Rodent Pest Control - Rats and Mice Treatment and Removal

Rat Pest Control and Rodent Treatment

Rats and mice are extremely common pests, and are largely due to rodents' ability to move, reproduce, and survive better than most species of animal. If they aren't sneaking in through openings to the outside, they can also find their way through the plumbing pipe highway as these critters are capable of squeezing through extremely narrow pipes and are excellent swimmers.

Although it's fairly easy to identify a rat or mouse from any other animal, there is a substantial difference in how different types of rodents act.

Most Common Rodent Species Found in South-East Queensland

There are three main types of Rodents that we encounter in Australia (that are an issue). These are the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat and the House Mouse. Whilst the House Mouse is much easier to identify (being the smallest), there are three main differences between the two rats that help tell them apart. These are the two most common rat pest species around the world and very common in South-East Queensland. 

To help explain, we recently created a series of videos about DIY Pest Control which included a video where Tom Aldridge, the owner of Suburban, explains most common species of Rodents in the South-East Queensland area, which we thought we would share. If you are interested in seeing the complete series of DIY videos, you can view them on YouTube here.

Norway Rat

Norway Rat | Image courtesy of AEPMA

The Norway Rat (sometimes referred to as Sewer Rat or Brown Rat), is more of the floor scurrying type of rat. It has a more heavy set body with small eyes, ears and a blunt nose. It tends to be brown or grey, but colour can vary from black to white and it often has a dirty white colour on the belly. The Norway Rat has shaggy fur. The Norway Rat's tail is shorter and thicker than the Roof Rat. The Norway Rat doesn't climb but enjoys the lower parts of a building. It loves wharves, warehouses, tunnels, drains and sewers. Chances are if you've seen a rat in your kitchen or garage, it is most likely a Norway rat. They are nasty and like feeding on meat and scraps. They have large droppings which are pointed at one end.

Roof Rat

Roof Rat

The Roof Rat (also sometimes referred to as Ship Rat) is quite a sleek rat and its fur is smooth. The Roof Rat is more slender than the Norway Rat, with big ears and eyes. It is usually black in colour and has a tail longer than its body. The Roof Rat is surprisingly good at climbing. It can be up to 45cm in length including the tail. It's not uncommon to see Roof Rats scurry up certain bushy trees for shelter. Roof Rats (as the name suggests) like to build nests above ground and can be found in the upper areas of houses such as roof voids. They like eating meat scraps and proteins but will essentially eat just about anything if they are hungry enough. They are nocturnal and forage for food at night. You might hear them scuttling in wall cavities, and they can chew through plastic and even metal pipes to get to water. They like the warmth and in South-East Queensland can be found in roof cavities. Outside, they nest in trees, shrubs, and wood piles.As well as droppings and urine being a health hazard, roof rats can also cause damage to your home as they chew on electrical wires; gnaw on wood beams; chew on pipes to water; and tramp down insulation.

House Mouse

House Mouse | Image courtesy of Szasz-Fabian Jozsef

The House Mouse is found all over Australia, and in South-East Queensland they are active all year round. The House Mouse is sometimes referred to as the Field Mouse. House mice are usually brown and have a musky smell. They have small feet, but large ears. They are small - about 75mm in length with tails of around 80mm. They are nocturnal, so you are more likely to see them out and about at night. They are not fussy where they live - habitats include anywhere they can hide and find food. Their favourite food source is cereals. Mouse droppings are frequent and pointed in appearance (around 5mm long). They mature quickly and are sexually active in about 12 weeks. Worse still, they are a pest because their breeding cycle is short and they have heaps of babies, about 4 - 16 babies per litter and up to 8 litters per year... aaaggghhh!

Rodent Habits

Rodents need three things to survive - access to food, water, and shelter. Having said that, they need very little food to survive, and can make do with nearly anything they can find. Rats only need one to two ounces of food every night and two to four ounces of water. Mice need much less food and don't even need water every day.

Sydney and Melbourne both experienced a change in rat behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Age has reported that during the lockdown when cafes and restaurants were closed or restricted, rats went in search of food moved out of the cities and into the suburbs and feasted around people's homes. Takeaway food containers and food packaging are very enticing and gave rodents access to abundant food sources.

Like the vast majority of creatures when provoked, rats can lash out aggressively to protect themselves. Getting bitten by a rat isn't a pleasant experience and requires medical attention. Rat bites, contrary to popular belief, aren't likely to transmit the rabies virus to humans. Regardless, bite marks are not pleasant, and a bite-free human is a happy human so try not to corner these critters and grab at them.

1. Noises:

Rats and Mice are particularly active at night. If you listen closely enough, they can often be heard squeaking or running up and down inside your wall cavities and across your roof. You might also hear them dragging wiring along the roof; which can be particularly concerning.

