Rodent Extermination Methods
When the subject or rodent extermination comes up, nine out of ten times, and possibly even more, the topic of discussion turns to either rats or mice. There are many other types of rodents to be sure, but it's mostly rats and mice that cause trouble either in the house or in an outbuilding.
Dogs, Cats, And Barn Owls - It's somewhat of a shame that the barn owl isn't easily tamed, nor does it make a good house pet, as the barn owl is just about the most effective rodent extermination machine on the planet, at least where mice and rats are concerned. If you can convince one of these birds to nest on your property, it will probably take care of any rodent venturing outside, but you'll still have to rely on other rodent extermination methods for indoors.
Dogs and cats are very efficient at killing rats and mice, particularly mice, although a medium sized dog can take care of the rat population as well. Of course for your house pet or the barn cat to be effective, they have to be able to get at the rodents, not always an easy task. Your pet cat may simply be content to play with a mouse, though this quite often ends up being fatal to the mouse, as cats can play very energetically. Other cats, the true "mousers", are genuine assassins when it comes to rodent extermination or control.
Traps - There are also poisons and traps of course. We rarely use live traps for the smaller rodents, although anyone staring a house mouse in the face may have second thoughts about killing the little thing. We usually don't feel the same way about rats, at least the Norwegian rat, though it's not too difficult to become fond of laboratory rats, which actually make decent pets. The rats and mice that get into the grain, into the pantry, or leave droppings on the floor or chew electrical cords are not good candidates for pets however.
Know Thine Enemy - Given the number of effective rodent extermination methods to choose from, the only thing left to be done is to learn a little about the habits of these creatures. A mousetrap baited with a piece of cheddar cheese placed in a random spot isn't necessarily going to do the job. A trap baited with peanut butter, placed in a path where the rodent is known to travel will yield almost sure-fire results. When mice (or rats) travel indoors, they usually hug the walls, and for the most part use the same path over and over. Part of the solution to the extermination problem then lies in finding where these pathways are. Rodent droppings usually provide the best clue. Unlike some animals, rats and mice don't necessarily seek out a favorite spot to do there business. It's pretty much "dump and go".
Poisons - Poisons are very effective, especially the d-CON products. There are a couple of cautions that must be followed when using poisons however. Number one, the poison definitely needs to be put where pets or children cannot get at it. Rat poison can be deadly if ingested by your cat or dog, and is dangerous for small children as well. The second issue with poisons is that the affected rodent will usually go off somewhere to die. If that somewhere is far away, that's fine, but if that somewhere is in the wall behind the bathroom sink, you'll eventually have an unpleasant odor problem, especially if the rodent happens to be a large rat. When a rat decomposes, it lets everyone know.
Prevention - The saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” also applies to rodent extermination. Keeping your home clean and tidy, especially at that time of the year when the weather is starting to turn cold, dark, and wet, can make the difference between having peace of mind and experiencing a rodent infestation.