Unless you are willing to share your home and food with the local rodent population, there are only three available options. You can perform extensive preparations to keep them out, trap them and take them elsewhere, or kill them.
Preventing rodents from entering your home is obviously the better solution, but if it fails, you must be willing to pursue one of the other alternatives, depending upon your moral code or squeamishness level.
Keeping rodents out of your home requires constant vigilance, especially as temperatures drop and food supplies diminish during the colder months of the year.
Your first line of defense is your yard, so all possible food sources must be made inaccessible to rodents. Bird and squirrel feeders must be designed with deep bottoms to keep the food from being scattered under the feeders. Place feeders at higher levels so rodents cannot access them, not on your porch or windowsill.
Rodents will also dig up freshly planted flower bulbs, so they must be covered by poultry wire or wire cloth, which is a heavy mesh screen. Secure the screen with garden stakes.
Rodents have an excellent sense of smell, so you may wish to place satchets or scraps of cloth scented with essential oils around the perimeter of your home and property.
Openings in the exterior walls of your home should also be covered by wire cloth. This includes exhaust and dryer fan hoods, as well as holes around pipes or other wall penetrations. You may also consider installing a metal kick plate at the bottom of a wooden exterior basement door to avoid chewing by rodents.
Inside your home, keep all food in glass or metal containers, and pick up pet food after your pet has eaten. Leaving dry pet food for snacking invites rodents and promotes pet obesity.
If rodents have already entered your home, but you have an aversion to killing them, you can choose cruelty-free traps that are spring-loaded to trap small animals within them when they go inside to access food bait. However, you will be in an alternate moral dilemma when deciding where to release them.
If you release them into a populated area, you are simply giving your problem to someone else, and relocation to a rural setting exposes the rodents to starvation as well as death from unfamiliar predators.
Sometimes, after all the prevention and compassionate alternatives are ineffective, it's either the rodents or your family. Rodents can carry harmful diseases as well as cause fires by chewing the insulation from house wiring.
Simple spring-loaded rodent traps are effective but can be difficult to set and hazardous to pets and children. If you decide to use them, place them in corners or along walls. Reuse old traps whenever possible, because they retain the scent of killed rodents and will attract others to them.
Poison should be avoided because of the danger to pets and children, as well as the probability of dead rodents rotting in inaccessible areas of your home.
Glue traps are also effective but kill rodents through dehydration and exposure, a distressing and slow death. It is more compassionate to kill them outright when they become embedded in a glue trap.
Of course, you can always call a rodent pest control company and let them deal with it. Out of sight, onto fo mind, and out of your houseShare