Rodents can damage buildings, contaminate food, and transmit diseases to people. The rodent family includes over 2,000 species of rats, mice , gophers, voles, beavers and more. They're also adaptable, capable of learning by trial and error. As a result, people who need to control them have always struggled to "build a better mouse-trap."
- It's important to know which species of rodent you're dealing with; they have different habits and preferences.
- To identify your rodent, choose a link below, or try contacting your local Cooperative Extension Service.
- If you have holes or digging evidence in the yard, use the guides here to learn more.
- Food isn't the only thing rodents are attracted to. Remove nesting materials, water sources, and travel pathways to discourage rodents.
- Reduce clutter inside and outside to discourage rodents. Neatly kept homes and lawns are less attractive to some rodents.
- Experts recommend an IPM approach to control rodents. Try prevention, sanitation and exclusion, and use rodenticides only as a last resort.
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Last updated May 02, 2018
- Identify your rodent
first. Some rodents are climbers, some are diggers. Identification
can help you choose a control method.
- Be vigilant. Rodents can learn through trial and error and may require
constant effort and a variety of control tactics.
- Observe trails or signs of rodent activity to target the resources
- Contact a professional if electrical equipment is infested or looks
- Remove food and water sources when possible. Open garbage, spilled
birdseed, leaky faucets, and bird baths can attract rodents.
- Keep food in sealed jars, tins, or heavy plastic containers to prevent
damage. All rodents have teeth specialized for gnawing.
- Eliminate clutter inside and outside.
- Trim trees and vegetation growing along walls or near roofs.
- Exclude rodents by sealing cracks and crevices larger than one quarter
- Use fencing for garden areas. Fence type and placement depends on the
- Introduce traps early. Estimate how many traps you will need from the
suspected number of rodents.
- Anticipate occasional trap failure. Set additional back-up traps.
- Traps can be effective for reducing rodent numbers. Traps can also be
used in combination with a rodenticide.
If you choose to use a pesticide, read the label before you buy. Try a lower toxicity
If you have a pesticide product in mind, have your label handy and click here for information about that product.
County Extension Offices
Through its county agents, the Cooperative Extension Service gives individuals access to the resources at land-grant universities across the nation. These universities are centers for research in many
subjects, including entomology (the study of insects) and agriculture. Each county within the United States has an Extension office, which is staffed with agents who work closely with
university-based Extension specialists to deliver answers to your questions about gardening, agriculture, and pest control. You can find the phone number for your local county extension office in the local
government section (often marked with blue pages) of your telephone directory or by clicking on the map below.