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How do I Choose the Best Rodent Deterrents?

By Elizabeth West
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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Choosing the best rodent deterrents depends on which animals are causing the problem, and the location. Chemical and ultrasonic repellents and traps can help with rodents already in residence. Preventive maintenance will keep rodents outside. Barriers and good storage practices can control rodents in gardens and outbuildings. For extensive infestations, a professional pest control service should be consulted.

Mice and rats can be eliminated with traps and baits, but poisons may not be a good choice for households with children and pets. Some people don’t like to kill the animals, and use live traps that allow transport and release. Natural rodent deterrents are safe and use scents mice dislike but that people find pleasant, such as peppermint oil, balsam, or citronella. These deterrents can be homemade or purchased at stores and online.

Ultrasonic rodent deterrents work by creating a tone that is out of the range of human hearing but audible to rodents. Studies on these devices have shown that animals will vacate the area but soon return when they get used to the sound. The ultrasonic repellents are best used in combination with other pest control methods or as a means of driving them away temporarily so their entrances can be blocked. Owners of guinea pigs and pet rats should remove them while the devices are in use.

Granular rodent deterrents containing naphthalene and sulfur can be used outside to help repel rodents from sheds or barns. If the building is used to store feed or grain for farm animals and pets, food should be kept off the floor so rodents can’t get to it. Overgrown areas of shrubbery and grass harbor rodents, as do piles of clutter in the yard. Once these areas are cleared, outside cracks and holes where pests enter can be sealed, and the granular product should be applied in the affected area.

In the garden, barriers such as fences and scare devices act as rodent deterrents to keep them from food crops. Fences should be placed at least six inches (15.24 cm) or more below the ground so rodents can’t dig underneath. Fake predators, such as plastic owls and motion devices, can help frighten some pests away. Placing strong-smelling plants like onion and marigold around the garden may repel rodents as well.

If rodent deterrents have no effect or the infestation is extreme, a pest control company may have to be called. Rodents and their waste products harbor diseases, are a huge threat to the health and welfare of people and pets, and can cause a great deal of damage to homes and property. Professional exterminators can eliminate rodents and assist homeowners in keeping them out permanently.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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