A lot of households have had the unpleasant experience of rodents living and breeding in their roofs, kitchen cupboards and gardens. They’re unhygienic, carry disease and are an unwelcome presence in every home. In this post I will describe the enemy, its habitat, biology and give handy hints on ways to eliminate them from your home and ensure they don’t return.
The most commonly found rodent pests in Australia are the house mice (weighing approx. 20g); roof rats (260g); and Norway or sewer rats (450g). They are mammals, which means they are warm-bodied, covered in fur, give birth to live young and lactate. Their teeth grow constantly, so in order to keep them sharp and at a manageable length they must continually gnaw on things like wood. Rodents are responsible for spreading over 35 diseases worldwide, which can be transmitted to humans both directly and indirectly through insects and food contamination.
Rodents live in nests they build in warm, sheltered locations such as wall cavities, cupboards, ceilings and under floors. Their nests are constructed with materials they collect, such scraps of fabric, paper, hair and feathers. Rodents typically build their nests within meters of food sources, and only leave their nest in search of food. They are nocturnal so most of their activity is at night.
Mice generally have 5 to 10 litters of 10-12 young a year, reach full maturity in 7 weeks and can live for up to approximately 12 months. Rats on the other hand can have up to 14 litters of 10 young a year, reach maturity in 5 weeks and can live for up to 3 years.
Rodents can jump 30cm vertically, squeeze through 6mm openings and are highly adept climbers. They have poor eyesight but compensate for this with a keen sense of hearing, highly developed taste and touch senses.
What You Can Do To Limit Infestation
Because rodents tend to live close to food sources, knowing where they are likely to go to eat is key to controlling them in your home.
- Clean up food spills and sweep kitchen floors daily.
- Clear fallen fruit and nuts from your yard.
- Remove pet dishes and leftovers after they have finished eating.
- Remove animal waste as soon as possible.
- Secure bathroom and kitchen vents.
- Clean up yard waste that could act as a shelter.
- Store firewood well off the ground.
- Repair leaks and holes in the sewer system.
- Trim dead fronds from palm trees.
- Promptly remove dead or trapped rodents
- Place bird food in feeders.
- Flooring in aviaries should be concrete and cleaned regularly.
- Avoid touching rodent pests.
If you continue to have problems with rodents in your home after trying these suggestions, there are a number of professional solutions that can help. Call your local pest control expert and they will be able to provide you with more information.
Pest control expert with over 10 years experience in the industry.