Usually, when we receive unexpected visitors, it’s a lovely surprise. Still, we might not be so excited when they are furry and have long tails. Since most animals communicate through scent, essential oils can help persuade them to move out kindly. Today we’re interested in pest control without rodenticides. Learn what we know about the best rodent-repellent essential oils.
The Difference Between Rodent, Rat, and Mouse
A rodent is a generic term for mammals with continuously growing incisors in their upper jaw. They are easily recognized by their sharp teeth and legs, which seem disproportionately small to their bodies. Rodents are a large group, and in fact, 40% of all mammals are rodents. Mice and rats are just two species that also include other delightful pests, such as squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, and guinea pigs, to name a few.
The three main species that cause problems in the home are the Black Rat (Rattus rattus - also known as the Roof Rat or Ship Rat), the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus, also called Common Rat or Norway Rat), and the House mouse (Mus domesticus). There are many subspecies of mice.
Rats are much bigger than mice. They look heavier and more bristly, whereas mice look silky or sometimes hairless and are slender. You’ll most likely notice a rat’s very long tail. Mice have bigger, floppy ears than rats, although when compared in body size may not seem that way.
What Causes Rodent Infestations In Your House
Essentially, it’s food waste. Rodents are prolific breeders and are tremendous parents. They are always on the lookout for easy ways to feed their young.
Rat pregnancies last 21-23 days, with a female rat typically birthing six litters per year, consisting of 5-10 pups. Male rats reach sexual maturity at about 6 to 10 weeks; females reach maturity at 8 to 12 weeks. If left unchecked, a pair of rats could produce 482,508,800 descendants in three years. It’s the stuff that nightmares are made of. The mice aren’t any more pleasant.
Feeding the birds is a surefire way to attract rodents to your property. Blackbirds, in particular, are messy creatures, so if there is a build-up on the floor, the rats will have a party. This can be the first stage of a rodent infestation. In the house, trash cans are left open, food waste spillages, or even if they smell cereal in the cupboards. Once they are in, you’ve got a problem. Not only will they make their way through your biscuits, rice, and pasta, but they can also gnaw through electric cables and furniture... They leave feces and shredded wood behind them and are generally unhygienic.
Look out for rat runs in the garden when they are tunneling beneath your plants. Pet foods and bedding like straw are lovely cozy homes. Package anything cereal related into plastic containers to keep them out.
Rats, of course, can also be aggressive when cornered and can give a spiteful bite. While most rat bites aren’t dangerous, a trip for antibiotics is often warranted.
Despite the scary statistics, humans still outnumber rats because predators and diseases keep their populations from spiraling out of control. You can do your bit by taking their food away and ensuring they have nowhere to shelter.
Let’s start there because, in pest control, prevention is always preferable to cure.
Also Read: Insect Repellent Essential Oils
The most important thing to remember when doing rodent repellent work is that however small you think a mouse can go, it can go smaller. Part of their success as a species is their incredibly soft skeletons. These compress down incredibly small so that they can squeeze their way through anything.
You might think it funny to think a mouse will just let himself in through the front door, but it happens more often than you might imagine. Older properties where the door doesn't fit snugly give the critters a cheeky little access point. Fit draught excluders to keep your house warm but the rodent community shivering.
Look at existing or new pipes and check that there are no spaces between the pipe and the brickwork. If there are, caulk them or use expanding foam. To be thorough, you could use coarse-grade stainless steel wire wool also.
Air Bricks and Vents
Brilliant things to keep the house dry and well-ventilated, but dear little homes for furry things. Cover them with fine galvanized wire mesh, especially if they are damaged.
Fix damaged eaves and seal any gaps with wire mesh.
Rodents are terrific climbers, so trim tree branches and, where possible, avoid plants growing up the sides of your property. Mice like to use ivy and overhanging shrubs as nice little assault courses into your property, and they are more than happy to create little nesting spots up your wall...
Rodents are quintessentially shy creatures and will only come out of cover if they feel confident. Putting your bird feeder in the middle of a tidy lawn will make it less attractive for them to visit. The more ways you can shelter them and hide, the happier they will be. Keep things tidy, and they will soon start to get fed up.
Also Read: Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?
Types of Rodent Repellents
Most people use traps or poisons to deal with rodents. However, electrical deterrents are also popular.
Does Electronic Rodent Repellent Work?
This is a yes and no answer. Most homeowners find that their unwanted visitors leave for a few days but get used to it after a while and return. The overwhelming evidence is that electronic rodent repellents do not work long-term.
