While not all species of mice and rats are pests within structures, every region of the world is home to multiple species that are persistent home invaders. This is why every homeowner should take measures to prevent rodent pests from invading their home. Mice are able to squeeze through entry points as small as a nickel on the exterior walls of homes, while rats can fit through holes as small as 1 ¼ inch in diameter, which is around the size of a half-dollar.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend filling these entry points with steel wool and surrounding it with caulk to hold the wool tightly in place. Large holes can be patched with lath screen, lath metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting available at any corner hardware store. If rodents have already established an indoor presence, fancy rodent control products like ultrasonic repellent devices will not prompt the pests to vacate an infested home; instead, indoor mice and rats can be effectively exterminated with relatively cheap snap-traps. However, it is important to read the label on these traps, as rats cannot be exterminated with traps designed for mice.

Peanut butter should be used as bait, and in high-traffic indoor areas, like the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, traps should be placed on the floor and form a “T” against the edge of the wall. This is important, as mice and rats travel along the sides of walls in order to avoid being exposed in rooms that are usually inhabited by humans. In areas that see relatively little human traffic, such as basements, storage rooms, attics, and garages, traps should be set in whichever area has seen past rodent activity. Glue traps and live traps are not recommended, as mice that become trapped on these products remain alive and become scared, causing them to urinate in fright. The odor of rodent urine can persist in a home, and officials with the CDC state the rodent urine contains bacteria that can cause human disease.

Have you ever resorted to a snap-trap for indoor mouse and/or rat control?