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Do You Smell a Rat? Telltale Signs of A Rodent Infestation

In the United States, nearly 84% of homes experience some form of pest problem.

Of that 84%, 21 million homes have unwanted rodent invaders.

It may not seem like a big deal at first, seeing a mouse here and there, but we assure you it is. A single female mouse can have up to 10 litters of offspring a year, each containing up to 14 young.

You see, a couple of seemingly unimportant mice can lead to a full-blown rodent infestation in a very short period of time.

The question is, how do you know if you have rodents in your home? Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Keep reading for our top telltale signs that’ll tip you off to a rodent infestation.

Unexplained Noises

Most people live in a world full of noise. We’re always watching TV, listening to music, or otherwise engaged in electronics. Many people even fall asleep watching TV.

This way of life can make it somewhat difficult to pick up on one of the telltale signs of a rodent infestation.

When all is silent throughout the house, however, it’s not hard to pick up on some noises made by our little uninvited guests. They make plenty of it between scratching and biting on the walls and other things they use to grind their teeth down.

Additionally, for small creatures, they make a lot of noise scampering around.

Droppings

A more obvious sign of a rodent infestation is physical waste evidence.

Rodents defecate a lot. While the majority of their waste will probably be behind walls where they spend most of their time, to be surprised to find piles of it in dark, rarely-used spaces.

Many people stumble upon popular rodent hangouts in their attics, garages, under furniture, inside pantries, etc. If you suspect you might have rodents, start taking a look around these places.

Dropping are a strong hint you might have a problem. Fresh droppings are dark and moist, while old dropping is dry, gray, and crumble easily.

Bite Marks/Destruction

Most people think rodents are always chewing on things for food. However, it’s common to find cardboard boxes, plastic containers, and drywall chewed up. These things are no more food to mice than they are to us.

Rodents constantly chew on things because their incisors never stop growing. They are constantly chewing to grind their teeth down, as they would otherwise grow too large.

Unfortunately, the constant chewing that comes along with a rodent infestation can cause a ton of property damage, both to your home and your possessions. It’s not uncommon for rodents to get into boxes in our attics full of family memorabilia such as pictures, artwork, and even clothes like wedding dresses.

Finally, if there’s not already a doorway for rodents, they’ll make one. Many homeowners find holes in their wall where rodents have made their own passages.

Odd Pet Behavior

An indirect sign of a rodent infestation can be seen through your invited animal friends, such as your cat or dog.

Their senses of smell and hearing are much more refined than ours. They hear and smell rodents long before we do.

If you notice them paying extra attention to the wall or pantry, they may be alerting you to the presence of pests.

Pungent Odor

As we mentioned above, rodents contribute a lot of waste into your home. While their fecal matter is relatively easy to vacuum up and leaves little trace left behind, their urine is another story.

Interestingly or disgustingly, however you want to look at it, male rodents use their urine to attract mates. Therefore, their brand of urine is especially concentrated and especially odorous.

If you have a rodent infestation, it’s just a matter of time until you’ll know.

Signs of Nesting

Rodents are nesters.

We mentioned before how rodents often chew not to feed, but to grind their teeth down. However, much of their chewing is also for the purpose of building nests.

Rodents use paper, clothing, cardboard boxes, and anything else they need for bedding. Often, they build their nests in attics, crawl spaces, and underneath appliances or furniture.

Popular Runways

Rodents, like most animals, find the path of least resistance and then stick to it.

For example, many dog owners have clear, worn-in paths in their yard from where their dog runs to and fro. The dog takes the same path over and over again.

Rodents are no different, however, they tend to stay very close to the walls as they travel. Therefore, a common sign of a rodent infestation is greasy and dirty trail marks left by rodents.

You’ll see rub marks both on the ground and on the side of the wall where their fur rubs.

How to Avoid a Rodent Infestation

Most pest control and prevention comes down to the same basic principles of housekeeping.

In order to prevent a rodent infestation, make sure all food waste is disposed of properly. Any food, even crumbs on the floor or in pantries or cupboard will attract rodents. Additionally, use garbage containers with tight-fitting lids.

Secondly, seal up any holes and cracks in your walls both inside and outside. While rodents can chew their way in, you don’t want to invite them in by leaving existing pathways. Additionally, stuff any pre-existing holes with steel wool, rodents can chew through it.

Finally, keep rodent nesting opportunities to a minimum. Piles of mulch in the yard, piles of laundry in the basement or attic, and piles of debris such as old lumber throughout your property will invite rodents to stay.

Basically, limit the number of vacancy signs you’re projecting to the rodent population.

What to Do If You Have a Rodent Infestation

Even with all the best rodent infestation prevention measures, there’s a good chance you’ll have rodents at some point or another. Once you realize you do, it’s imperative you act fast.

There are a number of different types of rodent traps, such as snap traps and live traps. There are also rodent poisons and even ultrasound devices used to keep the rodents away.

However, the best thing you could do is call a professional pest control company. They can help you get rid of rodents and keep them out. Plus, DIY rodent control generally doesn’t address the extent of the problem, which is most often worse than people know.

If you need residential pest control, let us know, we can help!

Otherwise, check out more of our blog for more helpful information!

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