Advice on rat/mice control


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Old 09-26-22, 11:11 AM
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Advice on rat/mice control

I have had rat and mice issues in the past. Several years ago, there were some rats in the attic that I heard on occasion. I have a basement but also a small area with crawl space where there is no basement and the insulation was a mess and I had it cleaned out about 4 years ago and did find a large hole where rats were getting in. That may have taken care of the rats in the attic as well because I have not heard any since. Anyways, I have seen a few mouse droppings in the basement over the years and occasionally catch one in a trap. I know there are rats outside because there are woods nearby and I have seen a couple run through the yard before.

Anyways, I just want to come up with a routine of placing bait around the outside or whatever to stay on top of this because there are obviously rodents outside at least. Can someone just point me in the direction of what bait/boxes to buy, where they should be placed, how many, etc.? Is that pretty much what a pest control company would do is come by and place bait boxes and reload them every once in a while?
 
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Old 09-26-22, 12:57 PM
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Do not place poisons outside where other animals like cats, dogs and squirrels can have access. Place the poison inside so only animals that have gotten into your home are affected.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 01:22 PM
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I understand that, but don't I want to keep down the population outside to keep them from trying to find a way into my home? I am talking about those big bait boxes that you see outside everywhere that larger animals like you mentioned can't get inside. I don't like the idea of putting poisons inside the house because I don't want them to die in the house where I can't find them.
 
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Old 09-26-22, 03:40 PM
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These are examples of exterior bait stations large enough for rats. Some of them are large enough that rat traps can be placed inside as well as or in place of rodenticide. They are expensive, but they are sturdy and made to legal specs for exterior use to exclude non targets animals to a large extent. Here in PA, Tractor Supply Co. sells a brand, too. Check feed stores, farm supply stores, etc for local offerings. Maybe even the big box stores; I haven't checked them lately.
If there are a lot of rats outside, rodenticide may be more helpful to get the population reduced to where snap traps in the stations will work as maintenance.

https://www.domyown.com/rat-bait-sta..._333.html?pv=2
 
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Old 09-26-22, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for that info. So is this a good preventative idea that may control the rodent population and keep them from coming in or near the house? I don't know if there are a lot around, I just have seen one once in awhile run across the yard into the bushes, or duck under my shed. I don't mind if they are that price if they are durable like that. Is it enough to just maintain bait in them, or do traps need to be set as well? Will mice go in these big boxes as well? I guess I am not really targeting a specific problem that I know of, I just want to try to prevent one, especially with winter coming, so I wouldn't know where to place traps. I do have a few mouse traps in the basement though which are easy enough to deal with. Do you have good rodenticide to recommend that will cover all of them or how many boxes/how far apart to place them? Along the perimeter or the house, or around the yard too? We do have a dog though, so are these safe as long as they are in the bait boxes? Thank you!

These are examples of exterior bait stations large enough for rats. Some of them are large enough that rat traps can be placed inside as well as or in place of rodenticide. They are expensive, but they are sturdy and made to legal specs for exterior use to exclude non targets animals to a large extent. Here in PA, Tractor Supply Co. sells a brand, too. Check feed stores, farm supply stores, etc for local offerings. Maybe even the big box stores; I haven't checked them lately.
If there are a lot of rats outside, rodenticide may be more helpful to get the population reduced to where snap traps in the stations will work as maintenance.

https://www.domyown.com/rat-bait-sta..._333.html?pv=2
 
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Old 09-26-22, 05:46 PM
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I believe that by the label, which is the law/regulation, the stations are to be placed next to a structure on the perimeter as opposed to here and there throughout the yard, field, woods, etc. Two to four stations around the house perimeter should be good. Maybe start with two and add as you learn and experience. Rats are neophobic, meaning fear of new things. Mice are not. Be patient and don't move the stations around for at least a month or more, if you would feel compelled to try different areas.

These boxes will be good for mice, too.

