Pennsylvania is home to several species of rodents that are known for invading homes, the most common of which include white footed mice, house mice, and Norway rats. While it could be argued that rats are the most reviled, and perhaps, the most filthy of all rodent house pests, they are not the most common; instead, house mice establish infestations within homes and buildings more often than any other rodent pest in the US. Both house mice and Norway rats are among the most economically significant pests in the world, as their tremendously sharp teeth allow them to chew through a variety of materials, such as drywall, furniture upholstery, electrical wires, utility cables, insulation and structural wood.
Norway rats and house mice use their sharp incisors to shred soft materials, mainly paper and fabric, in order to create nests within concealed indoor areas, such as wall voids and attic spaces. Since Norway rats and house mice are generally nocturnal, and are highly capable of maintaining a covert presence within homes, homeowners usually become aware of an infestation only after encountering certain signs of a rodent presence. In many cases, visually spotting or smelling indoor mouse or rat droppings and urine is the first sign that a home has become infested with rodents.
Fresh droppings are moist and dark, while old droppings are dull-colored and brittle. Naturally, the state of rat or mice droppings can reveal how long an infestation has lasted, or if an infestation is still active. For example, a substantial amount of both old and new droppings indicates that an infestation is both active, and extensive. Rodent droppings are most abundant near runways, burrow entrances and at feeding sites. The indoor path that rats and mice repeatedly take between their nesting sites and food sources are known as “runways.” In heavy-traffic areas within a home, runways run along trim where walls and flooring meet, and in low-traffic areas, like basements and attics, runways may extend into open areas. Since rats and mice have relatively poor eyesight, and tend to leave their nests at night when it is dark, they are unable to see snap traps located along walls. Snap traps should be placed on the floor against trim so that they form a “T” shape against the wall, but reading the label on retail snap trap products is important, as traps that catch mice will not work to catch rats.
Have you ever used snap traps to capture and kill indoor mice?