Everything You Need to Know About Rodents in Your Home

Everything You Need to Know About Rodents in Your Home

Think you might have rodents in your home? Don’t wait – rid your house of rats and mice now before the infestation becomes overwhelming. Rats and mice are known to carry over 30 transmissible diseases, including rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, salmonella, and rat lung worm disease. Aside from these health hazards, rats cause damage to your home by creating holes, leaving oily marks on the floor/walls, contaminating attic insulation, and destroying HVAC ducts and systems. Rodents also gnaw on electrical wires which is a significant fire hazard. Experts believe that the electrical damage caused by rodents contributes to 20% of undetermined house fires! A rodent infestation is not a problem that can be ignored.
We’ve gathered some telltale signs of a rodent infestation and included some tips to help prevent or rid you of these unwelcome critters.

SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR

Droppings & Urine

Rodents leave a trail of clues that you can pick up on fairly quickly. The most obvious of these is finding rodent droppings and urine in your home (more often than not in the attic). You can determine whether you have mice or rats based on the droppings. Mouse droppings are pointed at both ends and are typically smaller than a quarter of an inch long. Rat droppings can either have blunt or pointed ends and are about half an inch or more in size. If the droppings are new, they’ll be shiny and have a putty texture, while old droppings will be dry and hard. These differences in the droppings allow you to assess how prevalent the infestation is and whether the rodents are adults, juveniles or a mix. You should also look for dry urine puddles on the floor – these are highly visible and have a very strong odor.

Holes & Other Damage to Your Home

Another telltale sign of a rodent infestation is finding holes in your home. These are frequently found in the space around pipes or conduits, near doors and windows, and behind or under cupboards, bathtubs, and counters. Mouse holes are small, roughly the size of a dime, and clear-cut. In comparison, rat holes have rough edges and are about the size of a quarter. As the rodents move through these holes and other parts of your home at night, you’ll typically hear scratching sounds – another big indicator of an infestation. You’ll also often find chewed up wires, boxes, or clothing. This is because rodents’ teeth are constantly growing and they need to gnaw on hard surfaces in order to wear them down. Another sign of infestation is oily marks on the walls. These grease marks are from the rodents’ fur rubbing the walls as they move around. If they smear when you touch them, then that means the rodent infestation is fairly recent. They may also cause damage to insulation as they use this material as well as paper, fabric and grass to build their nests. Check inside the attic and crawl space, around the water heater, behind the washing machine and other concealed areas for rat nests.

Unusual Pet Behavior

Pets will usually pick up on a rodent infestation sooner than you do. They can smell or hear them and will paw at places where they suspect these critters are hiding. In general, pets will be alert and seem on edge once they realize you have unwelcome home invaders.
 
 

HOW TO RID YOURSELF OF RODENTS

Seal All Entry Points

Rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter and mice can fit through openings the size of a dime. Once you’ve figured out where the rodents are moving through, seal the small entry points with caulk or steel wool pads. For larger holes, use hardware cloth, concrete mortar or sheet metal for filling. Do not use plastic or wood because rodents can easily chew through these materials. Double check that all your windows, screens, and doors fit firmly in their frames. You do not want rodents to gain access to interior living space by simply squeezing under a door or around a window.

Trim Shrubbery

Rodents can use trees’ and bushes’ low hanging, long limbs to climb to your roof and enter your home through small openings or eaves. Trim the branches of the shrubbery to make sure there’s at least four feet of distance between the shrubbery and your roof.
 
 

Remove Inside Attractors

Make sure not to leave food out on the counter or in any other area that’s openly accessible. Store your food in airtight containers and keep them inside cabinets, pantries or your refrigerator. Clean all counter tops to ensure there are no crumbs and sweep or vacuum your floors (especially the kitchen) often. In general, make sure your home is clean and tidy – especially in the attic, kitchen and any hard to reach places. Take out the trash regularly so the rodents don’t have anything to rummage through. Be sure not to leave any still water around (such as in dishes in the sink) so that the rodents don’t have a water source. A commonly missed problem for cleanliness is the area where small gaps allow food to collect around and under the stove or oven in the kitchen.
 

Set Traps

Rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter and mice can fit through openings the size of a dime. Once you’ve figured out where the rodents are moving through, seal the small entry points with caulk or steel wool pads. For larger holes, use hardware cloth, concrete mortar or sheet metal for filling. Do not use plastic or wood because rodents can easily chew through these materials. Double check that all your windows, screens, and doors fit firmly in their frames. You do not want rodents to gain access to interior living space by simply squeezing under a door or around a window.
 

Call A Professional

Despite the tips we listed earlier, it’s always best to have a professional handle a rodent infestation. A rodent expert with a trained eye and experience in residential control can track and capture rodents, and will often find entry points or infested areas that most homeowners and insect control technicians will miss. Hiring an expert to rid you of an infestation may be more of an expense but it’s definitely worth it in the long run as they’ll rid your home of rodents for good, making your home more comfortable and safe again.
 
If you think you have a rodent infestation, give us a call today for a free inspection (818) 865-7228. We’ll rid your home of rodents, repair the damage they’ve caused, and decontaminate and sanitize your home.
 

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