How Does Rodent Repellent Work
Most poisons are created from poisons that stop the rodent’s blood from clotting. They eat the rodenticide, then about 4 days later, their blood thins and can no longer sustain life.
Why Using Rodenticides is Harmful to Pets, Children, and the Environment
Poisons are usually left on the floor and can sadly be found by nosy dogs and mischievous toddlers. Rodenticides can be very dangerous if you have kids or pets. Many are brightly colored and look like sweets, so often get ingested, causing inadvertent poisoning.
The best practice when using poisons is to lock them in a bait box so only the rat or mouse can get them. However, once they have been ingested, they toxify the animal’s entire body. Remembering that it takes them around four days to die, they will continue to scurry. Rodents are the favorite dinner of owls and other birds of prey. Once they eat a poisoned rat, they, too, are poisoned. Rodenticides are an important threat to other wildlife.
What Smells Repel Rodents
Vinevida rodent repellent is made completely from natural ingredients that we know rodents don’t like. In particular, they hate peppermint and cinnamon.
We have extraordinary data about how essential oils affect the rodent family because rats and mice form the basis for most experiments for human medicine, of course. As such, there is a tremendous pool of research on how different natural ingredients might be used.
Rodents have an incredibly powerful sense of smell, and we know that they, like snakes, smell in stereo, which helps them to identify predators or food to an accuracy of about 1 cm. Amazingly their affinity with the smell is so strong that they can be trained to sniff out landmines and find cases of tuberculosis. When you use strong fragrances, this irritates them.
Constituents exist in mints that dampen rodent desires to mate, and chemicals found in cinnamon do all manner of things to repel them. Some cinnamon constituents discourage them from gnawing, others depress their appetites, and they hate cinnamon so much that it is classed as a repellent in its own right... Presumably, their nasal passages are irritated by the fumes, but that’s unclear.
We don’t know why they react to certain smells, just that they do.
How To Find the Best Rodent Repellent For Your Needs
Given that information, you might be tempted to make your rodent-repellent spray. Still, essential oils also create problems.
Essential oils are made from the concentrated essences of plants. You’ll often hear people say that a plant has essential oils, but that is not. They are formed when they are exposed to heat in the distillation. The proper name for the plant's chemicals is “Secondary metabolites.” That means they are not required for their primary function of respiration, but rather, the plant probably makes them not to survive but to make life easier.
If you imagine that a plant has roots anchored to the spot, it has no way to escape the fierce sun's rays or run away from a rodent that’s planning to consume it alive. So, it makes these chemicals. Sometimes, they are to attract pollinators or make their leaves taste nasty. Often they are to help it heal after it has been overly nibbled or to stop any other plants from germinating nearby that could steal its nutrients. We can see how sitting very quietly, plants are stationary weapons factories.
So, what we have here are natural deterrents. Not just made from natural ingredients but also in line with research that shows which things naturally deter them in the wild.
However, that does create an engineering dilemma.
If there is a field of citronella plants, there will be a perpetual smell supply. But essential oils are volatile, meaning the plant wants them to evaporate into the air so insects and rodents can smell them. The downside of this means poof, and they are gone within an hour or so. They have disappeared without a trace. This is, of course, the biggest hurdle you’ll face if you try to make the blend at home. The oils disappear so quickly that they are virtually no help at all.
At VINEVIDA, we’ve found a way to fix and preserve the smell. We’ve chosen alcohol listed as acceptable to the FDA and essential oils they deem suitable for use.
There is nothing that will hurt the creatures. These products work with nature’s natural laws to protect your family, crops, and home from these critters effectively and humanely.
How To Use Rodent Repellent Spray
When spraying the Vinevida Rodent Repellent, remember to interact with more species than your rats. We want to use it at a time when rats are most likely to think about visiting but when the essential oils will be minimally harmful to other species.
Honeybees love peppermint but abhor cinnamon. Cinnamon is a great way to encourage bees to leave your property if they have moved in.
Using the spray bottle at dusk ensures it will repel rodents without disturbing helpful pollinators.
Well, I’m glad to get to the end of this article to get a break from remembering how to spell repellent…how many times can you type best rodent repellant spray wrongly before you suss it out? (It’s close to several dozen, seemingly!)
Future proof your house by stopping up any means of entry, empty your cereal goods into plastic containers to make it harder for them to nubble through for supper, and then speak in scent, the language these critters understand best to say, bye-bye beasties. Click here to buy our best rodent-repellent spray containing cinnamon and peppermint essential oils.