RODENT PEST CONTROL
- Common pest rodent species in Gold Coast include the Norway rat, the roof rat and the house mouse.
- A good way to control pest rodents is to maintain good hygiene and eliminate possible food, water and shelter sources for them.
- Pestoffman will usually use rodenticides to control pest rodents.
This pest is covered in our Pest Control Treatments.
COMMON RODENT QUESTIONS
They are most active between dusk and dawn. They don’t like bright lights. Seeing them during the day can be a sign of a large infestation, as they are competing for food. A mouse can slip through a hole the size of a pencil; or gnaw an opening until it is big enough. They are athletic creatures! A mouse can jump 13 inches high, plus run along wires, cables and ropes. Able to scale rough and vertical surfaces, they are excellent jumpers, swimmers and climbers.
In residential properties they live in wall cavities, cupboards, boxes, furniture and burrows in gardens. Commercial properties are always a target especially where there is waste and open pastures. They can affect any type of business even if its clean and tidy as the conditions inside and outside the premises play an important role.
Watch out for rodent droppings. When fresh, these are malleable and shiny. After 2-3 days, they become hard and lose their sheen. Mouse dropping are smaller (3-6mm) and pointy, while rat droppings are blunt and can measure up to 12mm. Rodents may also leave a greasy residue on surfaces, especially with a large infestation. Other signs include rat tunnels, squeaking and gnawing at night, and bite marks on wood, cables and metal. Gnawing helps sharpen and file their ever-growing incisors
You may need to dispose of a dead rat or mouse at some point. Just make sure you keep pets away, as rodents carry germs and diseases, and may also have been poisoned. Empty traps with rubber gloves, wrap them in newspaper and dispose of them in the trash. Don’t bury them as they could be dug up at a later date by a pet or wild animal. If you suspect that there is a dead rodent stuck in an inaccessible wall cavity, it’s a waiting game. It needs about two weeks to dry out and start decomposing, after which the smell will be gone. Odour reducing products are available if it is unbearable.
Ultrasonic sound waves to deter rodents such as, rats, mice, cats, mosquitoes, and squirrels.
Major Rat Species in Gold Coast
Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
The Norway rat, also known as the common rat, sewer rat or brown rat, is the larger of the two pest rats.
Their life span is usually between 9 and 12 months.
Females can have 5-6 litters per year, and average 8-10 pups per litter. The gestation period is 21 days and the young reach sexual maturity at 3-4 months.
Norway rats are usually active at night. They are good swimmers and diggers and can communicate through high pitched vocalisation.
The Norway rat is an omnivore, and will eat both plants and animal matter. They will eat almost anything, although they prefer starch and protein-rich food, such as cereals, which form a substantial part of their diet. Other foods they eat include meat, fish, vegetables, weeds, earthworms, crustaceans, nuts and fruit.
The Norway rat is characterised physically by their:
- brown or grey fur, and grey belly fur and grey feet
- large build
- blunt nose
- short thick ears with fine hair
- head and body length of 20–27 cm
- tail length of 16–20 cm
- weight of 200–500 grams
- banana or sausage-shaped droppings.
Roof rat (Rattus rattus)
Roof rats are usually found in built-up areas or near the coast. They have good climbing ability and can nest in buildings, roof voids and ships.
Roof rats eat a wide variety of food items, and generally feed on cereals, grains, fruit, and almost any item that has nutritional value. They are omnivores and will feed on insects or meat if necessary.
Their life span is usually 9-12 months. Females can have 4-5 litters per year, and average 6-8 pups per litter. Sexual maturity is reached at 3-4 months and females have a gestation period of 21 days.
The roof rat is characterized physically by their:
- grey, black or brown fur, with occasional white belly fur
- head and body length of 14-20 cm
- tail length of 25 cm
- small, slender, streamlined build
- weight of 200-300 grams
- pointed nose
- large, thin, almost hairless, translucent ears
- pink feet
- spindle-shaped droppings.
House mice are curious animals and can live indoors or outdoors in close proximity to humans.
They have a wide and varied diet including fruits, nuts, grains, animal feed and cereals.
They have a life span of approximately 12 months. Females can have 6-10 litters per year. Sexual maturity is reached at about 6 weeks, with a gestational period of 3 weeks.
The house mouse is characterised physically by their:
- brown or grey fur
- head and body length of 8-10 cm
- tail length of 8-10 cm
- weight of 14-20 grams
- small slender build
- pointed nose
- large, hairy ears
- pink feet
- small spindle or irregular-shaped droppings.
Rodent control methods
Rodent infestation identification
Inspect the premises carefully and look out for signs of damage caused by gnawing or feeding, holes, smears and droppings. Mice tend to feed by nibbling, eating the outside of grains and leaving the core. However, rats will often leave crumbs or smaller pieces of food.
House mice tend to live inside the building and will gnaw holes up to 20 mm in diameter in walls, partitions and floors. Holes made by rats will be larger, approximately 80 mm, and may be the entrance to nests. Nests may be found in hidden areas and can be made up of a wide range of materials such as cardboard, paper, straw and rags.
Physical traps include glue traps, simple snap traps or more complicated multiple-mouse catching devices. Trapping methods require more time and labour than the other chemical methods of rodent control. This method is less cost-effective and used less frequently by PCOs.
Situations where trapping of rodents may be the most viable option include:
- instances where chemical pesticides are not accepted, such as food premises
- capture of individual rodents that are not taking bait.
Glue traps can only be used by licensed PCOs in food manufacturing businesses in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008.
Sanitation and exclusion
When looking at ways to prevent and control a rodent problem, always assess the area for possible sources of food, water and shelter. Good ways to discourage rodents from inhabiting an area include:
- maintaining high levels of hygiene
- removing clutter, excess foliage in the garden, plumbing leaks, food scraps, nesting sites or shelters.
Mice are able to squeeze into gaps as small as 8 mm, so make sure even small gaps or holes are filled.
Rat and mice infestations are commonly controlled using rodenticides. Rodenticides can kill the rodent with a single dose (acute) or through multiple doses (chronic).
Acute rodenticides include:
- metal phosphides (zinc – once baits containing zinc phosphide are ingested
by the target animal, the pesticide reacts with stomach acid in the digestive system to produce a toxic phosphide gas – aluminium, magnesium and calcium)
Metal phosphides are usually fumigants and are fast-acting, single-dose rodenticides.
Norbormide is only effective against the common rat. It acts by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs by constricting blood vessels.
Broadifacoum, flocoumafen and difenacoum are all highly lethal anticoagulant poisons. Anticoagulants stop blood from clotting causing it to become thin. This results in the rodents dying of internal haemorrhage.
Chronic rodenticides include:
Warfarin, coumatetralyl and diphacinone are anticoagulants. Calciferol is a form of vitamin D used in combination with anticoagulants to improve their rodenticidal effects.
Rodent pest control safety precautions
When using rodent pest control methods, follow these safety precautions:
- read the product label before use and only apply pesticides in accordance with the label directions, including any safety information
- wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling pesticides
- do not place baits in areas where they can be accessed by children, pets, wildlife or livestock, or use lockable bait stations
- place baits only in locations from which they can later be retrieved
- keep a record of bait placements
- inspect bait stations regularly and remove baits if the rodent problem ceases, ensuring appropriate disposal
- notify all occupants of the building about the use of pesticides
- do not place baits or tracking powder where they can contaminate food or food-handling areas
- do not eat, drink or smoke when handling pesticides
- always wash PPE such as gloves, clothes and boots after pesticide use
- store pesticides in their original containers and ensure that the label remains intact – do not transfer products to alternative containers.
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