The sighting of even a single mouse or rat in your home can mean that there is an entire family (with aunts, uncles, and other kinfolk) living in your home's basement, the walls, or in and between stored items.
There are ways to get rid of the mice and rats yourself, but there are also likely to be times that you prefer to call on a professional. When this is the case, there are a number of things you will need to do to prepare for service, to ensure the treatment is as effective and long-lasting as possible.
Prior to performing this, or any service, professional pest control operators (PCOs) will generally provide you with a specific list of preparation activities, "prep," to be completed before they arrive. However, the following lists some of the most common requests or recommendations made by PCOs – and should also be followed prior to using any over-the-counter pest control products yourself. (When using any pesticide, read and follow all label directions and safe-use guidelines prior to purchase and use.)
Because a lack of preparation could make a treatment unsafe or cause rodent reinfestation of the entire home or building, many PCOs will not treat areas that are not prepared to specifications.
You can help your PCO rid your home of a mouse or rat problem by doing the following things prior to service:
- Make sure that all food that is not in a can or jar is stored in the refrigerator or heavy plastic container for at least two weeks following service. This includes chips, candies, nuts, cereals, breads, any grain-based food, pet foods, etc., that are normally stored in upper or lower cabinets, on counter tops, or on top of the refrigerator. Although usually bagged, rodents can chew right through plastic bags to get to foods.
- Homeowners should repair any holes in walls, around baseboards, or doors that don’t seal properly; apartment residents should report these to management for repair. (Mice can enter through gaps as small as 1/4 inch and rats through holes as small as 1/2 inch in diameter.)
- Remove all items from the top of the refrigerator and from directly underneath the kitchen sink to allow access to these areas.
- When the PCO arrives, discuss the situation with him or her, making note of areas where mice or signs of mice have been seen.
- The PCO may be setting and placing any of a variety of baits and traps. These should not be touched or disturbed during or after the service.
- For ongoing control, clean, sweep and vacuum the home regularly. Take out trash on a regular basis, keep lids on trash cans, and keep area as clean as possible.
- Eliminate any unnecessary storage including boxes, paper, and clothing as rodents (and other pests) will take shelter here, gnaw the items to make their nests, and even breed in such undisturbed areas.
- For long-term prevention against infestation of rats, mice and other pests, follow the guidelines and practical tips listed in 10 Tips to Keep Pests Out.
In order to achieve control, the mice (or rats) need to be attracted to the rodent bait and traps that the service provider uses. When you follow the steps listed above, the PCO can more effectively rid your home of the problem, and it is more likely that you will be able to maintain a rodent-free home.
Thanks to Owl Pest Prevention for providing information for this article.