Commensal rodents constitute a major pest problem. Mice and rats are habitually nocturnal and secretive and rarely seen during the day, except when infestation are heavy. It is therefore necessary to interpret signs of activities properly in order to plan management work.

Rats eat almost everything man and livestock use as food. They contaminate much more than they eat, resulting in products that must be destroyed. Mice and rats prefer to run along walls or between things where they can keep their whiskers in contact with side surfaces.

They are color blind, so any distinctive coloring of poison baits does not reduce their acceptance. Rodents leave odor trials of urine, droppings and other secretions which mark trails, delineate territories and detect sexually active mates. They are accustomed to the smell of humans, so human odor on baits and traps may not repel them.

Mice can survive with little or no free water, although they readily drink water when it is available. They obtain their water from the food they eat. During daily activities, a mice normally travels an area averaging 10 to 30 feet in diameter.

Mice may breed year round, but when living outdoors, they breed mostly in the spring and fall.  A female may have 5 to 10 litters per year (up to 50 young a year).



The most important fact to know is that rodents must have adequate food and harborage to live and to multiply. Removing or reducing available food and harborage with good housekeeping, storage and maintenance practices will have a great impact on the rodent population.

Failure to combine the necessary elements of a sanitation program will result in the failure of the rodent management program, in spite of baiting and trapping activities. Good housekeeping enhances the baiting program because there is less food for the rodents to eat and they are more likely to eat the rodenticide.

Housekeeping is therefore the backbone of a rodent control program.

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