The Challenges of Humane Rodent Pest Control


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is an ongoing challenge in and of itself. With so many different rodent types seeking shelter, warmth, and food in our homes, it's not an easy task to figure out how to either remove them (if they're already present inside the house), or deter them. It gets even more complicated when we want to use humane pest control methods.

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Humane removal methods (for rodents already inside the home) mainly consist various types of traps, as well as noise devices, which are ideal for minimizing stress and injury to wildlife:

  • Live trapping, where the rodent is lured into the trap (usually with bait). Once caught in the trap, they cannot get out again until released. Homemade traps can be made as well.

  • 'Quick-kill' snap traps. Methods which kill animals instantly without allowing them time to panic are considered humane. There are other types of traps meant to kill rodents instantly as well.

  • Some professional pest control services have the means to install 'one-way doors'. These doors allow rodents to exit the home, but they cannot re-enter.

  • Ultrasonic or electronic devices that emit sounds that are supposed to be unpleasant to rodents, causing them to leave the home on their own.

  • Some people swear by peppermint oil as a natural way to deter rodents.

Many people much prefer not to cause any animal unnecessary or undue stress or injury, and as such want to turn to humane methods. But every method of pest control has its issues, and humane methods are no exception.

  • Live traps need to be checked very often, ideally at least every couple of hours, more often if you can. It's very distressing for the animal caught inside. They can die from stress or from dehydration in a very short time period. Once you find a rodent in the trap, then the problem becomes: where do you release it? And what to do during the winter, when releasing it may lead to its death?

  • There are many, many different types of humane traps and ultrasonic devices. They are not all the same. You may need to try multiple types before finding one that works. Although not difficult to try various options, the cost of each device can add up.

  • With large infestations, it may take too much time to capture all the rodents. You might ask, 'why is there a time limit?' Well, there isn't -- except that rodents (mice and rats in particular) breed prolifically. And with an already serious infestation, you certainly wouldn't want any more rodents scampering through your home. Even a single pair of breeding rodents could multiply quickly, making things worse for the homeowner.

  • Separating a mother and her babies. Even if the adult rodent is captured, the babies may not be, especially if they are well hidden and too young to be out and about on their own. This can cause two problems: the mom may attempt to find another way into the home in order to get to her babies; and the babies may die without their mom, leaving the bodies to rot in the house.

  • Some rodents are simply difficult to capture. They may be more cautious or more skilled at evading traps. If there are still rodents in the home and the home is sealed up, the ones inside are now trapped in the home - they continue to cause damage until they die. The bodies may be difficult to reach and again, they will decay in the house, potentially causing a terrible odor that's hard to eradicate unless you can actually find and dispose of the body.

  • It's not always easy to know if all the rodents in the home have gone. Homeowners may have to proceed with sealing up entry points into the home before they're sure that the rodents are all gone, and then continue to set traps in case there are any left inside. It is a repetitive and time-consuming process.

Humane rodent pest control takes time and patience but it can be done if the homeowner is willing to check as often as necessary to ensure the rodents have all been removed or driven out of the house. If not, the process begins all over again until they are. At that point, preventive pest control should be the focus to help ensure rodents don't return to the home.