A year ago today I wrote a post about humanely hunting Mr. Mole. As fall nears and you’ve finally gotten your garden and lawn looking just the way you want it, you may have already dealt with rodents and pests. But as the weather turns, more and more animals are trying to come inside to your nice, warm living rooms. Spiders and bugs are migrating into our house and my wife is not pleased. I am also keeping an eye out for mice and rats in our garage, just in case the turning whether drives them into seek shelter. But should we destroy these animals for seeking shelter? I would suggest not. Schools and large buildings can often experience bigger issues with animals indoors than homes do. Here are some recommendations on how to humanely handle animals in schools:
Effective, humane methods of rodent control do not target the animals themselves but instead target the conditions that attract the animals to certain areas. Taking away their sources of food and shelter is the only sure way to deter these animals. Killing them will only cause others to move into the newly formed “vacancy.” The problem of rodent intrusion is largely preventable by maintaining clean, sanitary conditions and plugging holes or cracks where mice or rats might enter a building. Here are a few simple tips that your school’s staff can follow to prevent rodent infestations:
- Deter rodents from places that can’t be mouse- or rat-proofed with a mixture of salad oil, garlic, horseradish, and cayenne pepper. Let this sit for four days, then strain it into a spray bottle and spray it on the desired area. Cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil work well, as do moth balls.
- Keep counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets free of crumbs or food droppings.
- Keep piles of wood, bushes, and other plants about 1.5 feet away from the school in order to allow a clearing between them and the building.
- Restrict rodents’ access to other sources of food, such as birdfeeders, pet food, garden seed, and fertilizers.
- Seal holes larger than 0.25 inch in diameter, cracks in the walls and floors, and spaces around doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures.
- Store all food and garbage in well-sealed containers made of materials that can’t be gnawed through, such as metal, ceramic, or glass.
If traps are needed to remove mice or rats, humane box-type traps are available from humane societies and hardware stores and at PETACatalog.com.