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Posted on: November 14, 2017

Don't let rodents move in this winter

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Tri-County Health is working with other local agencies to educate the community on how best to mitigate the increase in rodents in the area by providing useful rodent-control information.

Reasons for increased activity

  • Human population increases have caused an increase in residential and business development creating more harborage (places for rodents to hide and live), food, and water sources.
  • Construction has disturbed rodent’s natural environment and is causing rodents to relocate.
  • A decrease in natural predator population.  The coyote and fox population which feed largely on rodents and small mammals have been recently on the decline.  70% of coyote’s diets are rodents and small mammals.

Things to remember

  • Rodents are an important natural part of our urban landscape and will never be completely eradicated.
  • With winter coming, rodents will seek warmer shelter, like inside your home or business.  Start rodent proofing your property now. It is easier to keep them out than to get them out.
  • Poison bait should be used as a last resort and should be applied by a professional.  If used incorrectly secondary killings of natural predators can occur, further increasing the rodent population.
  • Always remember to check for and properly clean up rodent droppings in and around your home.  Droppings should be sprayed with a 10% bleach solution and then wiped up wearing gloves.  Droppings should never be vacuumed or swept up.

Things you can do

  • Seal all entry points into your home or business.  Rats can enter through a hole the size of a quarter and mice can enter through a hole the size of a dime.  Seal entries with steel wool, hardware cloth, galvanized sheet metal, perforated metal, or cement mortar. 
  • Keep all garbage in sealed containers and a tight fitting lid on it at all times.  Keep areas around garbage cans and dumpsters free from spilled liquids or garbage. 
  • Keep pet food and bird and grass seed in sealed containers.
  • Prevent any build-up of pet waste; pet feces are a food source for rodents.  Eliminate any source of water.  Be sure not to over water lawns or gardens and be mindful of bird baths and pet bowls left outside.  Do not leave pet foods out overnight. 
  • Make areas around your property less desirable for rodents to make a home. Thin or remove vegetation near structures, trim all bushes up to at least 12” above the ground, remove excess debris or equipment, and stack firewood off the ground at least 12” and away from buildings and fences.
  • Clean up your garden removing all waste and pick up dropped fruit from fruit bearing trees.
  • Prevent burrowing under decks and patios by placing an L shaped footer around the area up to 12” deep.

 Composting bins should be constructed in a manner that they are at least 12” off the ground, not on the ground. For more information www.tchd.org/rodent-control

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