No, you don't have to use traps. In fact, I never did. I'm retired now and trapping wasn't as popular when I was active. Trapping is more popular now, as some states are legislating against the use of rodenticides to the extent that they've been used in the past. Probably a good thing. I still use rodenticide in our outbuildings and in wood piles, but mouse traps inside our house.

I like Contrac Bait blox. They are rectangular and have a hole/opening lengthwise for retention rods that should come with the bait stations. If not, you can run wire through them. The potential danger with bait is that the rodents will drag it out of the station, so that's why it should be secured inside the station. After baiting, inspect the exterior area to see if bait is being removed.

The active ingredient in Contrac can be antidoted should an accident occur. Look for this same active ingredient in bait blocks at local hardware stores, farm supply, etc. Will be different brand name, but the active ingredient is whats important. Don't buy any "soft bait", even though it works well and is accepted by rodents well. It is easily removed from the stations by rodents, usually the little packets are empty, but not always.

https://www.domyown.com/contrac-allw...tml?sub_id=571

 
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Old 09-27-22, 05:19 PM
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It looks like Tomkat sells some smaller amounts with that active ingredient (one 4 pound pail) but those won't ship to my state. The one you posted will (I read somewhere where it will only ship 4 pails to my state) so I guess if I get the 4 pails, it says it lasts 3 years if you don't open them so maybe I will go that route. I probably won't put any of these inside because I don't want them dying in the house. I have had luck with the electronic traps for the mice inside and the dog can't get into them. As far as the boxes, is there anything I should look for, or are they all pretty much the same? When I have set rat traps outside, I have had to tie them so the rat won't run off with them. Do these boxes need to be secured somehow? Thanks for explaining the reason for the retention rod. That sounds very important so they don't drag them out where the dog can get them. Do you just end up checking these every so often and refilling them as needed or if they go untouched for a couple months? Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-27-22, 05:47 PM
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I drill a hole in the middle of the bottom and drive an 8 or 9" spike through the hole into the ground...otherwise the raccoons around here will make off with the bait stations. I check the bait one a month or so, more often when you first place the stations. If the bait gets soggy or moldy or just real old, the varmints won't eat it. You quickly learn which stations see the most action and how often you have to replace or change the bait.
 
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Old 09-28-22, 07:05 AM
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Yes, I suspect raccoons/opossums are running off with the snap traps more so than rats.
The 3 that I selected here are examples that are interesting to me. I've never used the Eatons top loader, but it seems that they would give flexibility in a wide range of situations. Would have to be secured, as is true for all of them. The Aegis brand, of which there are various styles, looks like a good one, but they only supply one key with every 6 stations. Don't lose it, or buy more keys. The metal stations would be a good one, too.

Some of the stations on that page require cement paver blocks that they actually ship with them. I did not include them in the 3 selected. See what local farm supply stores, big box stores, have and see what you think. Read about the various stations on that page and you'll see some differences and get a better idea of what is offered. With any of the stations, I'd make sure they are not in direct rainfall. If they will be in a low spot, even if protected overhead, water may run to them and flood them. I'd elevate them if that could be the case, maybe a paver underneath, of stable, flat rocks. If the station is not stable, rats may not enter. The eatons top loader station could be out in the rainfall probably. When using the metal stations, you could put a cement block on top of the station. The plastic ones eventually crack if you do that.

At first, I'd check the bait weekly and replenish if I saw wet/moldy/spoiled bait. Some stations will be better protected from the weather and humidity than others and need more frequent maintenance. At the least, check them monthly after weekly checks for a couple of months. When monthly, I'd automatically change the bait. Exterior bait doesn't last as long as it would in the interior of a climate controlled area.

https://www.domyown.com/compare
 
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Old 09-28-22, 11:58 AM
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Stopping rodents outside your home by baiting can be part of an effective strategy but if it's your sole or primary approach, I think it's likely to fail. I suggest you focus on excluding entry and spend a majority of your effort on that. Rats or larger rodents require a minimum access point at least the size of a silver dollar and probably around 2 inches.