2. Gnawing:

Rats and mice will constantly be chewing on things to grind down their teeth as they are always growing. This means they will be chewing on timber in your roof, metal and wiring/conduit. Chewing on wiring and conduit in the roof can be very dangerous as it can result in exposed wiring, which as we all know can short out our power or even worse; lead to fires.

3. Nests:

Whilst most nesting sites are located where Rodents can live without disturbance such as roof voids, these can also be found outside. Keep an eye out for nesting materials such as paper, insulation.

4. Rub marks:

Rodents will leave rub marks on walls and surfaces where they track into areas on a regular basis. Their fur leaves greasy smear marks (which often just looks like brown marks) on walls and surfaces and can be an indication of a more established colony which might mean a bad rat or mouse infestation.

5. Smells:

Musty smells can often be experienced in the areas where Rodents live (excreting large volumes of urine throughout the roof).

6. Rodent Droppings:

Often the first sign of a rodent infestation. Just like their size comparison, rat droppings can be quite large (up to 12mm in length) and mice droppings being quite small (between 2 & 6mm in length). Don't confuse mice droppings for Gecko droppings!!!

Effective Mice and Rat Removal Methods

When it comes to rodent control, traps are one of the oldest tricks in the book, and some types are even used by professional pest control experts. Mechanically spring loaded traps and glue traps both are very effective at getting rid of rats and mice. Traps also have the added benefit of knowing whether they are working because, well, if the trap has a dead rodent in it, you've got it. 

In order to use rat traps successfully, however, you must firstly eliminate food sources. When rats find a source of food , they tend to prefer the safety and security of a guaranteed meal rather than explore new potentially dangerous options. You can also eliminate their sources to water by covering your drain covers, fixing leaky faucets, and reducing the amount of open water outside.

As for the bait for your trap, rodents are not particularly picky. Some of the best rat bait foods include bacon grease and peanut butter.

While traps are an effective means of neutralising a rat or mouse by turning a live one into a dead one, the downside is that you now have to deal with getting rid of a dead rodent. This task isn't suited for those that are particularly easily nauseated for obvious reasons. If the dead rodent isn't found for a few days, it is likely to produce a dreadful odour – especially in hot roof cavities being battered by the sun all day. These traps also present a health risk to the handler.

While they can work, poison traps aren't as effective because rodents tend to only try a little bit of a food to make sure it doesn't make them sick before consuming it in potentially lethal doses.

Hire a Rat Exterminator

Hiring an expert in dealing with and removing pests can easily make your rodent problems go away with limited interaction with the live or dead critters.

Contacting a pest management expert is not only best for those anxiety-inducing moments of finding or hearing rats or mice, but scheduling regular appointments can keep your house free and clear of the myriad of pests Mother Nature likes to throw into our homes.

At Suburban Pest Management, we offer effective rodent treatments for infestations, as well as Pest Management Programs for ongoing protection against rodents for both residential and commercial properties.

Suburban's Rodent Control Service Areas

Suburban Pest Management has built a great reputation over more than 27 years for quality residential and commercial rodent pest control services, and our customer base extends across the whole of the South-East Queensland area, including:

• Brisbane Northside

• Brisbane Southside

• Moreton Bay 

• Logan

• Gold Coast

• Sunshine Coast

• Scenic Rim

• Ipswich

• Kilcoy 

Rat and Mouse Prevention Tips

The absolute most important way to get rid of rodents in the future is to make sure that they can never enter your home to begin with.

1. Keep your pantry completely closed and food packaged

Rats are built to survive, and the distinction between what is “food” and what isn't food can be very broad. This is why it's imperative to make sure your spaces are extremely clean and food stowed away in appropriate food containers to get rid of the little feasting opportunities that keep rats and mice coming back.

Rodents come with teeth that are capable of chewing through a vast majority of material. Savvy home owners do a great job at preventing any future rodent problems by eliminating access to any potential food sources.

2. Put a lid on it

Your garbage cans inside and outside the house must be completely sealed. Rodents have an extremely liberal approach when it comes to the food they eat, and just because you haven't thrown out a full meal doesn't mean rodents won't make use of whatever they can find.

3. Block all entranceways

Perhaps the best rodent prevention control is to block any potential means for rats and mice accessing your home. This may require you to play detective and do a full inspection of your home to check for whatever crevices and cracks that could be a potential entryway. Doing so will not only ensure that your home is optimised for rodent control, but it will also prevent a bunch of other pests from coming in.

  • When you find any potential gaps, seal them with an exterior-grade sealant or cement
  • Cover large areas around pipes with mesh and seal them with cement
  • Insert metal panels at the bottom of windows and wooden doors to prevent rodents from chewing their way in
  • Cover ventilated areas with mesh.

4. Keep your home exterior neat

Rodents like to use exterior trees, weeds, and other vegetation as places of temporary shelter before entering a more permanent dwelling, like your home. Tree branches provide an exceptionally easy way for rodents to climb into your home. Therefore, keep your grass, bushes, trees, and other vegetation near your home trimmed tight. Consider using concrete or rock landscaping around the perimeter of your home to keep a distance from exterior vegetation.

