Date: April 1989 (Revised April 1995)
Source: NDSU Extension Service Horticulturists
The house mouse and Norway rat are two of the most destructive pests in the United States. Both rodents can be a problem in the home, but the rat is the more serious problem in warehouses, urban areas and agricultural buildings. They both eat a wide range of foods and do considerable gnawing to wear down their continuously growing incisors. The reproductive potential of a single pair of rats or mice is staggering, thus, you should control an infestation quickly.
To control a rodent infestation, your primary goal is to reduce the population You can do this by trapping, or through the use of rodenticides (poisons). Trapping with the right size common wooden base snap traps for rats or mice can be very effective, but requires some effort and skill
Some helpful tips are: (1) use plenty of traps, 1 every 10 feet or so is enough; (2) use a bait the rodents are already eating, if at all possible. Otherwise, rolled oats in peanut butter makes a good bait; (3) put the baited traps out but do not set them for a few days to let the rodents get used to them; and (4) place the traps near a wall or obstacle with the trigger next to the wall.
Rodenticides fall into two categories, multiple-dose anticoagulants and single-dose poisons. The anticoagulants are much less dangerous to humans and are available in ready-to-use bait formulations. The rodents need to eat them for several days to get a lethal dose. Several new anticoagulants do not require multiple feedings. The single-dose rodenticides are more dangerous and are generally unavailable to the public without training and certification. Any infestation severe enough to justify use of single-dose rodenticide is best handled by a professional pest control operator.
Some tips on the safe use of rodenticides include keeping them away from children and pets, keeping the bait fresh, and using covered or protected bait stations in places rodents frequent. After you reduce the population, clean up and sanitize the infested area. Remove all potential food. As a last step, rodent-proof the home or building by sealing all access points such as cracks, utility openings or broken windows. Clean up and rodent-proofing are done last to avoid disturbing the rodent's environment, which can make them very wary and more difficult to remove.
If you have further questions, please contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.
Back to Wildlife Pests Menu
Go to Ask Extension Index Page
For More Information Contact your North Dakota County Extension Office of the NDSU Extension Service for additional information or see our main NDSU Web Page for publications and articles on Agriculture, Horticulture, Youth and Family, Business and Community and Food and Nutrition at http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/