Main Reason to Get Rid of Rats and mice:  They spread disease

Some of the diseases that humans can get directly from mice and/or rats that are commonly found in North America

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), cotton rat (Sigmodon Hispidus), rice rat (Oryzomys palustris), and white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) all transmit Hantavirus Pulmonay Syndrome (also called HPS or simply, Hantavirus).  These mice live throughout most of North and South America, you can get HPS through:

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their uring and droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently


Leptospirosis is a bacteria passed by rodents and other animals around the world.

It is spread by

  • Eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine from infected animals
  • Contact through the skin or mucous membranes (such as inside the nose) with water or soil that is contaminated with the urine from infected animals

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)

The LCM virus is carried and transmitted by the common house mouse. (Mus musculus) and may occur anywhere around the world.

You can get Lymphocyctic by

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings


Although plague generally generates thoughts of the past or of underdeveloped countries, it also can be spread to humans by wild rodents of the Western U.S., including rock squirrels, prairie dogs, wood rats, fox squirrels and other species of ground squirrels and chipmunks.

The disease bacteria is transmitted through:

  • Direct contact with the infected animal
  • The bite of an infected flea

Rat-Bite Fever

Rats and mice can both carry and spread the Rat-bite fever bacteria. While it can occur worldwide, the strain most commonly found in North America and Europe is Streptobacillus moniliformis.

You can get rat-bite fever from:

  • Bite or scratch wound from an infected rodent, or contact with a dead rodent
  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.


Salmonellosis is a very common foodborne disease across the U.S. and around the world. The Salmonella bacteria can originate from rats and mice that are living or moving on or around the food you eat.

Salmonellosis is contracted when you:

  • Eat or drink food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.


Tularemia is disease that is caused by bacteria carried and spread by wild rodents around the world, including muskrats, ground squirrels and beavers.

The disease is spread when you:

  • Handle infected animal carcasses.
  • Are bitten by an infected tick, deerfly or other insect.
  • Eat or drink contaminated food or water.
  • Breath in the bacteria, F. tularensis

Rodent prevention and control methods:

 Effective prevention and control of mouse damage involves three aspects:

1.  Eliminate Reason (food sources),

2.  eliminate entry Routes,

3. eliminate rodent population.

Food Source Elimination

Sanitation Good housekeeping and good sanitation practices such as proper storage and handling of food material, feed and garbage will aid in control by permitting easier detection and increased effectiveness of traps and baits. Mice are very adaptive to living with people. They require very little space and only small amounts of food. Mice have been known to inhabit buildings even before construction has been completed, living off the crumbs and scraps of workers’ lunches. In offices, house mice may live behind cabinets or furniture and feed on scraps or crumbs from lunches or snacks, candies, or even sugar granules found on desktops. In homes, mice may find ample food in kitchens, garbage cans, garages and even the pet dish. Eat only in areas designated for food consumption, and always clean up afterward. Do not invite mice by leaving food items or crumbs out overnight.

Eliminate entry routes:

Rodent-proofing Mouse damage can be reduced by removing or limiting access to nesting areas, food sources and, escape and nesting areas. Eliminate weed and other vegetative cover as well as debris and litter in and around homes, buildings, crops, lawns and other cultivated areas. Lawngrass and turf or orchard grass should be mowed regularly. Mulch should be cleared 1m (3 ft.) or more from the bases of trees.

Indoors, remove padded cushions from sofas and chairs, and store them on edge or separate from one another, off the floor. Remove drawers in empty cupboards or chests and re-insert them upside down. Wherever possible, store bulk foods in sealed, rodent-proof containers or rooms. Stack bagged or boxed food in orderly rows on pallets in a way that allows for thorough inspection for evidence of mice. In storage areas, keep stored materials away from walls. Sweep floors frequently to permit ready detection of fresh mouse droppings. Ditch banks, rights-of-way, and headlands need to be managed properly to control meadow voles which can reach very high numbers. Adjacent crops can be effectively protected by controlling nearby vegetation through mowing, grazing or spraying.


Physical barriers can prevent mice from gaining entry to structures where food and shelter are available. To exclude mice, seal all holes and openings larger than 6 mm (1/4 in.) across. Rodent-proofing should be done with heavy materials that will resist rodent gnawing. Use stainless flex screens to block brick wall weep holes. These include concrete mortar, galvanized sheet metal and heavy gauge hardware cloth. To protect newly-seeded garden plots, use wire-screen caps or bowls, and press them into the soil several inches. Inverted strawberry baskets may also be used for small plants.

Frightening devices

Mice can be frightened by unfamiliar sounds or sounds coming from new locations. However, they soon become accustomed to new sounds and lose their fear of them. Devices that emit very high frequency signals are uncomfortable to mice and have limits to their direction and travel distance, rapidly losing their intensity after leaving the source. While it is possible to cause permanent physiological damage to mice with ultrasound, the intensity of such sounds must be so great that damage to humans or domestic animals would also be likely. For these reasons, ultrasonic and ultrasound devices are not recommended to effectively scare away mice. Do electronic devices work?  No.  Read why on this web site.


Mice find some tastes and odours offensive, but chemical repellents are seldom a practical solution to mouse prevention or control of infestations. Substances such as naphthalene (mothballs or flakes) may repel mice from small, closed areas where sufficient concentration of the chemical can be attained in the air. Concentrated oils of mint, cedar and other aromatics have not proven effective in repelling mice.