5. Don't hoard cardboard

Cardboard boxes make for excellent dwellings for rodents, and homeowners who leave cardboard boxes laying around their garage are pretty much inviting rodents to sleep over.

6. Schedule regular pest management

Once you've ensured that your home is at a low risk for rodent infestations, it would be wise to schedule regular appointments with a pest management professional to ensure that your home is rodent free.

Contact Suburban Pest for your Rodent Removal and Control Needs

You now know more about rats and mice, and by following these tips, you will be able to prevent rodent infestations in future. While setting traps and hiring pest technicians are great steps in your rodent control journey, it's very important you take proactive measures to ensure rats and/or mice aren't coming back at any given time.

Pest control is more than simply getting rid of pests, it's about securing your peace of mind. It is a major worry when you see rats or mice scurry from end to end across your kitchen, or when listening to the pitter patter of tiny footsteps in the roof keeps you awake at night.

For a limited time, we are offering a special online-only offer. For a standard size domestic dwelling, we can treat rodents for $199. Prices vary depending on the size of your property and the severity of the infestation. For an additional $160, you can add on our Comprehensive Pest Solution which treats cockroaches, ants, spiders, and silverfish. Please note our 12 month service warranty is offered on our Comprehensive Pest Solution but not on our Rodent treatments.

If you discover mice at your house, get help from the rodent experts at Suburban. Give us a call on 1300 65 65 72 or book our online special using the Book a Time link.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rodent droppings are often the first signs of an infestation. Rat droppings can be quite large (up to 12mm in length) and mice droppings being quite small (between 2 & 6mm in length). Don't confuse mice droppings for Gecko droppings!!! Other signs of a rodent infestation to look out for include damage caused by gnawing such as on electrical wires, smears on walls, or you might hear scuttling noises in wall cavities or in the roof.

There are three main types of Rodents that we encounter in Australia (that are an issue), including the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat and the House Mouse.

The Roof Rat (also sometimes referred to as the Ship Rat) is quite a sleek rat and its fur is smooth. The Roof Rat is more slender than the Norway Rat, with big ears and eyes. It is usually black in colour and has a tail longer than its body. It can be up to 45cm in length including the tail. Roof Rats (as the name suggests) like climbing, build nests above ground, and can be found in the upper areas of houses such as roof voids. They like eating meat scraps and proteins but will essentially eat just about anything if they are hungry enough. They are nocturnal and forage for food at night.

The Norway Rat (sometimes referred to as the Sewer Rat or Brown Rat), has a more heavy set body than the Roof Rat with small eyes, ears and a blunt nose. It tends to be brown or grey, but colour can vary from black to white and it often has a dirty white colour on the belly. The Norway Rat has shaggy fur and its tail is shorter and thicker than the Roof Rat. The Norway Rat doesn't climb but enjoys the lower parts of a building. Chances are if you've seen a rat scurrying across the floor in your kitchen or garage, it is most likely a Norway rat. They are nasty and like feeding on meat and scraps. They have large droppings which are pointed at one end.

The House Mouse (sometimes referred to as the Field Mouse) is active in South-East Queensland all year round. House mice are usually brown and have a musky smell. They have small feet, but large ears. They are small - about 75mm in length with tails of around 80mm. They are nocturnal, and are not fussy where they live - habitats include anywhere they can hide and find food. Mouse droppings are frequent and pointed in appearance (around 5mm long). They mature quickly and are sexually active in about 12 weeks. They have a short breeding cycle and can have heaps of babies, about 4 - 16 babies per litter and up to 8 litters per year.

Rodents can cause structural damage to any type of building including homes, apartments, and any kind of commercial premises, as a result of their gnawing and nest building. They can chew through wiring and they build their nests from materials including cardboard, wood, paper, and cloth, to name a few.

Rodents need three things to survive - access to food, water, and shelter. However, they need only a very small amount of food to survive, and can make do with nearly anything they can find. Rats only need one to two ounces of food every night and two to four ounces of water. Mice need much less food and don't even need water every day.

Rodents can transmit disease to humans through being bitten or direct contact with faeces or urine. Humans can also get sick when rats contaminate food, or even when if they run across benchtops where food is later prepared.

The main ways to prevent rodents include eliminating food sources and preventing entry. To eliminate food sources, make sure your kitchen spaces including benchtops are extremely clean and food stowed away in appropriate food containers. Outside, make sure your bin is properly sealed. To minimise ways of getting into your home, make sure you block any potential entryways such as holes or cracks. Outside, keep your grass, bushes, trees, and other vegetation near your home trimmed tight and don't hoard cardboard. Lastly, schedule regular appointments with a pest management professional to keep your home pest-free.

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