Last week we talked about Lassa fever and its prevention and from that article, we learned that Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease; meaning that it is spread by animals. The host of the Lassa virus is a rodent belonging to the Genus ‘Mastomys’ and they are commonly known as “multimammate rats”.
Lassa fever is treated with an antibiotic called ‘ribavirin’; most patients that recover from Lassa fever loss their hearing partially, some of them have hair loss and gait disturbances; the best way to handle Lassa fever is by prevention which elimination of rodents from the home and environment tops the list. Apart from Lassa fever, Rats are said to carry more than 20 diseases; even their bite is infectious and raises risk of long term illness and even death.
So in this article we will be looking at natural ways to eliminate rodents from the home and environment. If you love them and see them as “cute” then I will also show you ways to get rid of them without hurting them; if not when a rodent or rat is infected with the Lassa virus, they don’t come down with the disease but they excrete the virus out through their urine and faeces. A person gets infected with Lassa fever when he or she comes in contact with any food or household item that has been contaminated with the urine or faeces of an infected rat.
These natural remedies works for rodents in general because not everyone is a zoologist that can be able to identify the genus of any rat they find in their homes.
Get a cat or cats: This is the best, easiest and effective way to get rid of rodents at home; cats and rats are biological enemies, it is hard to find rats where a cat is. So having a cat or cats around will chase rodents from your home or prevent rodents from coming to share your house with you. Kitty litter can also do the trick; placing tubs of used kitty litters containing cat urine will scare rodents away. This method will not work on rats that are affected with ‘toxoplasmosis’ because this weird disease makes rats attracted to cats and cat litter.
Make a bird nest in your yard: This might take a while but it is worth the effort. They are some birds that are mice eaters like the barn owl which eats mice at night; so try and build a shelter box for birds in your garden to attract some. Note that this box can attract other types of owls or birds of prey and make sure that the box is well made, devoid of safety hazards or protruding nails.
Owl feather: This scares them and forces them to run away; place some of these feathers in rat holes and in corners of your house.
Peppermint oil: Rodents don’t like the pungent smell of peppermint because it is too intense for them, they avoid it and don’t go near it; so scenting your home with this essential oil will help to keep them away and it will also mask the scent of tasty food which attracts them. The easiest way to use peppermint oil is to soak cotton balls in the oil and place them in strategic locations in your house; you can also place them near the garbage bin, doorways, vents and near the garage. This oil, unlike many synthetic toxic chemical is toxin free and it gives your house a lovely scent; the cotton balls should be replaced every five to seven days but this depends on the quantity of oil poured on the cotton balls. You can also plant peppermint in your garden and near your entry ways. Citronella and Castor oil also repel rats.
Clove essential oil: Rats find the smell of this oil distasteful and overwhelming and it irritates them and sends them running. Use it the same way you use peppermint oil. If you are using cloves, then throw them around the corners of your house.
Ammonia: Like peppermint, rats can’t stand the smell ammonia; so to use this home remedy, mix two tablespoons of detergent with a quarter glass of water in a bowl, add two cups of regular ammonia and place it where rats frequently appear.
Aluminum foil: Cover your kitchen desk or cabin, bars and slab with aluminum foil and rats will avoid those areas; this may be due to the smell, the slippery nature and noisy surface. If you know the hole rats use in entering your house, you can fold some Aluminum foil and use it to block the holes.
Steel wool: Another way to block the holes that rats use into your home is to block it with steel wool; they cannot chew through the wire and it irritates their teeth.
Baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda in all hidden corners of the house and suspected areas and the rats will be gone over night; this may be due to either the smell or the caustic nature.
Homemade poison: This poison is made of an equal mixture of flour, baking soda and sugar in a big bowl; transfer this to smaller cups or bowls and place them where the rodents can access them, once they consume this mixture the baking soda will react with the acid of their gastric juices. This will produce lots of pain and bloating for them and make them to die of internal rupture. Rats don’t die instantly when they take this mixture and they run out to the open field before dying.
Pepper: Pepper has a pungent smell that makes it hard for rats to breath; it threatens their survival and makes them run away from the house. Sprinkle some crushed peppers around the corners of your house and holes where they reside; you can repeat the process weekly.
Onions: This is a very effective remedy to get rid of rats because the smell of onions is odious to them; put slices of onions around the corners of your house and inside or near rat holes.
Use commercial organic deterrent: There are many good organic products out there that repel mice and other rodents; they are effective and safer for the environment than those synthetic products full of dangerous chemicals. Many of them contain peppermint which is a good in repelling rodent.
