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DIY rodent control myths busted

As with most pests, the first sighting of rats or mice in your home can often send you frantically running to Google to ask how to get rid of these rodents yourselves.

A simple internet search will deliver countless articles with numerous DIY solutions and home remedies for rodents, but which ones actually work?

Rat in tree

Natural rodent repellents

The most popular natural ways to get rid of mice and rats are:

  • Mothballs
  • Peppermint oil
  • Ultrasonic repellers

Mothballs and rodents

Mothballs are a popular natural deterrent for mice and rats, but do they work?


Place mothballs around your home in key rodent locations and hotspots such as in attics and basements. If you have spotted a nest in your home, it is suggested that you place the mothballs near the entrance.

Moth balls

Does it work?

No. Mothballs are believed to be a natural rodent repellent because they contain naphthalene, which when inhaled or ingested can cause blood cells to lose their ability to carry oxygen.

Although mothballs carry enough naphthalene to deter moths, it is not enough to repel rodents. In fact, the amount needed is the same needed to affect humans.

In some cases, the limited effect of mothballs on rodents often leads people to overuse the product, which can lead to health complications due to the levels of naphthalene in the air.

Using mothballs as a natural rodent repellent is Not Advised.

Peppermint oil for rodents

Like with most DIY pest control solutions, peppermint is regarded as a great natural deterrent for rats and mice.



Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the common entry points for rodents, and the rodent hotspots such as attics and basements.

Does it work?

No. It will make your home smell nice (if you happen to like the smell of peppermint), but it won’t get rid of any unwanted house guests.

Peppermint oil is believed to be a natural rodent repellent due to this potent aroma in high concentrations. Due to their sensitive sense of smell, the smell of peppermint is thought to be too much for rats and mice and results in them avoiding areas with this scent.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Peppermint oil actually has very little to no effect on rodents. If you think about it logically, if rats and mice can withstand the foul stench of sewers then peppermint oil would be a pleasant change.

Ultrasonic rodent repeller

Ultrasonic repellers are another popular DIY rodent control solution. But how effective are they?

Ultrasonic rodent repeller


Purchase an ultrasonic rodent repeller from your local DIY store and simply plug it into a free socket, preferably one near a rodent hotspot or entry point.

Does it work?

No. There are countless ultrasonic rodent repellers on the market and although they may seem to keep rats and mice away for a short period of time, they are not a 100% guaranteed fix, with most rodent infestations recurring after a while.

The placement of the device is an important part of the success of ultrasonic rodent repellers. They need to be located near rodent hotspots so the emitted sound waves can repel them. Furniture and walls can interfere with the sound waves and cause the DIY rodent control solution to fail, which can be a big issue as rodents often like to hide within cavity walls.

Also, multiple devices are often required in order for this do-it-yourself rodent control option to work. Both rats and mice are intelligent creatures; they will simply avoid the areas of your home with the ultrasonic rodent repellers and infest another.

How to get rid of rodents

Although the common home remedies for rodents may seem to work, they aren’t 100% effective and fail to completely eradicate a rodent problem from your home.

Rodents are crafty. They will either find another way into your home or simply put up with whatever home remedy you are using in exchange for shelter and food.

Mouse by wall electric plug

Do it yourself rodent control

Successful do-it-yourself rodent control is based around one theme, prevention.

By utilizing specific prevention techniques you can reduce the appeal of your property to rodents and limit the possibility of a rat or mouse infestation.

How to prevent rodents

Seal entrances around windows, doors and around pipework using expanding foam. Install galvanized wire mesh on airbricks and vents

  • Repair damages to pipes, roof tiles and skirting boards
  • Trim vegetation around your garden and keep the grass cut short
  • Clean food and liquid spills as well as dirty dishes and empty garbage cans regularly.
  • Store food in airtight plastic or metal containers.

Professional rodent control

The most effective way to get rid of rats and mice is to enlist the help of a professional exterminator.

A professional pest control specialist has a range of rodent control options available to help successfully remove rodents from your property, ensuring that the infestations don’t re-occur.

Have a rat or mouse problem? Get in contact with Western Exterminator today.

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