Your Guide to Mice and Rats in Southern Maine

As animal lovers at Green Shield Pest Solutions, it doesn’t excite us to kill thousands of mice and rats each year.  However, the other option involves dealing with:

  1. The spreading of diseases
  2. Food contamination
  3. Gnawing on structures
  4. Gnawing on wires that can cause electrical fires

 

Unfortunately, rodents don’t carry one mouse around in their womb for nine months.  They carry five or six and give birth in just 20 days.  This quick multiplication creates an unhealthy environment for your family and it can get out of hand fast.  Acting quickly is important! Below are the four steps toward getting rid of rodents in your southern Maine home.

 

1.) Identification

 

The most common three rodents you will come in contact with in your southern Maine home are:

 

  1.  House Mouse
    1. Body is 2-3 inches in length
    2. Tail 3-4 inches long
    3. Pointed nose
    4. Large eyes and ears.
  2. Deer Mouse
    1. Mostly found outdoors
    2. Body is 2-3 inches long with a tail of equal length
    3. Large ears and eyes
    4. White belly, gray/brown on top
  3. Norway Rat
    1. Weighs 15-16 ounces
    2. Burrows underground
    3. Typically found outside
    4. Blunt nose, small ears, small eyes

 

2.) Inspection

 

If you are suspicious of rodents, it most likely comes from the following observations:

 

Inside:

  1. Noises - Since mice are shy around people, they usually seek areas where humans don’t frequent as often, which is why the basement, attic, garage, and shed are the four most popular places!
  2. Feces (droppings) - How do you know if it’s a rat or a mouse?  The size!  A rat’s dropping are double the size at ½” with the deer and house mouse droppings being ¼.” 
  3. Gnawing holes – The holes won’t be as neat at the ones you see in cartoons like Tom & Jerry, but gnawing on wood is very common.  Green Shield is very good at spotting holes in wood when you can’t seem to put a finger on where rodents could be getting in.
  4. Odor – Smells like urine in case you need a hint.
  5. Hair – They leave it behind wherever they go.
  6. Oils - You may also see black smear marks along baseboards or entry points.  Rodents are oily and often leave this oily film behind any surface they touch.

 

Outside:

  1. Holes - around perimeter of house, often up against the foundation.
  2. Pressed vegetation - Sometimes you can see little highways for rodents on the outside, similar to a patch of grass in the park that frequently gets walked on.

3.) Rodent Control

 

If you want to make the environment less conducive to activity, do the following:

 

Practical methods:

  1. Take out your trash.
  2. Pick up pet food and water before bed, inside and out.
  3. Clean your dishes frequently.

 

Exclusion methods:

  1. Look around plumbing for large gaps around plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom.  Large spaces must be plugged.
  2. For smaller gaps found, a foam or caulking works well.
  3. For larger areas, use a steel wool, or even better, a copper mesh product.  Rodents have a difficult time chewing through it.

 

Baiting and trapping:

  1. We use a bait called EZ Block, which has ridges for easy chewing.  It also has a hole through the center which allows us to stick them through rods on tamper-proof bait stations outside.  It requires a key to get access to the inside to rebait, so pets and children cannot access.
  2. We place these bait stations 15-50 feet apart.  Mice do not travel much further than 20 feet from their nest, so spacing them out allows for better results.
  3. We come back to check these stations 30 days later, since in the beginning, they eat the bait quickly.  Then, we check every 3-4 months (or earlier if needed).
  4. On the inside, we use the same bait with smaller stations that we can place in hard-to-reach areas.
  5. We also use snap traps, especially along ledges of basements and in attics, where children and pets cannot reach them.  Since mice travel along the wall, these snap traps are placed where the snapping mechanism snaps toward the wall.
  6. Glue traps are typically not used by Green Shield unless a customer especially requests it due to their inhumane nature.

 

4.) Prevention

 

For homeowners, these are common things you can do to help:

 

  1. Eliminate unnecessary food and water.
  2. Trim back branches, especially those that overhang the house.
  3. Empty trash cans.
  4. Clean up flowerbeds and keep the property trimmed.
  5. Clean up around bird feeders.

 

For more information, contact Green Shield Pest Solutions via phone at (207) 815-1003, email us at gshieldpest@gmail.com or fill out the form on our contact page.