Population reduction


Before using rodenticides, be aware of the latest Health Canada regulations restricting their use. The newest regulations restrict the use of rodenticides for the protection of children, pets and other animals. The new measures include:

  • Rodenticides must be secured in a tamper-proof approved bait station when used in areas accessible by children and pets.
  • Suppliers must package rodenticides for consumers with a pre-baited, ready-to-use bait station.
  • Use of certain rodenticides with high levels of toxicity and a long decomposition time will be restricted to licensed professional pest control operators.

Health Canada (PMRA) Rodenticide Use Regulation details.

In 2010, the PMRA announced additional protective measures for several rodenticides containing the following active ingredients: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, bromethalin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, difethialone, warfarin and zinc phosphide, as part of an overall risk-reduction strategy for rodenticides in Canada. The name of the active ingredient contained in a rodenticide product is listed on the product label under “guarantee”.
Rodenticides are highly acutely toxic compounds, and can be used in residential and agricultural settings. Additional protective measures are warranted in order to prevent exposure of children, pets and non-target wildlife to these chemicals.

  New Regulations for domestic class rodenticide products

·       Block or solid formulations are the only types allowed. Bait must be in a form that is reasonably expected to remain in bait station, except for bait removed, and crumbs created, by target rodents.

·       Loose bait forms (such as, meal, treated whole-grain, pelleted and liquid) and concentrated products (such as, solution, emulsifiable concentrate, dust, powder) to be diluted into solid or liquid bait are prohibited.

·       Domestic class products must always be used in bait stations.

·       Products must be sold packaged with a bait station which must meet the bait station requirements.

·       Domestic class products containing second-generation anticoagulants (brodifacoum, bromadiolone and difethialone) are prohibited.

·       New requirements for commercial class rodenticide products

·       The regulatory actions apply to products currently registered for use in and around structures/buildings (i.e. structural uses).

·       Bait must either be placed in tamper-resistant bait stations or in locations not accessible to children, pets, livestock or non-target wildlife.

·       All outdoor, above-ground placements of bait products must be contained in bait stations. Tamper-resistant bait stations are required if the bait placement is within reach of pets, domestic animals, non-target wildlife, or children under six years-of-age.

·       The outdoor use of commercial class, concentrated products (such as, solution, emulsifiable concentrate, dust, powder) to be diluted into solid or liquid bait is prohibited.

·       The use in residential settings of commercial class, concentrated products (such as, solution, emulsifiable concentrate, dust, powder) to be diluted into solid or liquid bait is prohibited.

·       The use of difethialone is restricted to indoor use only. 

Consumers are advised to:

  • Read the safety precautions before using any rodenticide and use only as directed.
  • Store rodenticides away from food and out of reach of children.
  • Use gloves when handling rodenticides.
  • Place rodenticides in an area inaccessible to children, pets and non-targeted wildlife.
  • Use a closed bait station supplied with the rodenticide or buy one separately.
  • Wear gloves when disposing of dead rodents, and double-bag them before putting them into a garbage.


Commercial fumigant use is restricted to  licensed pest control exterminators only.   Safety issues and legal ramifications make it an unsuitable control process for most rodent control situations.


Trapping can be very effective; however it is somewhat expensive and time consuming. Traps should be used where poisons are unsafe or in homes or garages where odour from poison-killed rodents can be a problem. The simple, inexpensive, wood-based snap trap can be found almost anywhere. Traps should be baited with a small piece of nutmeat, dried fruit, bacon or vanilla extract on a piece of cotton tied to the trigger. A small, unbaited, cotton ball works well because mice are constantly searching for nesting material.

The placement of traps is critical to their success. Set traps behind objects (where you see mouse droppings or  tracks), in dark places and along the base of walls. Be sure to place traps in the correct direction so that the trigger end of the trap is closest to the wall. Use enough traps to reduce mouse numbers quickly. Mice seldom venture far from their shelter and food supply, so set traps no more than 1.8 m (6 ft.) apart where mice are active.

Multi-catch (automatic) mouse traps work on the principle that mice enter a small capture hole in the trap. When triggered, the device entraps the animal in a holding compartment. Some multi-catch traps can capture over a dozen mice in a single setting. For this reason, these traps should be checked periodically so that mice do not die from starvation or exposure in the traps.


An alternative to traps are glueboards, which catch and hold mice attempting to cross them, much the same way flypaper catches flies. Place glueboards wherever mice are travelling or where you would set traps. Do not use glueboards where children, pets or other non-targets can come into contact with them. It is a good idea to cover  glueboards to protect them from dust, debris and moisture, and be aware that temperature extremes can affect their stickiness. Cover glueboards much the same way you would a bag of bait.   Use a stick to kill captured mice with sharp blows to the base of the skull.

Other methods

Some cats and dogs will catch and kill mice around the home. There are few situations where they will do so sufficiently to control rodent populations. Farm cats, if sufficient in number and supplementally fed, may keep mouse numbers down to prevent re-infestations once mice have been controlled. In urban areas, it is common to find rodents living in close association with cats and dogs, relying on cat and dog food for nourishment. Mice frequently live beneath doghouses and soon learn they can feed on the dog’s food when the dogs are asleep, or absent. Several natural predators such as hawks, owls, snakes and weasels may kill many mice. However, they do not control mouse populations; they merely remove the surplus.