Flooding in recent weeks has resulted in rodents being displaced and finding refuge amongst Australian households.
Photo credit: Dubbo resident, Bradley Wilshire
Photo description: 500 plus mice he caught in one night
Prior to this deluge, mice were found to be abundant in rural New South Wales, Queensland, and Victorian areas. La Niña, a weather event including long periods of rain, provided ideal conditions for grass seed and crops to flourish, resulting in a population boom in mice.
Rats and mice look for food, shelter, and warmth. Contrary to general thinking that floods will ‘wash out’ rodent populations, rats can swim great distances in search of their new home and will make use of storm debris as resting spots for their food and breeding journey. They are resourceful in entering homes by searching for cracks greater than the size of a 5 cent coin, using damaged pipework, and drains.
Rodents, unwanted tenants
In your home, rodents can be relentless in their search for food. You may begin to identify signs of rodent activity in your home. This may include a single sighting or a combination of the following:
- Running Tracks or Footprints
- Rub Marks
To avoid rats and mice after periods of heavy rain, it is recommended to:
- Store food in plastic or metal containers, and regularly clean under stoves, refrigerators, and cupboards.
- Fit bristle (or brush) strips to the bottom of doors to prevent entry, especially in older properties where the door fit may not be snug.
- Seal holes around existing or new pipes with coarse-grade stainless steel wire wool and caulking (pliable sealant).
- Check that pipework holes are sealed. Any holes that are larger than 5mm will allow rodents to gain access because their jaws can fit into tight spaces like these and quickly chew larger openings that allow them to enter homes.
- Cover air bricks and vents with fine galvanised wire mesh, especially if they are damaged.
- Fix damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps.
- Trim tree branches back from the house and where possible avoid plants growing up the sides of your property. Vines, shrubs or overhanging branches can be used for rodents to get onto roofs. Overgrown vegetation close to the walls will offer them shelter and potential nesting sites.
- Keep grass mown short to reduce shelter and seeds for food. Ideally, leave a gap between the building foundations and the garden.
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