Do you have scampering and scratching sounds in the walls of your home at night? Are there signs of gnawing or chewing, or damaged food packages in and around your home? This can mean you have an infestation of mice or rats. Other signs include droppings and urine, burrows or holes in and around foundation walls, or tracks on dusty surfaces. Rats and mice are prolific breeders. If you see any signs of rodents, address the problem before there is a severe infestation.
Identifying Rats & Mice
Do you have rats or mice? Knowing what you have will help you come up with a plan. The house mouse has a small, slender body with pointed ears and a long tail. The field vole, common near weeds, is small and stocky with rounded ears and a short tail. The deer mouse, which lives in forested areas, is recognized by its white underbelly. There are two types of rats commonly found in BC: The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the roof rat (Rattus rattus). The Norway rat has a larger body than the roof rat, but conversely the roof rat’s tail is longer than the Norway rat’s tail (relative to the body size).
For more information on identifying and managing rodents:
- Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/pest-control-tips/rats-mice.html
- Government of BC – https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/pesticides-pest-management/managing-pests/animals/rodents
According to WildSafeBC, managing attractants and limiting denning areas are key to keeping rats in check.
Here are few tips from WildSafe BC:
- Remove any sources of food and water. Pick and remove fallen fruit from your property.
- Keep all garbage securely stored until the day of collection. Garbage should be stored in a secure container which should be cleaned on a regular basis.
- Feed pets indoors, or if fed outdoors, bring in any food that is not immediately eaten by your pets. Rats will quickly target any type of pet food left out.
- Manage your compost properly and turn regularly. Ideally you will use a rat-proof composter, but lacking that, turn your compost on a regular basis.
- Take birdfeeders down at night and feed only during winter months. Clean up ALL spilled seed under the bird feeder and take the feeder in at night.
- Engage with your neighbours. If you have rats on your property there is a good chance your neighbour does as well. Rat issues need to be addressed on a block-wide basis.
- For more information, visit WildSafeBC or refer to the brochure.
Rodent Control Options
According to Health Canada, when using control methods, ensure that native species are not harmed. If in doubt, use a live trap to catch the animal so you can identify it.
If you have a serious rodent problem, it may be time to seek help from a professional pest control operator. They will know the behavioural differences between different rodents which will help effectively manage the pest.
Once the infestation is under control, repair or seal any access points to prevent new infestations from starting.
For more information:
- Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/pest-control-tips.html
- Healthlink BC – getting rid of rodents
- Pest Management: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/pesticides-pest-management/managing-pests/animals/rodents
According to the provincial government website, poison baits should only be used as a last resort. They risk poisoning children, pets and wild animals either directly or indirectly (e.g. when a pet or wild animal catches a dying rodent after it has eaten the bait). They also can cause a rodent to die and decompose in an inaccessible place which leads to a terrible smell and insect infestations.
Check the following website for more details:
Pesticides & Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management
Pesticide Certification & Training
Pesticide Regulations & Consultations
The internet is a wealth of information. As with any internet research, make sure you are referencing a reliable source. There is also a local rat patrol group on Facebook if you want to know what is currently happening in our area.