Reduce rodent numbers indoors and outdoors

Reducing rodent numbers indoors

To prevent rodents from nesting in your house:

  • Wash your dishes and cooking items immediately after you use them, and clean up any food that spills on the floor. Also, don't leave food out on the countertops.
  • If you have a pet, keep its food and water covered. Store your pet's food in rodent-proof metal or thick plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • If you suspect a rodent infestation, use spring-loaded rodent traps in your home as much as possible. Put the traps near baseboards and against the wall where rodents tend to run.
  • In addition to traps, use an EPA-approved poison rodent bait (rodenticide) under a plywood or plastic shelter along your baseboards. Be careful when you get rid of dead rodents in the traps, because there may be droppings in and around the traps.

To prevent rodents from getting inside your house:

  • Use steel wool or cement to cover all openings in your house that are larger than 0.25 in. (0.6 cm).
  • Place metal flashing around the base of a wooden, earthen, or adobe house. This will help form a barrier that rodents cannot penetrate. Place the flashing at least 12 in. (30.5 cm) high and buried at least 6 in. (15.2 cm) deep.
  • Place 3 in. (7.6 cm) of gravel under the base of your house or mobile home so rodents cannot burrow under your house.

Reducing rodent numbers outdoors

There are many ways to reduce or eliminate rodents around your house by eliminating places rodents like to nest. Try the following:

  • Dispose of trash and other junk. Put your garbage in rodent-proof or thick plastic containers that have tight-fitting lids.
  • Store hay, woodpiles, and garbage cans on elevated platforms, and store them at least 100 ft (30.5 m) away from your house, if possible.
  • Remove grass, brush, and dense shrubbery around your house.
  • Clean up seed from the ground below bird feeders, and store bird seed in rodent-proof containers.

Disposing of dead rodents

  • Wear gloves when you handle dead rodents. If you are in an enclosed place, you may also want to wear goggles and a respirator with a filter to avoid breathing contaminated dust.
  • Before throwing dead rodents in the garbage, place them in a sealed plastic bag.
  • If you use a spring-loaded snap traps, clean the empty trap in a dilute bleach solution before using it again. A dilute bleach solution can be prepared by mixing 1 cup (237 mL) of laundry bleach in 1 gal (4 L) of water.

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