Picture Source: beigephotos


The Humaneness Of Rodent Pest Control by G Mason, Animal Behaviour Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK, and K E Littin, Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, Massey University, New Zealand. Published in the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare's Journal, Animal Welfare 2003, 12: 000-000

Humane Considerations in Rodent Control, by Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

How humane are our pest control tools?  (09-11326) MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Technical Paper No: 2011/01 Prepared for MAFBNZ Operational Research By Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand

How to Handle House Mice, Humanely! An instructional video designed to solve ethical quandaries which arise in the pantry. Shot and edited by Fabien Tepper of SentientCincinnati.com

  • Rodent-Proof Construction and Exclusion Methods by Rex O. Baker, California State Polytechnic University, Gerald R. Bodman, University of Nebraska, Robert M. Timm, Hopland Research and Extension Center, U. of California
  • Weep Hole Covers
    Weep holes are spaces left between some bricks in brick walls for two purposes: "It provides an opening to allow water to drain out through the bottom of the wall. 2. It is intended to allow ventilating air to enter behind the wall to help dry the structure...Weep holes do have some serious drawbacks though. Varying according to local codes, typically these 3/8” openings are spaced apart every 3rd or 4th brick along the bottom of the wall. These openings are equivalent to a tiny sized welcome mat and open door. They are large enough to allow mice, roaches and other pests to enter the structure of the house." http://masonrysolutions.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/what-are-weep-holes-and-do-i-need-them/ Sources for Weep Hole Covers:
    Tamlyn Weep Hole Cover
    Rid-O-Mice Weep Hole Covers
  • Below are extracts from House Mice, by Robert M. Timm, Superintendent and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Hopland Research & Extension Center, University of California


Native to central Asia, this species arrived in North America with settlers from Europe and from other points of origin....

Unlike Norway and roof rats, house mice can survive with little or no free water, although they readily drink water when it is available. They obtain their water from the food they eat. An absence of liquid water or food of adequate moisture content in their environment may reduce their breeding potential. ...

Mice have poor eyesight, relying on their hearing and their excellent senses of smell, taste, and touch...

Nests are constructed of shredded fibrous materials such as paper, burlap, or other similar items, and generally have the appearance of a “ball” of material loosely woven together. They are usually 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 cm) in diameter...

Litters of 5 or 6 young are born 19 to 21 days after mating, although females that conceive while still nursing may have a slightly longer gestation period. Mice are born hairless and with their eyes closed. They grow rapidly, and after 2 weeks they are covered with hair and their eyes and ears are open. They begin to make short excursions from the nest and eat solid food at 3 weeks. Weaning soon follows, and mice are sexually mature at 6 to 10 weeks of age.

Mice may breed year-round, but when living outdoors, they breed mostly in spring and fall. A female may have 5 to 10 litters per year. Mouse populations can therefore grow rapidly under good conditions, although breeding and survival of young decline markedly when population densities become high...

Studies indicate that during its daily activities, a mouse normally travels an area averaging 10 to 30 feet (3 m to 9 m) in diameter. Mice seldom travel farther than this to obtain food or water...

A house mouse produces about 36,000 droppings in a year’s time...

Mice are somewhat wary animals and can be frightened by unfamiliar sounds or sounds coming from new locations. Most rodents, however, can quickly become accustomed to new sounds heard repeatedly.

For years, devices that produce ultrasonic sound that is claimed to control rodents have come and gone on the market. There is little evidence to suggest that rodents’ responses to nonspecific, high-frequency sound is any different from their response to sound within the range of human hearing.

What is known about rodents and sound?

—Unusually loud, novel, or ultrasonic sounds, which rodents can hear, will frighten them and may cause temporary avoidance lasting from a few minutes to a few weeks.

What is known about ultrasonic sound?

—It is very directional and does not travel around corners well; thus, sound shadows or voids are created.

—Ultrasound does not travel very far. It loses its intensity rapidly as it leaves the source.

—Ultrasound has not been shown to drive established rodents out of buildings or areas, nor has it been proven to cause above-normal mortality in their populations. While it is possible to cause convulsions or permanent physiological damage to rodents with ultrasound, the intensity of such sounds must be so great that damage to humans or domestic animals would also be likely. Commercial ultrasonic pest control devices do not produce sound of such intensity.

Recent tests of commercial ultrasonic devices have indicated that rodents may be repelled from the immediate area of the ultrasound for a few days, but then will return and resume normal activities. Other tests have shown the degree of repellency to depend upon the particular ultrasonic frequencies used, their intensity, and the preexisting condition of the rodent infestation. Ultrasonic sound has very limited usefulness in rodent control. The advertising claims for many commercial devices are unsubstantiated by scientific research. Since commercial ultrasonic devices are often expensive and of questionable effectiveness, they cannot be recommended as a solution to rodent problems.


Rodents find some types of tastes and odors objectionable, but chemical repellents are seldom a practical solution to mouse infestations. Substances such as moth balls (naphthalene) or household ammonia, in sufficient concentration, may have at least temporary effects in keeping mice out of certain enclosed areas. These are not specifically registered by the EPA as mouse repellents, however.

Ro-pel® is registered for use in repelling house mice and other rodents from gnawing on trees, poles, fences, shrubs, garbage, and other objects. Little information is currently available on its effectiveness against house mice.

Other solutions to rodent problems, including rodent-proof construction and methods of population reduction, are usually more permanent and cost-effective than the use of repellents.

Additional information