How Integrated Pest Management Can Prevent Rat and Mice Infestations
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a technique that uses exclusion, sanitation, and baiting to control pests and it has become clear that IPM is currently the most effective, healthiest, and cheapest method to controlling pests.
While IPM can be applied to guard against nearly all kinds of pests, mice and rats become the largest concern for property owners during the fall and winter months. As the cold weather sets in, rodents seek out shelter to bunk up in to stay warm and find food. Homes, and even better apartment complexes, provide the heat and the food needed for mice and rats to continue living and breeding.
So how can Integrated Pest Management help out property owners looking to prevent a rodent infestation? Here is the breakdown of some effective procedures we use to prevent and eliminate mice and rats.
IPM for Mice:
First thing first, you need to block any easy entry points. Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime and climb up nearly any surface. Look for cracks and holes in the foundation and be sure to plug up any gaps in window sills and doorways.
Mice instinctively avoid open spaces and prefer to hide in the shadows. Be sure place bait and/or traps in key areas that would make great entry points or hidden homes.
If you begin finding droppings, set bait or traps in the area. You will want to leave them for a day or two, and then move the traps to a different location.
If you find more dropping after, than replace the bait
IPM for Rats:
The first move you want to make is to remove any free-standing water on the grounds. Unlike mice who receive their water through the food they eat, rats need to drink their water. Donâ€™t make your building an inviting home by providing rats with a convenient watering hole.
You can fill in cracks best you can, but rats can gnaw through just about anything; brick, wood, asbestos, concrete, cinder blocks, and aluminum to name a few. So if they have the will they will find a way. They can even swim up to a half-mile and tread water for three days, allowing them to enter buildings through sewer pipes. Your best options are to use steel mesh to fill up crack and holes, and to store your food in glass or steel cases when possible. As a property manager, itâ€™s hard to enforce the latter on your residents.
The best guard will be to map out the most probable entry points and hiding places, and to bait that area. It is always best to pre-bait using nonpoisonous grains at first, then gradually introducing lethal, slow-acting poisons. Poisons must be both painless and slow acting, because rats will observe their companions to see whether they have adverse reactions. Rats are very intelligent and will use the smallest and weakest rats as tasters.
Once youâ€™ve found a bait location that is working successfully, keep baiting in that location exclusively. Since rats are hierarchical, the top rat in the hierarchy is first in line for food (as long as it has passed the testing mentioned in the previous point). When the leader dies off, another takes his place. This process will repeat until all the rats have been eliminated.
Many of these steps are easier said than done. The know-how and understanding needed to locate exposed openings into your building and other problem points requires a professional. Our Exterminators have the experience in identifying areas that mice and rats will hide and can better evaluate the appropriate measures that need to be taken.