About 21 million American homes suffer from rodent infestation during the colder months. These little critters bring up big questions, as people fear the worst and prepare for a pest-free home.
Read on for 7 important FAQs on mice and rats:
1. Do I Have an Infestation?
This question infests the mind of anybody who notices something a little off around the house. Unless you see a critter in your house, you may not know whether or not there is a problem.
Let’s take a look at common signs of a rodent infestation to answer the question.
Finding little brown droppings around the house can signal an infestation. With rodents, you will often find these near food sources. So, places to look include the kitchen floor, cupboards, drawers, and pantries. Rodents may also leave a sparse trail of droppings leading from the food source to their nest.
Rodents will shred up paper, cardboard, fabric, and other material suitable for nesting. You may find pieces of material in strange places from their gathering.
Rat and mouse teeth continuously grow, so they also chew things often. So aside from food boxes, you may notice shredded couches, furniture, and valuables.
While one rodent may sneak quietly through the home, an infestation of them tend to make a lot of noise. You may hear something scurrying over an open floor.
Listen to your walls as well. You may hear scratching, gnawing, and squeaking noises where they keep their nest.
What’s that smell? Rats and mice will create an unpleasant odor when they choose your home for a nesting site. You may notice the stench of ammonia or stale urine wafting from a wall or cupboards.
Dogs and cats will notice a rodent before you. One of the first signs may be your pet acting wacky. They may hiss, growl, or run at walls.
2. Which Pest Is It?
If you notice signs of an infestation, you probably wonder the culprit. Rats grow much bigger than mice with clunkier heads and thicker tails.
Rat droppings will appear longer with blunt ends, while little mouse droppings taper at the end. Their food preferences may differ too as trash with carcasses, fish or peanut butter will attract rats while mice tend to go after more carbs in cupboards.
3. Why Did They Come Inside?
As the months grow colder, mice and rats need shelter and warmth. They also need a reliable food source as winter takes away the harvests. So, rodents will make their way indoors where they can find everything they need close by and stay safe from predators.
4. How Did They Get In?
Sometimes, they get lucky and sneak through a door left open. Other times, they may make their way in on a batch of firewood. But they do not always need an open invitation to sneak inside a home.
So, anything their little heads can fit through the can navigate. This makes pipes and breaks in the foundation easy ways in. Rats may also burrow underground to get into a home.
5. Are They Dangerous?
Yes. A rodent infestation creates serious health risks for you and your family, making rodent extermination imperative.
First, they can bite. If pets or small children get too curious with your uninvited guest, the blunt teeth can hurt them.
Rodents rummage through trash, scurry in sewers, step in feces, and eat off of dead carcasses. This means that their bite can cause a serious infection.
These animals also carry a number of infectious diseases, like hantavirus, plague, and leptospirosis, that they can spread on surfaces in your home. They may also indirectly spread vector-borne diseases, like Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
Rodents Chewing Through Wires
6. How Can I Prevent a Rodent Infestation?
Always focus on prevention first. Preventative rodent control will save you time and money to keep rodents out of your home in the first place.
Here are a few tips on preventing rodents from getting inside.
Keeping your home clean will discourage pests from coming in. They often travel toward the scent of food.
Taking the garbage out and sweeping regularly makes your home smell more appealing to you, but less to them. Clean up clutter and hoards as well, as they will nest in it if allowed.
Survey the entire foundation of your home for holes and cracks. If you find any, seal them with caulk right away This will make entry difficult.
Screen doorways, vents, and chimney flues as well to prevent them from getting in that way.
Eliminate Excess Moisture
Animals navigate towards water sources. So, keep the basement and attic dry and ventilated. Take care of clogged drains and leaky pipes and clean up any flooding promptly.
Keep Wood Away
Do not store firewood inside your home, as it can bring in unwanted pests. In fact, keep it away from the home. Even storing it outdoors against the house brings rodents near.
7. How Do I Get Rid of Mice and Rats?
Even the best prevention measures sometimes fail. When you recognize a rodent infestation, take care of it promptly.
Putting out traps with bait for mice or rats can help. Place them behind appliances, in cupboards, and in spaces, you notice the most rodent activity.
Call an Exterminator Today
If you notice mice and rats in your home, do not wait to take care of the problem. Rodents reproduce quickly and the bigger the problem, the longer it will take to eliminate and the more it will cost you.
Are you not having any luck with mouse trap traps and/or bait? We can get rid of your pest problem for you. Learn more about our general preventative residential pest control services or request a quote for your specific problem here. Together, we will eliminate mice once and for all. Did you know Synergy² is a full-service pest company specializing in difficult-to-treat pest problems such as bed bugs and termites?
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