Let’s face it – the last thing anyone wants to deal with is rodents in the house. Whether it’s a rat or a mouse, either can pose a significant threat to both your health and the structural integrity of your home. Are rats worse than mice? Which is the worst pest to have in your home? Let’s settle the rat vs mouse debate here.

Rats and mice vary in appearance with rats having long, hairless, scaly tails and mice having long, hairy tails. A rat’s snout is more blunt than that of a mouse where a mouse’s snout is more triangular. Mice are significantly smaller than rats; mice can fit in openings the size of a dime while rats can fit into openings the size of a quarter. Because of their smaller size, mice can access more areas of your home and move through them more easily. Rats are more aggressive than mice and pose more of a risk for biting. Mice are afraid of rats because rats will kill and eat them; in fact, you can use rat odor to help deter mice.

Rats and mice both carry rodent-borne diseases that can be serious or even fatal to humans. They also both trigger allergies and asthma in affected people. Both species contaminate homes with their urine and feces and both carry fleas and ticks that can also spread diseases. Both rats and mice can chew through walls, insulation, and even electrical wiring putting you at risk for fire.

Whether you’re dealing with rats or mice, prevention is key. Here are some rodent prevention tips you can use to keep these pests out of your home.

  • Check for gaps or holes in your home. Make sure to check:
    • under cabinets and appliances
    • inside closets
    • around the fireplace
    • around doors and windows
    • around pipes and vents
    • in the attic, basement and crawlspace
    • in floor drains
    • on the roof, gables, and eaves
    • around foundations
    • around utility lines
  • Fill in small holes with steel wool; put caulk around it to keep it in place.
  • For larger holes use lath screen or metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting to fill.
  • Fix gaps in skirting and use flashing around the base of the house.
  • Set traps around the home. Choose traps appropriately depending on mouse or rat.
  • Place traps in outbuildings as well as inside the home.
  • Store food in plastic or metal containers.
  • Clean spills immediately.
  • Wash dishes after use.
  • Keep outdoor grills clean.
  • Store pet food in plastic or metal containers.
  • Don’t leave pet food bowls out overnight.
  • Keep birdfeeders away from the house.
  • Use plastic or metal trash cans with tight lids.
  • Keep compost bins at least 100 feet from the house.
  • Empty the trash on a regular basis.
  • Clean trash cans with soap and water.
  • Keep grass and shrubbery cut and trimmed.

If you suspect you have a rodent problem or any other pest problem, contact a professional pest control company who can evaluate your home and provide you with the most up to date treatment options for your pest issue.