How to deal with rats, mice and flies

Rodents and flies can make your home feel like it's been invaded and it's not pleasant! Here's some tips to deal with them if you find signs of little visitors.

How to deal with rats, mice and flies

Rats and mice

If you see one rodent, there are sure to be others. Ignore it, and there will soon be many more!

  • Store food – particularly rodent favourites such as chocolate, flour and cereals – in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks that rats and mice can squeeze through with mortar or metal sheeting. Steel wool is a good temporary measure.
  • Dab peppermint oil around entry points. Rats and mice hate it.
  • Keep outdoor areas near the house clean, and clear potential rat hideouts, such as dense clumps of weeds or open compost bins.

Trapping tips

To catch rats and mice, use traps instead of rat poison, which can harm other small creatures.

  • To decide where to put traps, sprinkle flour in likely places and check for footprints.
  • For bait, try pumpkin, Brazil nuts, peanut butter with rolled oats or sunflower seeds.
  • If you think you have more than one rodent, use several traps at once. As a rule of thumb, use twice as many traps as you think you have rodents, in groups of two or three.
  • Check the traps regularly. Set them again in a week's time.
  • In cold weather, rodents like warmth. Cut a small entrance to a box and put a baited trap inside. Check it daily. Don't move the trap until you've caught your rat.

Flies

If flies are a constant nuisance, check that you are not attracting them or making it easy for them to get inside your home.

  • Are there screens on your doors and windows?
  • Have you wiped spills from the kitchen counters?
  • Has uncovered food been left out?
  • Has the dog left its bone on the doormat?
  • Is there something smelly in your garbage cans or recycling bins?
  • Is the cat litterbox dirty?

No-spray tactics

  • One annoying fly? Use a fly swatter.
  • Trap flies with sticky fly-papers (from hardware shops).
  • To repel flies, try burning basil, lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil in a vaporizer.
  • Wipe mirrors and glass with a little vinegar to stop flies from landing on them and leaving spots.
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