Issues With DIY Rodent Control In Long Island

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Nobody likes to find rodents in their home, and for Long Island residents, there are three main types of rodents you’ve got to look out for: 

Roof rats: With a name that comes from their excellent climbing abilities, roof rats have dark coats, limber builds, and tails as long as their bodies.

Norway rats: Norway rats, or brown rats, can’t climb as well as roof rats can and tend to be larger with shorter tails.

House mice: You can distinguish house mice from rats by their smaller, rounder bodies, shorter snouts, and larger ears.

Unfortunately, house mice, roof rats, and brown rats can all spread dangerous diseases and bacteria when they infest your home – including hantavirus, tularemia, and salmonellosis. In many cases, rodents can also cause a lot of property damage by chewing through electrical wiring, wooden siding, or other structural materials in your home. 

From roof rats to house mice, having rodents in your Long Island home is always bad news – but can you get rid of rodents on your own? Here’s what Long Island homeowners should know about why rodents are so tricky to get rid of once they get in, the issues with DIY rodent control, and what to do if you’re currently dealing with a rodent infestation. 

rat in basement

Step 1: Prevent The Alarm

Do you know that most ants don't create nests inside your home? When you walk into a room and find hundreds, or even thousands, of ants, crawling around everywhere, they likely came from outside. Why did they mobilize and enter your home in such large numbers? One ant likely found a food source and rallied the others to pick that source apart. Worker ants leave a pheromone scent as they return to the nest with food. As other ants pick up the scent, they go and grab the food, leaving more pheromone as they head to the nest. The stronger the scent, the more ants get involved. Within no time, your house is filled with ants. But you can prevent this.

Clean Up — When you wash counters, wash food storage shelves, clean floors, and vacuum, you remove food debris and juices that can attract the attention of worker ants.

Manage Trash — Keep your kitchen trash in a container with a cover. Clean this receptacle routinely to remove strong smells that attract ants. Remove trash from your home routinely to prevent organic matter from rotting and generating strong smells.

Meal Time — Put dog and cat food down only during mealtimes. Their food can be a food source for ants. Be sure to clean up around your pets' food dishes as well. Ants aren't picky. They'll eat off the floor.

Step 2: Remove Attractants

Most ants are drawn to moisture and will come into your home through moisture points such as the pipes that enter your kitchen underneath your kitchen sink. You can reduce ant activity by reducing moisture. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Fix leaky pipes, garbage disposals, or faucets. The moisture created by a leak is more than enough to invite ants into your home and increase ant activity.

  • If you have a humid attic, basement, laundry room, storage room, pantry, kitchen, or bathroom, consider installing fans or dehumidifiers to control the humidity.

Don't forget the outside of your home.

  • Make sure your gutters are clean and in good repair. This will reduce dampness near your home.

  • Rake leaves, grass clippings, and other organic debris away from your foundation walls.

  • Trim landscaping to get rid of unnecessary vegetation. Dense vegetation promotes moisture.

Step 3: Prevent Access

It is impossible to seal ants out of your home completely, but addressing potential pathways can deter them. We call this mitigation. Consider these tips for ant mitigation.

  • Seal cracks in your foundation walls.

  • Fill in gaps around pipes.

  • Seal the outside edges around the exterior window and door frames.

  • Make sure your weatherstripping and door sweeps are working.

  • Repair or replace damaged screens.

Don't forget the interior of your home.

  • Apply a seal to cracks in your cabinets.

  • Apply a seal around window frames.

  • Seal baseboards.

  • Seal any cracks, gaps, or holes in your pantry.

  • If you have a dog or cat door, make sure it has a good seal. 

Step 4: Direct Control

Sometimes it is necessary to apply baits and other ant control products to eliminate colonies. This requires a proper identification of the ant species you're dealing with, an inspection of ant patterns and pressures, strategic placement of products, and effective monitoring to ensure the job is done. All of this is best done by a licensed professional.

For assistance with ant problems in New York City, reach out to Parkway Pest Services. We provide the highest level of control and professionalism. Get started by requesting a free quote. 

Are Rats And Mice Easy To Get Rid Of?

When they first discover a rodent problem in their house, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to assume they’re dealing with both rats and mice – but this is rarely the case. Rats eat mice, so if any of those critters occupy the same space, rats will hunt down the mice as a food source. Not to mention, the odor that rats emit is enough to scare most mice away. Even if both rodents start in the same place, it’s unlikely to stay that way for long. 

Unfortunately, neither type is easy to eliminate. Both rats and mice are prolific, able to slip through the tiniest holes, and chew through various materials – including vinyl, plastic, and even wood. Most mice only need a crack the size of a pen to crawl through, while rats can squeeze through a hole that’s the size of a quarter. This makes it extremely difficult for homeowners to keep these rodents from slipping through cracks and crevices in their home’s foundation or chewing the edges of an existing imperfection until it’s big enough for them to crawl through.

The Problems With DIY Rodent Control

Many homeowners may assume they can solve rodent problems on their own – but most DIY solutions are rarely effective and may even be dangerous for pets or family, such as: 

Peppermint Oil 

It’s a common misconception that the strong stench of peppermint oil can deter rodents from entering your home, especially if it’s sprayed in areas where there’s likely to be rodent activity.  Although rodents do have sensitive noses, not even the potent odor of peppermint oil is enough to keep them away. In some cases, rats and mice may try avoiding areas of your home with peppermint oil and finding new ways to access your house. 


Mothballs have a compound called naphthalene, which can deter certain types of insects – like moths. Some homeowners assume that putting mothballs around locations where they suspect rodent activity will deter these pests, but this just isn’t the case.  Regular mothballs don’t contain enough naphthalene to deter rodents, and the amount needed to keep rodents away would become dangerous for other pets or even human family members too. 

Ultrasonic Rodent Repellers

Ultrasonic rodent repellers emit high-pitched frequencies that can cause discomfort to rodents. While this solution may temporarily deter rodents from entering, it’s not a long-term solution. As clever as most rats and mice are, these pests will usually find (or chew) their way into a new entrance into your home. 

How To Deal With Rats And Mice In Long Island

Although DIY rodent control treatments may seem promising, most of these solutions only end up wasting your time and money or only lead to temporary results. To permanently rid your home of rodents, you’ll need professional help. If you think you’ve got rodents scurrying around your home or already know you’ve got a problem, there’s no reason to let these dangerous pests overstay their welcome. Contact the professionals at Parkway Pest Services today for more information about our rodent control program and how we can help. 


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