Toronto’s Rodents: What to Do When They’re Living with You
Rodent infestations increase during the winter months, as rodents move indoors to seek food, warmth, and shelter.
This generally begins in the early fall as temperatures begin to drop, and is anticipated to be worse than usual this year, as Toronto rodent infestations are on the increase.
Rodents are surprisingly good at hiding from a home’s occupants, and many homeowners are completely unaware that they have rodents inhabiting their homes until a sizable infestation has developed.
If you find that you’re sharing your home with a nuisance rodent population, you should take steps to both eliminate the population and make your home less habitable for rodents. Here’s a guide covering DIY rodent control options, and when it might be time to call in a rodent–extermination professional.
Signs You Have Rodents in Your Toronto Home
Mice and rats are the most common nuisance rodents in Toronto, particularly in urban areas. Many homeowners are unaware that they have mouse or rat infestations for some time.
It’s therefore wise to keep an eye out for rodent infestations by looking for the following signs:
- Gnaw marks: Marks from mice and rats gnawing on food packaging, furniture, wood or clothes
- Droppings: Mouse and rat droppings are pelleted, and can be either soft and moist or firm and hard. The droppings are rod-shaped and pointed at the ends.
- Rub marks: House mice and rats often leave oily rub marks on walls and flooring along which they travel.
- Burrows: Mice and rats burrow using nesting material such as textiles and insulation
- Runways: House mice and rats usually use the same pathways to travel through the house. These are sometimes visible, with rub marks, droppings and sometimes footprints
- Odour: The odour of urine could become noticeable if there is a particularly large number of mice and rats in a particular area.
- Actual rodents: If you actually see a mouse or rat scurrying across the floor, there is likely a family of rodents hiding out of sight.
DIY Rodent Control Options for Torontonians
If you have a rodent infestation, you’ll want to make your home less habitable to these unwanted furry guests by eliminating points of entry and sources of food and water. You’ll also want to eliminate the current population, primarily by using rodent traps.
Home Maintenance: Remove Sources of Entry, Habitation, and Food
Take the following steps to make your home less inviting to its rodent occupants:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors
- Repair damaged screens
- Screen vents and chimney openings
- Seal cracks and holes on the home’s exterior
- Store food and garbage in vermin-proof containers
- Keep your home clean and tidy, get rid of food spillage such as crumbs or dropped food
- Eliminate moisture sources, including dripping sinks, leaking pipes, and clogged drains
The safest way to eliminate an unwanted rodent population is to use rodent traps. There are many types of rodent traps available, some of which are no-kill traps that allow you to safely release the rodent, although you must always do so several miles away from your home.
Regardless of the type of rodent trap used, the following rodent trapping tips will ensure successful trapping:
- Use plenty of traps
- Bait traps with desirable food types such as peanut butter, unsalted nuts, cake icing and raw uncooked meat such as bacon
- Place traps in high-activity areas such as runways, holes and food sources
- Place traps touching a wall, as rodents run along walls to avoid detection
- Rodents are often shy of new objects. Place unset traps for a week or two before setting them, which will increase your chance of a successful catch
Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know that they have a mouse or rat infestation until the population has gotten out of control, and is too sizable to manage using DIY extermination.
A professional rodent exterminator will be able to effectively eliminate your rodent infestation for good, and prevent future infestations by protecting your home from rodent entry and habitation.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert and a regular guest on HGTV. He is renowned in the industry as an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions. Mackie and business partner Sandy Costa were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.