Spaces that size shouldn't be too difficult to find. Look for spaces around pipes and wires. Also, holes in vents, open drain pipes, door spaces and construction issues. Seal them all. If you have downspouts, add some wire like you'd use for leaves. Then remove tree overhangs and cut back shrubery.

In my view, these steps will probably be the most effective part of your strategy.
 
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Old 09-28-22, 02:43 PM
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Unfortunately, your link didn't include the ones you must have chosen to compare, but I did look up a few. That top loader one you mentioned is interesting. I could see that being attached to my fence or shed or something. I looked at something like this Protecta Evo that is weighted in the bottom like you mentioned. They are a little pricey, but I guess I don't really mind spending $90 for 4 of them if they last a long time. Nice and simple to just put anywhere it looks like without having to secure it, right? I see that many of these hold like 4-6 blocks. Do you always want to keep them full or just put a couple in there?

At first, I'd check the bait weekly and replenish if I saw wet/moldy/spoiled bait. Some stations will be better protected from the weather and humidity than others and need more frequent maintenance. At the least, check them monthly after weekly checks for a couple of months. When monthly, I'd automatically change the bait. Exterior bait doesn't last as long as it would in the interior of a climate controlled area.

https://www.domyown.com/compare
 
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Old 09-28-22, 02:49 PM
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Stopping rodents outside your home by baiting can be part of an effective strategy but if it's your sole or primary approach, I think it's likely to fail. I suggest you focus on excluding entry and spend a majority of your effort on that. Rats or larger rodents require a minimum access point at least the size of a silver dollar and probably around 2 inches.

Spaces that size shouldn't be too difficult to find. Look for spaces around pipes and wires. Also, holes in vents, open drain pipes, door spaces and construction issues. Seal them all. If you have downspouts, add some wire like you'd use for leaves. Then remove tree overhangs and cut back shrubery.

In my view, these steps will probably be the most effective part of your strategy.
Great advice here. I think I have eliminated any openings I can find. While this is much easier for rat sized holes, there must be some tiny holes a mouse has gotten into before. I did recently find a pretty decent hole something dug under a part of the foundation. I shoved a rag in it a week ago because I figured if something was already under the house, it would have moved the rag to come out but it is still there so I guess it is time for me to seal it up. Fortunately, there isn't any shrubbery against the house except up against the deck, but there is a large tree about 5 feet away that has some limbs that overhang the roof. They aren't touching but I will cut those limbs back as far as I can reach.
 
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Old 09-28-22, 05:08 PM
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https://www.domyown.com/compare

sorry about that; I found another metal one to add in. I'll double check this link to see if it works.

The protecta evo is a fine station as well. None of them are bad, just some differences between them. It's a shame they are so expensive; that's why I've suggested looking locally, too. In the 70's when I started in the industry, there were still bait stations in use that were old milk boxes with square holes cut in the bottom of the sides. When home milk delivery went out of favor, the milk boxes had no use so the pest control industry turned them into low budget exterior bait stations.

Yes, initially I would use 4 to 6 blocks per station just in case they are hit harder than we may be anticipating. The toxicity is a formula, meaning that even though the bait is one-dose, single feed, they still have to eat enough at that single feeding, or they need to come back for more in the next days. If the rodent population is higher than anticipated, the rodenticide may get eaten up by many rodents, thus not all of them getting a toxic dose. Generally speaking, this isn't common, but possible. Plenty of bait up front, then as you monitor you'll get a feel for if you need to increase, lessen the dose or just continue monitoring. The rodents behavior will help you figure out the strategy. We can't know everything up front, but we can re-assess as we go.
 
