Integrated Pest Management: Mice and Rats


Mice and rats are not only a nuisance, they can make children sick. For people with asthma and allergies, mice and rats are problematic as their dander and feces are highly allergenic. Mice and rats also carry a host of diseases.

Toxic chemicals used to poison them can also poison children. Children are put at risk when poison baits are used to try to rid the home of pests. As we continue to combat the spread of COVID-19 by staying home more often, we may also continue in our journey of improving the environment of our homes.   

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated pest management is an approach that involves combining three steps, with the least amount of risk to people, property, and the environment. The three steps involved are: starving them out, drying them out, and keeping them out. This approach is both environmentally and family-friendly as it reduces exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Step One: Starving them out

  • Eat in one area of the home to contain crumbs and food
  • Store all foods including pet food in tightly sealed containers
  • Keep trash in a sealed container
  • Keep all living areas uncluttered and clean

Step Two: Drying them out

  • Fix all plumbing, water leaks and clogged drains
  • Eliminate food and water sources such as pet bowls left out all day
  • Mop and clean surfaces leaving no puddles of water for pest to drink

Step Three: Keeping them out

  • Seal the exterior of your home. This can be around any vent, pipe, window, door, pavement, gaps in walls and other holes or openings.  
  • Use caulk, steel wool, scouring pads, spray foam and other material as a sealant
  • Clean up leaf litter and yard waste
  • Avoid placing wood piles near the foundation of your home
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house
  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens

In addition to changing the environment in the home, use traps to kill them. Spring-loaded traps should be baited with peanut butter and placed in areas where there is obvious rodent traffic but away from the hands of children and the paws of pets. Check traps daily and remove dead rodents immediately Re-bait and repeat this process until no mice have been caught for at least a week.  

The Bottom Line 

Rodents need food, water and shelter to survive. By removing these three things, the environment will be less hospitable to them. Follow these steps to make your home rodent-free.