Rid your house of rodents

Published 1:14 am Sunday, July 15, 2007

Well thank goodness we have received what we have all been praying and hoping for, a good rain. Maybe this week we won’t need to irrigate as much, but we will have to mow and pull weeds.

More water means more disease pressure, so monitor your plants and apply control measures at the first signs of symptoms.

Here are a few questions that may be rare, but ones we get often at the extension office.

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Q. How do I get rid of rodents living in my attic?

The sound of something running over your head and through the walls at night is never good. There are several rodents that can do this; mice, rats and squirrels are common but just a few.

House mice are the most common rodents that can be difficult to maintain. This mouse can get through opening as small as 1/4 inch. Their physical capabilities allow them to enter structures by climbing, gnawing, jumping, or even swimming. House mice usually have between five and 10 litters a year with an average of six mice each litter. The best way to reduce this rodent and others is by eliminating food and water sources. Store all food in cabinets in rodent proof containers or structures. To control these mice you can repellants such as Ro-pel or moth flakes. Toxicants that help control house mice include anticoagulants rodenticides found at most home and hardware stores.

Fumigants are practical but should be used by trained personnel. Trapping is the most practical form of control; snap traps, glue traps, and live traps are all effective forms. Dogs and cats are effective in some scenarios but of limited use when attic infestation is the issue.

Q. What trees or shrubs can I use to hide structures and serve as a privacy barrier?

This may depend of how large of a barrier you are looking for and what you are trying to hide. For small things like pumping sheds or water tanks, any simple combination of plants you like may work.

Choose plants that add some color to your yard that do not grow too large to take away from the natural view of the landscape. However, if you are going more for a barrier approach to block out the view of a roadway, divide property lines, or hide large structures, then you may need to go with a different approach.

I recommend the Leyland Cypress as a beautiful barrier tree. This evergreen tree has soft textured leaves that are pleasant to the touch as well as appealing to the eye. Although Leyland Cypress is often used for screens, hedges and borders, it also makes an excellent specimen or accent plant.

It is also popular as a Christmas tree because of its natural pyramidal growth habit and the fact that it doesn’t shed its leaves. This tree is well suited for our environment and performs well in sun and shade.

Hollies and azaleas are also good options to use for borders, screens or to create privacy areas.

For more information on these topics please visit our Web site at www.msucares.com or call me at 601-445-8201. I look forward to answering your questions next week.

David Carter is director of the Adams County Extension Service.