Practical Ways to Prevent Rodent Infestation

Why do you need to avoid rodent infestation? What are the common types of rodents in Australia? What signs to look out for possible rodent infestation? In this article, we will be discussing rodents infestation – what dangers they are posing, the common types that infest our homes, what are the signs of infestation and what possible ways to prevent them.

Rodent infestation is a constant threat in Australia – whether you live in a suburb or in an urban area. Our subtropical climate is perfect for the outdoor lifestyle. Unfortunately, rats and mice thrive on our warm summers, allowing them to multiply fast. They will scurry around looking for safe shelters to reproduce, and your home is not safe if it provides sufficient food and warmth.

Why Avoid Rodent Infestation?

Your health and safety are the main reasons to avoid a rodent infestation at all cost.

Rodents are vectors of various pathogens that cause diseases. The current mouse plague wreaking havoc across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW has also coincided with a doubling in leptospirosis cases in Queensland. The disease is caused by contact with the urine of infected animals including rats.

Rats and mice will search for food in your home and contaminate it with their droppings. They can also cause property damage, with their habit of gnawing anything in their path, including electrical wirings, fixtures and appliances.

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Common Types of Rodents in Australia

There are three types of rodents that are common in Australia: Black Rat, Brown Rat and House Rat.

Black Rat

Image of Black Rat

Their nests can be found in dirt burrows. They tend to keep close to where the food is.

Brown Rat

Image of brown rate

This type is common in coastal towns and urban areas. They are known for their excellent agility and climbing ability.

House Rat

Image of house rat

They normally breed indoors among stored items. But their nests can also sometimes be found near the lawns or fields.

Rats and mice will shelter in hidden areas in homes, sheds, garages and gardens, particularly in walls, ceilings, under floors; behind or beneath drawers and bathtubs; behind furniture, machines and boxes; woodpiles, overgrown vegetation, animal pens, rubbish heaps; and in holes under buildings.

Signs of Rodent Infestation

If you have rodents, you will see signs of them in your home.

  • Look for droppings beneath the sink, around food items and in drawers and cupboards.
  • If you see a hole in food packaging that shouldn’t be there, it’s safe to assume it was chewed on by a rat or mice.
  • If you investigate enough, you’d be able to discover nesting materials such as shredded fabric and papers, and dried plant matter.
  • Lastly, you will smell something pungent when you go inside your garage, attic and other hidden places in your home.

When you notice any of these signs, it might be too late for you to get rid of them on your own. You can’t just use a rat pesticide that you bought from the local pest store without knowing what type of rodent species you’re dealing with. Using the wrong chemicals could be harmful for you, your family and your pets.


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Ways to Prevent Rodent Infestation

It is easier to prevent rats or mice from invading your home than to eliminate them. You can discourage and control rats and mice just by denying them food and shelter. Here’s how:

Clean Up

There are many possible food sources in your home. Eliminate them or store them properly.

  • Store all foodstuffs in sealed metal or plastic containers
  • Dispose food scraps immediately. Same with dishes and kitchen utensils; wash them after use. Food preparation areas in the kitchen should also be cleaned.
  • Always keep the outside kitchen areas and grills clean.
  • Store pet food properly and don’t leave pet food and water bowls overnight.
  • Don’t install bird feeders near your home and place squirrel guards to keep squirrels and rodents away.
  • Place your compost bins as far away from your house as possible (100 feet away or more).
  • If you have grains or animal feed, store them in thick containers with tight lids. Any uneaten feed should be placed back to the container.

Seal Up

Mice and rats are so small they can squeeze themselves through holes that are smaller than they are. Check the inside and outside of your home for holes or gaps and seal these openings to deny them entry.

  • Some of the possible locations of these holes or gaps are:
  • Inside, beneath and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and cooking stoves
  • Inside cupboards near the floor corners
  • Near windows
  • Near doors
  • Near the foundations
  • Vents in the attic and crawl spaces
  • Beneath the doors
  • Around the holes for utility lines such as gas, plumbing, gas, cable, etc.

Seal these gaps and holes using steel wool and caulk for tiny holes or lath or metal screen, cement, hardware cloth or metal sheeting for big gaps.

Don’t forget to also block the gaps and holes in your garage and/or outbuildings.

More Prevention Tips

Trim tree branches so they won’t reach the house and if you can, keep plants from growing up the side of your house. These can be used by rats or mice to access the roof. Overgrown vegetation near the walls of your home will offer shelter and potential nesting areas.

Mow your lawn regularly to deny rodents shelter and seeds for food. If possible, leave a space between the garden and your house foundation.

Don’t hope for the rain to control rodent populations and keep them away from your property. Follow the tips mentioned above to enjoy a peaceful, undisturbed sleep and more importantly, a safe and healthy home environment.

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