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Old 10-09-22, 06:50 PM
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I received all my stuff and went to place it around the house, but when I was going around outside of the crawl space, I noticed a little hole under the wall and when I looked inside, it looked like rats have been in there again. 😡 I kicked some dirt over the hole yesterday and saw today that the hole is back so they must be in there. I put several traps (I put some in one of the new boxes I just bought instead of the bait) right along the foundation wall near the hole. Is that a good idea rather than put bait and try to catch them, or should I put bait nearby as well? I didn't because I am afraid they will eat it and die in the crawl space, or do they go somewhere else to die? I figure I will keep occasionally kicking dirt over the hole and once I see it hasn't been dug out again for a few days, I'll seal the hole because that should mean they are not going in there anymore, right? By the way, this isn't a typical crawl space, it was a room edition on posts with open foundation and at some point, it looks like someone put concrete blocks on the ground along the perimeter and enclosed the posts with plywood. At one point, I dug down and put concrete so they couldn't dig under but they found the one area I forgot to get to.
 

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Old 10-10-22, 05:45 AM
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They may die in the crawl space or anywhere else. There is no control over that no matter what anyone tells you or advertises. My personal strategy is an "all of the above" approach. If I have live rodents in my house, then I want them dead/captured as soon as possible. It's all up to one's personal tolerance and strategies. I'd have bait and traps in the same station as well as baiting the traps. Certainly put snap traps inside the crawl space. Multiple traps enhance success. Keep in mind that rats are neophobic, meaning fear of new things. They, at least the older ones, aren't going to hit the traps or bait right away. Mice more likely will be the initial success.

When placing bait or snap traps, try to blend them into the immediate environment as opposed to placing them out there in a bare area. Even placing branches over/around will break up the stark silhouette of a bait station out in the wide open. Get started soon, so the rats can begin getting used to the devices.
 
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Old 10-10-22, 05:40 PM
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Ok thanks, I will put a combo of bait and traps. Is temporarily plugging the hole like I have been doing the best way to make sure they are out of there? This is frustrating because I had everything cleaned out a few years ago but luckily I just had them wrap the ductwork in insulation instead of putting insulation back under the floor as well, or else they would have gotten into that as well. I imagine it is probably really difficult to make sure everything is sealed up when there is no foundation like this. This crawlspace is only about 24' x 16' but at what point should I have someone come out and take care of this problem by making sure everything is sealed up, etc.? Would something like a rat slab take care of the problem? I definitely would have no problem just setting out the bait boxes I bought and checking and adding bait every so often but don't see a point in paying someone just to come out and do that. I definitely will need someone to come out and clean it up again and reinsulate the ducts, but I need to make sure the problem is taken care of before I do that.
 
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Old 10-11-22, 06:52 AM
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I wouldn't close the burrows, temporarily or not, until I see progress with the traps and bait. Let them think it is business as usual. They are going to be suspicious because of the new boxes in their areas, so let's not change too much. As you monitor the bait and traps you'll get a feel for rat activity. The burrows will partially close or fill with leaf litter as time goes on if/when they aren't being used. Get the process started and you'll get a feel for things in short time.
 
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Old 10-11-22, 10:15 AM
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Ok, I will see how it goes. Yesterday, I had the cable guy out because I was having cable issues and he found a cable that was chewed through so I was just really frustrated yesterday. I won't kick any more dirt over the hole if they do open it up again and I have a couple traps inside, outside, and a bait box with bait and one trap in it right outside the hole as well. I'll keep an eye on it and report back after a couple of weeks or when I notice something. Thank you.
 
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Old 10-19-22, 04:32 PM
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Hi there. Well 10 days into this, The traps in the crawl space, outside, and the bait right outside are untouched. The hole that i kicked dirt over has also not been dug out again. Only 1 of the 4 bait boxes I set out (the one on the far opposite side of the house) shows some sign of activity. At what point should I permanently seal up that hole?
 
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Old 10-20-22, 08:27 AM
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Would probably be safe in more permanent sealing, but thatís a hard call to make for someone who is not on site to inspect. There are no textbook answers to these kinds of problems. It does sound encouraging from what youíre reporting though.
 
 

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