Killing Rats and Mice With Salt: Does it Work?
Rodent problems are one of those dirty little secrets that homeowners don’t usually want to admit to facing. But, you might be surprised to hear that 14.8 million homeowners reported seeing mice or rats in their houses in 2021. You can also bet that many of these people sought out natural pest control methods, including using salt to kill rats and mice.
Why Would You Use Salt to Kill Rodents?
There are two general types of people when it comes to rodent control. Some people will want to use any lethal force possible out of a desire to quickly end an infestation that places their health and property at risk for harm.
There are also kinds of people that prefer to take a gentler approach to rodent control. A natural method might be preferred by people who worry about the effects of chemicals on their environment. Others may be concerned about their pets or children getting into poison.
Salt is also sometimes used by people who believe it is more humane than other substances, yet this isn’t necessarily true.
The cost of pest control is another factor that frequently gets brought up. However, you could spend just as much on salt as on professional services since it can take a lot of salt to reduce a rodent population significantly.
Does Salt Kill Mice and Rats?
The most basic answer to this question is that, yes, salt can potentially kill mice and rats. But, things get more complicated when you look at its effectiveness. Salt doesn’t have much of an impact on a rat or mouse until they consume around 80 grams and are unable to obtain access to enough water to dilute it in their system.
In one study, giving house mice excessive amounts of salt only had a 20% to 80% efficacy rate. The highest efficacy rates were achieved when the salt was mixed with peanut paste, which helped to increase their intake. Norway rats were also included in this study, and they had even lower rates of death, which rendered the use of salt ineffective for their control.
How Do You Get Mice to Eat Salt?
If you’ve ever put out mouse bait, you might already know how hard it is to get rodents to eat food off a trap rather than raid your pantry. However, there are a few ways to entice them to eat salt if you feel it is worth trying this method.
The first thing you will need to do is eliminate all other potential food sources. Rats are fairly savvy and might opt to eat your dog’s food rather than risk stepping near a strange trap.
You’ll then need to choose a food with a pungent odor that rodents will detect from far away. Strong cheese is an option that can attract rats, or you could use peanut butter to mimic the somewhat effective method that was used in the study.
Once you choose your food source, you’ll want to mix it with at least 80 grams of salt. Making sure you have the ratio can be tricky, but it is important because a low amount of salt could have zero effect on the mice or rats.
Your final step will be to cover all potential water sources. You need the full amount of salt to hit the mouse’s bloodstream for it to work. Keep in mind that water sources for smaller rodents don’t have to be large. A dripping faucet or outdoor bird bath could inadvertently ruin your plans.
Does Salt Work to Repel Mice and Rats?
Salt doesn’t work very well as a repellent because mice and rats generally associate it with being a safe part of their food sources. They also tend not to be attracted to salt, either. This means that you’ll always need to add salt to the food used as bait.
What Problems Occur With Using Salt for Pest Control?
You’ll run across several problems when you use salt to kill rodents. The biggest one is that you cannot know if it is enough to kill a rat until it happens. This can cause you to lose valuable time managing rodents on your property.
While you wait for salt to do its trick, a female rat may have a litter, which can happen five to 10 times a year. If you have a large population of rodents hanging out, it might also be virtually impossible to put enough salt to kill them all off.
What Are Other Ways to Repel Mice?
Instead of spreading salt around your house like some moat, you can take other more effective steps for repelling these furry nuisances. The best way to repel rodents is to give them nothing that can sustain their lives. They’ll turn away from buildings that don’t have easy food and water sources.
You can also try adding a few plants to your garden and around the exterior of your house that repel mice. They don’t tend to like garlic, onions, or mint. Lavender is another plant that they don’t like that you might even be able to grow indoors in a container. Learn more about smells that keep mice away.
The old saying to get a cat can also have some truth to it. Mice and rodents will leave areas where a cat is present. The only problem with this method is that your cat might not have access to all areas of your property, such as the garage or attic spaces where rodents often set up their nests.
How to Get Rid of Mice Humanely
The main reasoning behind using salt to kill mice and rats is based on the idea that it will eventually cause them to experience sudden death. Yet, this isn’t always true, nor is it humane.
When salt does kill a mouse or rat, it does so by causing them severe gastrointestinal and cognitive distress. While the salt destroys their body, rodents may go through similar processes as they would with poison, such as experiencing severe confusion, hallucinations, and erratic behavior.
The worst part about this method is that it can prolong the rodent’s agony if the wrong amount of salt gets into their body. You may also never know if the rat survived and keeps coming back since there’s no way to monitor the rodent activity.
Professionals use rodenticides to kill rats and mice quickly and efficiently so that they don’t suffer prolonged deaths. If you still prefer not to use poison, then other humane ways exist to remove rodents from your property.
Many pest professionals offer baiting and trapping services. Attracting the rodents to cage traps helps to prevent them from dying on your property in areas that make it hard to remove them before they decompose and create foul odors.
If you prefer to use humane rodent control methods, just let your exterminator know. Quality technicians will work with you to achieve the dual goals of creating a pest-free property without harming animals or the environment.