Rodent Control – North Vancouver Pest Control

Rodent populations have soared in the North Vancouver region in last couple of years due to our mild winters and no extreme cold to cause a winter die off. At The Pest Maven we are here to help by offering reliable rodent control services in North Vancouver, BC.

Rats and Mice

North Vancouver and most of the Pacific West Coast are home to both native and non-native rats.

The Norway rat also known as the brown rat, sewer rat.


Norway rats average 16 inches in length, which includes the animal’s tail that is slightly shorter than the combined length of the rat’s head and body. Norway rats are grayish-brown in color.

The black rat also called the roof rat.


Black rats are similar in length to Norway rats, but are slightly slender and darker in color. The tail is longer than the combined length of the head and body. Black rats are agile climbers and are found on roofs and in the upper levels of buildings.

Signs of Rats

The coldness is what drives these creatures into our homes as they seek refuge from winter`s bite. When rodent evidence appears people are faced with a decision on how to deal with issue. Determination of what type of critter is in your home is the first and most important step. Mice and rats require different sizes of equipment in their control. The best way to do this other than visual confirmation is by the size of their droppings. A mouse dropping is about ¼ of an inch or a about the size of an uncooked grain of rice. A Norway rat or roof rat will have droppings from ½ to ¾ of an inch or about the size of rice crispy. Discerning between rats and squirrels is even more difficult. Rats and squirrels tend to reside in attics, crawlspaces and wall voids of homes where evidence of their presence is harder to find unlike mice that are perfectly happy sharing our living spaces. Chronology of when noises are heard being is the most helpful in distinguishing between rats and squirrels, next to visual confirmation. Rats are nocturnal and generally their noises will be heard at night. Squirrels are diurnal and are most often heard when they leave their den around sunrise and when they return around sunset. Do you call a professional, or try to self-help the problem with products from the local hardware store. Further, what kind of methodology do they use to solve the problem, anti-coagulant poison baits, snap traps, live traps, glue boards or possibly one-way doors?


A single rat can produce a handful droppings daily Most droppings are found where rats rest or feed. Fresh droppings are black, look wet. After a few days droppings become dry, hard appearance and after a few weeks the droppings become gray and crumble easily.

A rat’s front teeth grow at the fast rate. Rats keep their extremely hard teeth worn down by continuously working them against each other and by gnawing on hard surfaces. Look for signs of gnawing on floor or wood joists, door corners, siding, and around pipes in floors and walls.

Rub Marks
Body oil and dirt rub off of rats’ coats and can become noticeable along frequently used trails. Look along wall/floor where rats move around obstacles, and at regularly used openings in walls, floors, and ceilings for dark stains.

Sounds & Smells
Rats make squeaks and fighting noises, as well as clawing, scrambling, and gnawing sounds in the walls and other parts of buildings. These sounds may be so loud it seems a larger animal is in your house. Areas infested with rats will often have a musky smell. One dead rat can cause a considerable smell.

Treatment Options

Poison baits
generally the most effective way in dealing with large rodent populations but there are issues with their use. The effectiveness of bait is attributed to the 2-6 lag time between ingestion of lethal dose and death. This lag time was created by the biochemists so that the animals do not associate what is causing the internal bleeding with their eating habits. Generally, the rat`s large water requirement will ensure that it dies outside the home but in 5-10% of cases using bait a rat will die inside. Anyone who has used bait and had rat(s) die where it is inaccessible and had the smell of decay permeate their home would probably never want to use bait again. With mice it is not so much of an issue because of the difference in body mass, a rat can weigh in at up to 485 grams while a house mouse is about 20 grams. The smell of decomposition will subside significantly quicker with the smaller mouse and is directly correlated to temperature. House mice do not have the same water requirement as rats and can get most of the water they need from the food they eat. When using baits it is vital that other preferred food sources are eliminated to ensure that there is acceptance and ingestion of the products. The best way to eliminate the other food sources is by storing your goods in hard plastic or metal containers, rodents (Latin for gnaw) can easily chew through cardboard packaging. Mice tend to cache and trans-locate their food and it can take longer for them to accept bait after its introduction.