Mouse traps: This little devices help to catch rats alive, then you are left with a choice on whether to kill the rat or release it into the wild. Before I saw “ratatouille” and “flushed away” I use to kill them (rats), but after seeing these animations I now sympathize with them but Lassa fever is a deadly disease, it is very contagious and spread quickly leaving one confused on what to do. Well, the choice is yours. Put peanut butter or cheese to help attract them faster to the trap.
Plaster of Paris: This is a homemade rat poison; to make it you need to mix 100 gm. of plaster of Paris with 100 gm. Of cornmeal in a bowl, add 1.5 cups of milk to it and knead it evenly. Tear them into small balls and leave them around the house and replace them from time to time. This rat poison is non-toxic to adult human being but it should be kept out of reach of kids and pets.
Make them unwelcomed: You can make rats unwelcomed in your home by keeping your home very clean and spacious; rats feel very welcomed and comfortable in a dirty home that has so many hidden and dark areas. So try and pick a day of the week that you will be free, thoroughly clean your house, throw away things you don’t need and try to keep everywhere neat and spacious. You can also put cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil which is a natural deterrent in the corners of your house. Your garden and the environment around your home should be well cleaned; tall shrubs should be cut down and weeds should be removed so that rats won’t have a hiding place, always look around for mysterious holes. Make it a habit to regularly clean and sanitize your home; if you notice these rodents in good numbers in your home, then you need to clean the floor with a solution of bleach and water to protect yourself and your family members from diseases.
Starve them: Mice enter homes in search of food and when they find food; they eat then go and invite their friends, all of them come and make your home their colony and you don’t want to know how fast this creatures can multiply. So to avoid this; make sure all foods are stored properly, in air tight containers, in rodent-proof containers or in places safe from their reach and attack. Remnant pet food should be discarded, left over foods to should be discarded in a bin far from the home. When they don’t find food they will not like to stay. Rats needs shelter, food and water for survival and when your home provides these three for them, they will feel welcome and share your residence with you, so to avoid these make sure they don’t find these three in your home. Also remember to remove all food left overs and grease from BBQ Grills. Teach your children not to spill food everywhere and no food should be left uncovered.
Dried snake poo: Dried snake faeces repel rats and keep them away. You can visit a zoo, a pet store, a local reptile center or someone who keeps snakes as pets to ask for some dried faeces of snake. This dried snake faeces should be kept in strategic places where rats like to hide, you can also place them by your entrance; but also remember to keep them out of the reach of children and pets. Putting plastic snakes in your garden can also help to get rid of rats.
Cow dung: This is a stinky method but it is one of the best ways to chase rodents from your home and prevent them from coming back. Take some cow dung and spread them in your garden or attic; when the rats eat it, they will die because cow dung makes their stomach inflamed.
Bay leaf: This leaf kills rats; put some of this leaves in rat prone areas and hidden corners of your home; repeat this process until all of them are gone.
Ultrasonic sounds: There are some electronic units sold at local or online stores; these devices emit ultrasonic beeping sounds that repel rodents and make them run away because they hate the sound and it also makes their ears to bleed. There are some disadvantages to this method however; some of the disadvantages are: the rats can become used to the sound, meaning it works for only a short time. The second disadvantage is that you need to know the exact path the rats are taking because these devices work only on a single line of sight.
Place your garbage bin far from your home: Garbage attracts rats because they come to ;it to search for food and if your trash can is in your home, they will come to your home. If you put your garbage cans far from your home; they won’t have a chance or a reason to come into your house. Also make sure your garbage cans are neat and properly covered with a well fitted lid and the garbage should be disposed regularly.
Human hair: I know this sounds weird but it is true; rats can’t bear the sight of human hair, it repels them and when they eat it they die. Clip a few strands of your hair and throw them in rat holes; you can also place them around the corners of the house or where they visit mostly.
Instant mashed potatoes: This is an effective home remedy that kills rats; when they eat instant potatoes and ranch dip, they die of bloating because the flakes starts expanding in their stomach, this happens to them because the potato flakes were dehydrated before storage.
Create barriers: This involves finding the location where the rats use in entering your homes and creating barriers or blocking them. Steel wool is good for this as it is hard for them to nibble or chew the steel wool.
Baby powder: This method is not that effective but it has little effect; sprinkle some baby powder around the corners of your house and in rat prone areas, this intoxicate them and repels them to some extent.