Mice and rats in New Zealand: Threats and Tips
Mice and rats are one of the most common pests that impact Auckland homeowners, particularly in cooler months when they seek warmth, food and shelter. When rodents invade a home they often threaten the health of the occupants and damage the property. This is because rodents can carry various diseases and parasites which contaminates food and surfaces, and they will often chew through various materials such as insulation and wiring, and eat food – both unpackaged and packaged.
Understanding the threat
Rodents will commonly enter a home through cracks and holes, and can also make their way inside through drainage pipes and similar openings. Once inside they can be very elusive, contaminating any area or food they touch, and leaving a trail of urine or feces which also carries serious diseases.
It is widely known that the Black Death or the plague, which swept through Europe in the 14th century, was caused by rats carrying the bacterium Yersinia pestis. However these animals have also been known to carry many other diseases that infect humans.
In New Zealand, rats and mice have been known to carry LCM (lymphocytic choriomeningitis), which is a viral infection; salmonellosis, a bacterial infection; mycoplasma, a type of bacteria; leptospirosis, a bacterial disease also known as Weil’s disease; streptobacillus, another type of bacteria; and dysentry, a gastrointestinal disorder. They can also carry parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Rats are considered mature in three to four months; whereas mice are mature in six weeks. Rats and mice produce up to ten babies each litter and can have between six to ten litters every year. The reproduction rate is startling if correct rodent control is not put in place.
What you can do about it
Once rats and mice enter a home they are more difficult to get rid of. This is because these animals are naturally quick, clever and resourceful. In addition, they are known to have high reproduction rates, which only accentuates the problem.
The best approach to securing a home against rodents is to have a combination of proactive and reactive measures in place. We recommend investing in a pest control service which will ensure the problem is taken care of quickly, efficiently and humanely.
In the meantime, you can set your own traps and bait to catch the rodents. Be sure to use these options safely as bait will contain chemicals and pesticides that are very harmful to humans. Traps should be placed in dark, sheltered areas and in many spots around the home as rats and mice will often nibble a food source and move on. If you find droppings or signs of rodents, clean the area thoroughly and disinfect any surfaces, and dispose of any food items that have been eaten or contaminated.
Preventative measures include doing a sweep of your property to see if there are any cracks or holes in your walls, roof or joinings that can be filled – remember that rats and mice can enter spaces as narrow as a pencil. Be sure to also trim back any trees or bushes from your home to ensure these rodents can’t enter from above, and stop rats and mice infesting the garden area by ensuring the area is clean and secure.
While an invasion of rats or mice can be unpleasant and difficult to manage, targeted, proven methods can restore your home to being pest free and help you to keep it that way.
Most Common Rodents You Will Find In NZ
Norway Rats (Rattus Norvegicus), Below.
Roof Rats (Rattus Rattus), Below.
Pacific Rats, Below.
Mice – Mus Musculus.
How We Control Rats & Mice
All species require similar treatment. An external and internal baiting programme with anticoagulant rodenticides using tamper proof bait stations. Anticoagulant rodenticide reduces the blood’s ability to clot, causing an internal haemorrhage.
The application of tracking powder can also be used, in addition to various non-chemical options such as the eMitter system or rat catchers (traps and glue boards).
Treatments will be applied in areas that rodents often frequent. Alternative treatment options may be used if your technician feels that it is unsafe to enter any area e.g. a ceiling cavity.
Our technicians will not return to your property to remove rodents after they have died. Once a rodent has eaten a lethal dose of bait, they often leave the property in search of water.
Rodenticides are lethal to dogs and harmful to humans – THE ANTIDOTE IS VITAMIN K1.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten bait, immediately take your animal to the nearest vet practice. Inform staff that Vitamin K1 is required urgently.
Take anyone who may have consumed bait immediately to the nearest medical centre, or call the National Poisons 24-hour free phone 0800 764 766.
If you need help with rats or mice with your home of office please contact us today and ask for our Rat Control Auckland special.