How to deal with rodents

House mouse.


Mouse nest in a hat.


Norway rat.

Pests need four things: a way in, food, water, and a place to hide. Eliminate these to keep rodents at bay. Rodents won’t start gnawing on a smooth surface so seal cracks and use door sweeps to keep them out. Set traps along their paths.

What they look like

Mice, rats, and voles. Chipmunks and squirrels. These rodents have similar body plans: long and low to the ground. Whiskers that let them feel their surroundings. Great climbers, and all (minus voles) great jumpers, too. All have brown or gray fur. Then there’s their trademark: two long front teeth. Most can squeeze through impossibly small holes, relative to body size—the width of a pencil. Only chipmunks and squirrels have noticeably furry tails. Think you’ve seen a rat, but it waddled rather than ran? Could be an opossum, which isn’t a rodent.

Where they live

Where don’t they live? A ball of twigs and leaves in a tree is probably a squirrel nest. A hole in the dirt could be a vole or chipmunk hole. And mice, voles, or rats can make a comfy nest most anywhere.

What they do

Destructive and disease carrying—not a pest you want in your home. Remember those front teeth? Rodents gnaw to get where they want to go. These teeth are hard as steel so rodents don’t discriminate. If they chew through electrical wires, your house could burn down. Mice drip pee wherever they go. But the pee could trigger asthma, and mice carry diseases too.


IPM for Mice: A Property Manager's Guide

Quick Tips on Rats

Dr. Bobby Corrigan’s recommendations for controlling mice in apartment buildings

Dr. Bobby Corrigan’s “Considerations When Using Traps and Rodenticides to Control Mice”

StopPests Blog post on “appliance” mice

Keep Mice Out of School, Install the Right Door Sweep

How to evict mice

IPM Toolkit for Building Owners, Managers and Staff

Presentation on the health hazards of rodents

Stop Mice! picture-based guide

Use picture-based materials to communicate with residents like the “Stop Mice!” guide pictured above.

Stop Mice! - A picture-based guide for residents                       Spanish: Detenga los Ratones!

Protecting Gardens from Voles, Moles, & More recorded webinar

National Park Service Rodent Exclusion Manual

Recorded Tree Squirrel Webinar

Rodent-Proof Construction and Exclusion Methods

How-To Videos from NYS IPM Program and Sustainable Places Network


See results for “mice” from the Northeastern IPM Center’s resources database.