The negative issues with bait are related to accidental and secondary poisoning. Accidental poisoning can easily be avoided by placing the bait in tamper-proof units or in areas where it can locked away from children or pets. Professionals are legislatively bound to use the bait in a safe manner and have access to equipment to do so. The amount of bait that needs to be consumed for a lethal dose is correlated to body mass and most pets and children would need to consume significantly more bait for a lethal dose than is required to eliminate most rodent populations because the active ingredient in these products is usually 0.005 %. Poisoning of dogs by rodenticides is the most common cases seen by veterinarians and can be safely treated with doses of vitamin K. Secondary poisoning is not as much of an issue because most of the poison is metabolized in the rodents. The one caveat to this is related to owls most likely due to the high percentage of rodents making up their diet. In a recent study from SFU it was found that of 164 owls tested 70% had one form of rodenticide in their livers and of those more than 41% had more than one form of the two most common rodenticides bromadiolone and bromadifacoum in their livers. Six of these deaths were directly related to poisoning. Sub-lethal could also be contributing to the owl`s demise but it extremely hard to determine.

Another issue with bait is resistance, for many years warfarin was used in controlling rat populations but its effectiveness became diminished as resistant population arose. Similarly, bromadiolone resistant population have been discovered with the gene for resistance being isolated and dominant. It is widespread throughout Europe but evidence in North America is still limited. As in any biological system this gene will proliferate as only carriers of the gene will be the only ones reproducing in a population that is subjected to a diet of poison. I believe I recently ran into this situation locally as there was a mouse population where consumption of bromadiolone was sufficient to kill thousands of mice but there was no knock down in population. Snap trapping was employed as well as bromadifacoum which eventually did the job. The mice that were snapped were the largest I have ever seen and I have kept the tails to have them genetically tested.

Snap trapping
The second oldest form of rodent control next to cats and dogs (biological control). There are over 1200 different patents for mouse traps. As with rodenticides there are issues. Firstly, once a trap is sprung it no longer affords any protection. Monitoring, resetting the traps and removing the dead animals is more labor intensive process. Further, there can be shyness towards traps especially in rats, once a rodent sees the demise of a relative in a trap it immediately sees this as a threat and will avoid it. Experts suggest allowing the rodents to forage at the traps before setting the active mechanism. This will allow them to become familiar with traps and avoid their neophyte tendencies and allow for better overall success rates. One final issue is if the trap does not immediately kill the animal and it drags itself off to an inaccessible spot to die, which can be avoided by anchoring the traps. The most common mistake self-helpers make is location of the traps. Rodents have fine hair on the sides and tops of their necks that the use as sensors. They feel more comfortable when they travel along a wall because that is one less area to be predated upon, technically termed thigmophylic response (feel loving). Traps should be placed with the active part of the mechanism against a wall which generally would be where they are traveling.

Glue Boards
Glue boards can be effective but I have generally found that with mice you only capture the juveniles because adult mice and rats have enough strength to pull away from them once put their initial paw on the sticky substance.

One-way doors
One-way doors can be effective for rats and squirrels because they are not usually getting food or water where they are habituating in your home. They will be moving out daily for foraging and if there is only one entry point they can be excluded quite easily. Again as in all control methodologies there can be problems. When excluded by a one-way door a rodent create a new opening(s) to get back inside. This is more likely to happen if there are young inside. You also risk trapping the non-weaned young inside with exclusion of the adults.

Live Trapping
Live trapping is another methodology that can work in rodent control. With squirrels it is probably the most effective as squirrels tend not to forage in their dens and external trapping and removal the immediate threat. It can also similarly used for rats and smaller multi-catch live traps are available for mice.

Dependable Rodent Control Services

Our rodent control specialists have the tools and skills to safely eliminate unwanted rodents and prevent them from wreaking havoc on your property. We understand that a rodent problem is no laughing matter, so when you call on us, you can rest assured that we’ll respond quickly. We offer quality rodent control services at reasonable rates; and we strive to exceed expectations on every job we undertake.

If rodents have become a problem for your home or business, reach out to the experts at The Pest Maven right away. Call now to schedule your service.

The Pest Maven services homeowners and Businesses in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminister, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Squamish, and Whistler.