Should a rodent infestation worry you? There’s no denying the complete and utter embarrassment of seeing a rat run across your living room when you have guests. But, that is not the only reason to be wary of rodents. These pests can cause extensive property damage and pose serious health risks. Knowing what to look out for is the first step in dealing with a rodent infestation. For this reason, we’ve gathered five surefire signs of a rodent infestation in your home, prevention tips, and how to get rid of these pests.
Signs of Rodents
Mice and rat droppings are dead-cert indicators of an infestation. You’ll likely spot these feces in popular hiding spots such as the pantry area, closets, and cabinets. These droppings reveal a lot concerning the infestation. For instance, if you spot pale grey droppings, this means that rodents have been hijacking your home for a while. Fresh feces are shinier and pigmented.
Smaller droppings of approximately 1/8 inch indicate mice presence, while ½ inch means you’re dealing with rats. The size and location of droppings indicate the infestation size and proximity to feeding areas. We recommend proper disposal of these droppings, especially rat feces. Contact with such droppings puts you at risk of contracting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Also, inhaling these feces is harmful and may cause allergies.
2. Urine trails and odor
Rodent urine has a very foul smell. You’ll know whether mice are present if you notice a “urine pillar” consisting of urine and grease. We recommend using fluorescent light to spot urine trails and to find out their feeding spots.
3. Rodent tracks
Mice have tiny feet of about 3/8 inch. In comparison, rats’ feet are almost an inch in size. A surefire sign of rodent presence are tracks leading to food sources such as the kitchen and basement.
Typically, rodents use items inside your home to create their nest. These include stuffing, paper, and fabric. They will then set up in hidden spots such as inside your walls. You’ll likely spot bite marks around nests such as boxes and cardboard walls. These gnaw marks can tell you whether the infestation and nesting have been ongoing or are recent.
5. Seeing actual rodents
Rats have rough grey, reddish, or black body fur with a hairless tail. They are also much more prominent than mice. Mice, on the other hand, are smaller, with noticeably huge ears. Their fur is smoother and brown or grey. Besides spotting these rodents, hearing loud crawling, scratching noises inside walls and rafters shows that you are dealing with an infestation.
How to Prevent a Rodent Infestation in Your Home
The CDC recommends doing these three things to prevent a rodent infestation.
1. Close up all gaps
Both mice and rats can fit through highly narrow openings. It would therefore be wise to seal any gaps inside and outside your home. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the potential areas to inspect.
- Inside and beneath appliances and cabinets
- Under closets
- Inside your attic, laundry area, and basement
- Vents and the areas circling your pipes
- Around the eaves and rafters
2. Set traps
Trapping rodents immediately you spot them helps to prevent an infestation if there’s not one already. You’ll need several bait pans and peanut butter to attract these rodents. Place your trap next to walls because these critters prefer moving in hidden areas. It would help if you set these rodent traps on sites with less human and pet traffic. These spots include the attic and storage room.
Avoid using glue to trap rodents, especially mice, because they’ll end up urinating, this excrement typically consists of harmful bacteria that will expose you and your loved ones to diseases.
3. Keep your home clean
If you talk to anyone who’s suffered any pest infestation in the past, they’ll likely give this prevention tip; declutter and always keep your house clean. The same applies to rodent infestations. These destructive critters are filthy. So, they are naturally attracted to dirt. Thankfully, several simple steps could help you keep them away.
- Proper storage of food items in sealed containers
- Clear your dishes right after using them
- Keep all cooking areas clean
- Never leave your pet’s feeding bowl outside overnight
- Keep your garbage and compost bin sealed and far from your house
- Declutter your outdoor space by trimming shrubs, getting rid of old unused vehicles that could act as a nesting ground.
When to Call a Professional
DIY methods like setting rodent traps are ideal only when you are dealing with a single rodent. Unfortunately, this is almost always never the case. If you spot any of the signs mentioned above, it would be best to call a reputable rodent removal company. These professionals will inspect, repair damage while getting rid of your rodent problem. Seeking rodent control services is also the best way to limit the concern of placing your loved ones at risk of using harmful chemicals.