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Mouse image for article
Rodents are adaptable, clever creatures. To evict them from your home (and prevent them from returning), you have to outsmart them. We can help.

 

Mice and rats love living side-by-side with us and they’re very capable of moving into our homes undetected. Before you’re even aware you have a mouse problem, there may be a few generations living under your roof.

Mouse and rat plagues tend to get worse during cooler weather, when the animals are seeking shelter. It’s important to get any infestation under control as quickly as possible to avoid damage to your property and the spread of disease. We're sharing advice on how to identify and tackle a mouse problem, as well as prevent them from returning.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Always store products out of the reach of children and pets.

Signs that you have a rodent problem

Trust your eyes, ears and nose. Look for droppings (which resemble dark grains of rice) in the corners and around appliances. You might spot chew marks on food packaging, or catch movement out of the corner of your eye as they move along the edges of rooms. You might also hear rustling noises or smell an ammonia-like scent. These are all signs that you have a mouse problem in your home.

Options for removal

There are three options for removing rodents from your home: repelling them, trapping them or killing them. Your environment will play a factor in which option is best for you. For example – whether you have children or pets you need to consider, or whether the problem is indoors or outdoors.

Repellents are plug-ins that use ultrasonic soundwaves. These soundwaves are inaudible to people and animals that aren’t rodents (including cats and dogs), but are unpleasant to mice and rats.

There are a wide range of traps to choose from.

  • Traditional snap trap. According to pest experts, the traditional snap trap remains the preferred option for trapping mice and rats. It’s easy to use and reusable.
  • Baited trap. This easy-to-use trap uses a refillable bait to attract mice and rats.
  • Electronic trap. This battery-powered trap is a quick and effective way to combat mice and rats in indoor areas, and it’s safe around children and pets.
  • Catch-and-release trap. This galvanised mesh cage can be baited and set to trap mice and rats.

When setting up traps, wear gloves as this helps to mask our scent. Set up multiple traps at a time in dark, safe locations. Rodents are cautious – lure them to new trap set-ups by placing food near the trap to entice them.

Tip: If you’ve noticed them enjoying a certain food from your pantry, use that in and around your traps.

Sometimes, however, the problem is bigger than just a few unwanted mice and rats around the home, requiring a solution that is stronger than traps and deterrents. New Zealand is a country that is susceptible to mice plagues, especially during a beech mast season, and occasionally that problem finds its way into our homes and businesses. Rodenticides are effective for dealing with larger infestations.

There are several different types of rodenticides. Natural rodenticides are manufactured using natural products – salt, for example. They are effective, posing little risk to other species, but they usually require more than one use (“feed”) to eliminate rodents and do generally take longer to kill the target species.

First Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (FGAR) use an older chemical technology, but are similar to natural rodenticides (requiring more than one feed for effective elimination and posing reduced risk to other species).

Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGAR) utilise more current chemical technology. They are the most humane option for eliminating rodents; however, they pose a greater risk of harm to non-target species. The rodents die quickly due to the efficiency of the rodenticide so the poison stays in the dead rodents and there is potentially a greater risk of secondary poisoning of non-target species; it’s important to remove any dead rodents that you find.

We choose our products with care, and the products we sell are approved by Australian and New Zealand regulators.

Prevention is the key

Prevention is still your best weapon against unwanted guests. Make sure that all food (including pet food) is sealed in airtight containers. Don’t leave any leftovers lying around or crumbs on the counters, tables or floors. Dispose of food waste in a timely manner.

Keep your outside area (including garden and waste bins) clean and remove any dead plant matter or stagnant water that is accumulating on your property.

Mice (and other pests) can enter your home through small cracks and holes, so check for these regularly and seal them off immediately.

Stay on top of safety

Your safety should come first.

  • Always read and follow the instructions on the label.
  • Always wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when using rodenticides.
  • Remove any dead rodents you find and dispose of them properly. Wear gloves and place the dead mouse or rat in a plastic bag. Seal the bag. Do not push out extra air from the bag, as this may spread germs.

Place the sealed bag in another bag. Seal the second bag and throw it away. Remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Wash or dispose of the gloves.

A clean house can help prevent mice and rats...

Here’s how to achieve the dream clean.

 

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.