The weather is getting colder, and in the pest control world, that means one thing: it’s rodent season. As temperatures drop outside, mice and rats are more likely to seek shelter in your home, making nests in attics, basements, and other areas that seem secluded and safe. What’s more, this year may be a particularly bad one for infestations, since rodents that normally get their food from restaurants and other commercial businesses have been forced into residential neighborhoods, as a result of closures due to COVID-19. Keep reading to learn the top five signs of a rodent infestation, and do not hesitate to call our experts at proof. pest control the second you spot a mouse or rat on your property.
You May Be Dealing with a Rodent Infestation If:
- You See Droppings Around Your Property: Maybe the top sign of a rodent infestation is the droppings they leave behind after they have moved into your home. Places you are most likely to spot these include behind kitchen cabinets, pantries, cupboards, drawers, and other storage areas, as well as corners of your basement or in your attic insulation. You can determine how fresh rodent droppings are by examining the color and consistency. Older droppings tend to be dull, gray, and dry, easily crumbling apart when you try to clean them up. Fresh droppings tend to be darker and shinier in color, with a softer consistency. In terms of size, mice droppings are about 1/8 of an inch long, while rat droppings are about 1/2 an inch in length and width. Always call a professional pest control technician if you have found rat or mouse droppings on your property, no matter how old they are. If they seem fresh, we may still be able to put a stop to the infestation before it gets out of control. If the droppings are old, it is urgent that we come to your property, as the infestation may already be well underway.
- You See Trails of Urine Around Your Property: While feces may be the most common thing rodents leave behind, you may also be able to detect their presence by the drops and pools of urine commonly left in their wake. In the case of mice specifically, you may notice what are called “urinating pillars,” which are nasty little piles of grease, dirt, and urine. Aside from the smell, the best way to follow a trail of rodent urine is by using a fluorescent light. Be careful to do this before you clean, as bleach and detergent will also show up under the fluorescence.
- You’ve Seen Tracks Around Your Property: In addition, to urine trails, rodents often leave behind little runways, letting you know where they may be nesting. Rats usually follow “odor trails” to food sources, water sources, and nests You may be able to identify these trails by the tracks they leave behind, as well as by rub-marks made by their bodies, which are brownish-gray in color. Small footprints, on the other hand, and trails of dust, are more likely to be signs of a mice infestation. A mouse’s foot is just 3/8 of an inch or less, while a rat’s foot can measure anywhere between 3/4-1 inch. Rats also leave behind trail tracks, so it should be fairly easy to tell which kind of rodent has invaded your home.
- You’ve Spotted Nests in Hidden Places: Rodents have great ingenuity when it comes to building nests, and will use any nearby items that are soft and warm to create a shelter. This may include grass and twigs from outside, as well as materials they have collected from inside your home, such as fabric, furniture stuffing, and shredded paper. To reiterate, rodents may try to build a nest in any concealed location, like in cabinets and walls, under your floors, and inside of boxes. Because of the easy access and many hiding places, it is common to find them in the basement, though nests also show up in kitchens, as rodents naturally gravitate towards areas with an available food and water source. The other part of your home where you are likely to find a rodent nest is of course the attic. The insulation in your attic acts as a natural nesting point for rodents, and when they get into it, they can cause a ton of destruction, potentially forcing you to put in new insulation entirely.
- You’ve Heart Rodents Throughout Your Home: You may hear rodents making audible noises once they have infested your property. The majority of rodent activity takes place at night, so you should listen for scratching, gnawing, and crawling noises in your attic, walls, and rafters after the lights go out. If the infestation is severe enough, you may even hear some small squeaking sounds—this is a sign that rats are fighting for nesting space. Of course, the other major sign of a rodent infestation is sightings, which should always prompt you to give us a call!
How to Prevent Rodent Infestations
Seal your exterior openings - the best way to prevent rodents from getting in your home is to close openings and crawl spaces that they may be able to enter through. Common places that rodents will enter your home are cracks in walls and floors, gaps around house siding, roof vents, and the edges of foundations. You can use caulking, a sealant, or mesh netting to fill any holes that you find on the exterior of your home.
Keep your home clean - maintaining a crumb-free and tidy home is another way to keep rodents away from your home. Leaving out food or sweets can attract rodents (and their friends!), which will only begin to make the issue worse. Make sure to pick up around your home and clean surfaces frequently to avoid attracting rodents.
Trap them if you can - if you are noticing or hearing signs of rodents, it can also be a good idea to buy a mousetrap, bait it with cheese, and attempt to catch them. Common places to trap rodents would be your attic, basement, or under and behind appliances. Any areas near exterior entrances will also have a higher chance of success. Make sure to keep traps away from pets and children!
Although these tips can help prevent and remove rodents, make sure to call in the experts if you continue to have issues. We offer effective and convenient ways to rid your home of unwanted rodents and many other household pests.
Call Our Professional Exterminators Today!
No one should have to live with a fear of rodents on their property, whether it’s just a few unwanted guests or a full-on infestation. Most mice and rats live between 10-150 feet of their food source, which means they may be closer than you think. The second you spot a rodent in your house, or you notice any of the signs listed above, ensure your household’s peace of mind by giving proof. pest control a call. Our expert rodent control technicians can offer multiple techniques to take care of your problem, including baiting, trapping, and exclusion to prevent rodents from getting back on your property in the future. Contact us now for available deals and specials, and don’t let rodents ruin your upcoming holiday season.