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Why you see more rodents during El Niño and how to deal with them

Posted in Pest Advice on February 27, 2024

Everything you need to know about rats, mice and El Niño

If you feel like you’re seeing more rats and mice than normal you’re not alone. There’s a good chance it’s because of the El Niño weather pattern we’re experiencing.

El Niño is more than just a weather phenomenon—it's a disruptor for both humans and our rodent counterparts. But what exactly goes on in the rodent world during El Niño? Let's dive in and explore how these climate events shake up rodent behaviour and what you can do to keep them under control.

Understanding Rodent Behaviour During El Niño:

Dealing with Rodents During El Niño:

Regardless of weather patterns, the principles around how to control rodent populations stays the same. Kiwicare’s Easy 1-2-3 Steps to Rodent Control article and our Easy 1-2-3 Step Guide to Rodent Trapping provide all the information you need to know to control your rodent problem successfully.

Our Top 3 Tips for Rodent Control Success

Use both bait and traps: A mix of baits and traps provides the best defence as rodents shy of one form of control, may be more open to interacting with another.

Use gloves when handling bait and traps: This is not just important when you are restocking or clearing your baits and traps, it’s also important when you’re setting them up. Humans have natural oils on their hands that transfer to the things we touch, and rodents are smart and tend to associate this smell with danger. So, preventing traps and bait stations from smelling like us, means rodents are more likely to interact with them.

Pulsing and switching your bait: There are two main types of rodent bait, one type kills rodents after just one bite of the bait and the other type causes a slow build-up of toxins and rodents have to eat from it multiple times before they’re killed. These baits smell and taste different from each other. ‘Bait pulsing and switching’ means using one type of bait for a period of time, then switching to the other type of bait. Why should you do this? Well rodents are clever, and if they see other rats and mice dying after eating something they’ll stop eating it. By swapping the bait, they now view this new food source as potentially safe and will likely start eating it again.


El Niño can disrupt more than just the weather—it can also shake up the lives of our rodent neighbours. By understanding how these climate events affect rodent behaviour and taking proactive steps to manage them, we can minimize the impact on our homes and bird populations. So stay informed, stay vigilant, and remember, we're all in this together!

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