Risk Management - Pesticides or House Fire?
Were you aware that rodents are a leading cause of house fire? The house mouse can get into your home in many ways. Mice exploit any opening on your home that is 1/4 inch wide, and there are ample opportunities on every home. If they don't find an opening, they can create one with their gnawing abilities. Mice are rodents and once inside, they can gnaw electrical wiring.
We hear that many people try peppermint oil, coffee grounds, sonic noise makers, irish spring soap, dryer sheets, or some other spice that they think repells mice. They say, “no more mice in kitchen, since I started hanging dryer sheets around the house”. Sometimes, we wonder if hanging garlic cloves would be better? Regardless, where the repelled mice go? Often, mice hide in attics spaces where they are free to multiply.
Cats are great mousers! Get a cat! However, cats have one shortcoming - they do not have access to the attic space. This is where we see most populations of mice living and multiplying - cat Free!
Trapping mice is effective, provided that you have the time and determination to manage the traps. It can be a chore to ensure that you traps are ready to fire - indefinately. You can not rely on seeing mice as an indicator of success. Some people live catch mice, and take them for short drives to release in the country. Being caring toward another life is admirable, however live trapping can be very inhumane. Mice do not last too long in confinment, and releaseing them away from their shelter exposes them to stress. There are disadvantages to trapping programs for mice.
Many people are afraid of pesticides, and we understand. Rodenticides are a subset that can be used very safely and responsibly.
We rely on rodenticides. However, we do not choose the most aggressive product on the market. We research and choose a product that has an antidote. Also, we use a product where a large dose has to be consumed before medical care is required. For example, if a dog needs to consume 10% of his body weight to require veterinary treatment, then odds are that this won’t ever occur if only a small amount is utilized. Placement of product is critical too. Bait stations can mitigate risk for non-target animals. We choose bait stations that meet the most stringent requirements.
We love wildlife, and there is concern for hawks & owls that may consume mice that have rodenticide in their system. For this reason, use the products responsibly according to the label. Raptors need to consume multiple effected mice in a short period. Maintaining a constant supply of product at all times, will ensure that you do not experience a population boom of mice - that could be a food source for hawks and owls. Keep grass mowed, and excess debris away from the home to help keep mice away from your home.
As a consumer, choose the method that mitigates the risk to a level you are comfortable. Realize that if you must rely on peppermint oil, then your risk from pesticides may be low, but your risk for house fire is huge!