rodent infestation

To Catch Or To Kill (Part 2)

Following up on last week’s blog post, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of comments sent in favor of the “catch and release” school when it comes to eliminating rodents. Since my last blog, I’m pleased to report that we have not had any other unwanted visitors of the rodent family. It’s obvious that the pesky creature found its way into the house when I left the garage and kitchen doors open.

That leads me to today’s issue—how to control pests without poisons. Among the do’s and don’ts of pest control, create physical barriers that will prevent these pests from entering the homes. It’s obvious that they do not need an invitation to come into your home nor will they always choose to come in through the front door. To create these physical barriers, it’s important to close off entryways and hiding places for these pests. You should caulk cracks and crevices around cabinets and baseboards. Use wire mesh to fill holes around where pipes go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Although they might seem like very small spaces, openings along pipes serve as excellent pathways for these unwanted creatures.

Since National Poison Prevention Week is fast approaching, I wanted to share additional information on preventing poisonings in your home.  These accidental poisonings can be prevented if we store household pesticide products away from the reach of children and pets. By using pesticides properly, we can keep our family and pets safe.

And for those of you who were asking about my cats last week, here’s an update. After the raucous created from capturing the small mouse in the toy box and dumping everything on the deck, the three cats made their appearance flexing there muscles. Where were they when we needed them the most? It really was a comical scene.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

To Catch Or To Kill, That Is the Question

While I was on my way home, my daughter Mariam franticly called me because she had seen a small mouse running in our family room. I told her that I would stop by the supermarket to buy mouse traps. She insisted that we catch the mouse live and dispose of it. She didn’t want to kill it or use any poisons that might hurt our three house cats. In fact, the scene was quite comical because in our time of need, the three cats were no where to be found!

I wasn’t worried about having a rodent infestation in the house because we observe integrated pest management practices. Furthermore, I hope that the cats’ presence should serve as a natural deterrent. I suppose that the small field mouse, which seemed to be as frantic as my daughter, must have entered the warm house while I brought the garbage can and recycling bin inside. Yes, I had left the kitchen door open in the process, me bad.

When I got home with two sets of mouse traps (including a live-catch one) my daughter kept insisting that she didn’t want to kill the mouse. Surprisingly, while the mouse was scurrying around the family room trying to escape, it jumped into a box full of toys. My husband quickly took the box, dumped it out on the deck, and the small mouse leaped to freedom.

So what are the do’s and don’ts to get rid of mice and other pests in the home? Simple tips include removing sources of food, water and shelter. If you have to use pesticides, read the label first and keep children and pets away while these pesticides are being applied. In the home, traps and baits pose less risks to children and pets. Nonetheless, place them in areas where your children or pets cannot reach. In fact, the use of rat poison in the home leads to accidental poisonings of children on a yearly basis. The Agency has announced stricter policy guidelines to prevent rodenticide poisonings.

I must confess that while the mouse trapping scenario was hilarious this weekend, rodents and other pests in the home are not a laughing matter. They present many health risks and need to be handled properly. With preventive measures, you can keep everyone at home safe and the pests far away.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.