If you have a rat, mouse, or other rodent making a home for themselves in your cabinets, it’s likely that some type of food in your home is attracting them. Most rodents love to eat, which is why you’ll often find them somewhere in your kitchen, happily nibbling away at whatever little crumbs they can find.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep your home clean and crumb-free. What’s the best defense? Knowing what foods rodents love and storing them properly to prevent their yummy smells from inviting unwanted house-guests.
Snacks That Attract Rodents
The following foods are among the tastiest bites for common household rodents, like mice, rats, and moles:
In the wild, most rodents will eat whatever fruits they can find, especially berries. Fruits are naturally sweet – a flavor they just can’t get enough of – so they’ll quickly dig into ones they see lying around. Most rodents don’t discriminate between barely ripened, perfectly ripened, or rotting food, either; they’ll take just about any they can get!
Sugary Sweet Foods
Rodents are highly attracted to sugary foods, which is why you’ll commonly see them nesting near your honey jar, bag of sugar, or other sweet treats.
Rats consume quite a bit of meat in the wild, although it’s usually whatever they can find foraging in the trash. Mice will also eat meats if they happen to see them, from fish to beef and everything in between.
Yes, these little fuzzy creatures will even take a bite of your pet’s food if they have a chance. Most pet foods are fishy or meaty in flavor, which rodents are often attracted to. Plus, their small morsels are easy for tiny rodents to grab onto.
Scraps and Trash
If you haven’t noticed, mice, rats, and other rodents aren’t usually picky about what they eat. Give them a bag of trash that isn’t sealed, and they’ll quickly find a meal inside. This also holds true for scraps and crumbs you might have in your kitchen sink, hidden in the couch cushions, or lying on the floor.
The Differences in Mice and Rats’ Snacking Habits
Although we often lump mice and rats together because they like a lot of similar foods, they are two different animals with different appetites and snacking habits.
Generally, mice prefer grainy foods, like seeds and cereals, over fresh food sources, like fruit. They also usually opt for looking in the same places for their food each night. Rats, on the other hand, are likelier to eat fresh fruit and meat and are quick to look for new food sources every night.
How to Store Foods to Prevent Rodent Infestations
How can you prevent mice, rats, and other rodents from invading your home? Keeping your home clean is essential, but even clean houses can have a rodent problem. Often, keeping your food appropriately stored is the best way to keep these critters outside.
Anything that mice and rats love to get their hands on – like fresh fruit, sugar, and seeds – should always be stored in glass containers with an airtight seal that prevents their smells from enticing rodents. Be sure to take cereals out of their boxes, too, and pour them into airtight containers.
Cleaning the kitchen after cooking meals can also keep rodents away. Sweep the floor, clean the stovetop and oven, wash the dishes, clean the sink, and take trash outside to remove any scraps mice and rats will want to taste test.
Store bread in the refrigerator. Grapes and berries are safe to put in the fridge, but most fruits don’t last long in cold temperatures. Fruits like apples, pineapples, and bananas should, instead, be left at room temperature in produce bags or covered with a mesh bowl to keep prowlers out.
Preventing rodent infestations in your home can usually be as simple as storing the snacks they love in the right ways to keep them from attracting unwanted guests. However, it’s still possible for these critters to sneak their way in. It’s tempting to want to trap and remove mice and rats yourself, but rodent control is best left to trained professionals who know how to get them out – and keep them away – safely.