, a rodent in the Sciuromorpha suborder, is one of the most important game animals in the United States. About 40 million gray squirrels, popularly referred to as “tree rats” in the US southern states, (Sciurus carolinensis) and a lesser number of fox squirrels (S. niger) are harvested annually (Flyger and Gates 1982).

  7. Steven says:

    The best way I have found to repel rats and mice is with peppermint oil. The smell triggers their flight instinct. A bonus is it smells good and its non toxic

  8. Loretta says:

    If you want to keep mice away from your food stuffs you can use peppermint oil and cotton balls. I would put peppermint oil ( not the most expensive ) on cottonballs and place in your pantry or where ever you keep your food stash. The mice hate it and will leave your food alone. I did this when I worked for school food service ( 18 years)…..never had a problem. The managers all wanted to know what I was doing. They couldn’t believe I didn’t need a harsh deadly chemical. You must refresh the cotton balls every so often.

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