Rodents to Lookout for this Winter

Rodents to Lookout for this Winter

Whether they’re in your basement, attic, crawl space, or even your living space, discovering rodents is never ideal. They carry diseases that can be harmful to you and your family and also cause damage to your home. It’s important to be aware of the signs and types of rodents that can be found in or near your home.

Types of Rodents

  • Norway Rat: One of the largest species of rats, they can measure from 13 to 18 inches in body length. They rely heavily on human impact and will search for any food source possible. Norway rats are known to chew through plastic materials or even lead pipes, causing considerable damage to your home.
  • House Mouse: These mice are on the tinier side, measuring up to 7 inches and varying in color. These critters will eat anything to survive and get most of their water intake from the food they eat. Being incredible climbers, they can become a threat once inside your home by gnawing on electrical wires.
  • Roof Rat: These rats are slightly smaller than a Norway rat but can still measure up to 13 inches in length, including the tail. Roof rats are excellent climbers and prefer to nest in high places, including attics.

Rodents are never an exciting creature to discover in your home, but how do you know if you have rodents? Here are some signs that rodents could be in your home already:

  • Discovering droppings in areas such as basements, attics, or crawlspaces.
  • Finding nests in your home means it has become a haven for these critters.
  • If you hear scratching, tapping, or squeaking coming from the walls or the attic.
  • If you begin to notice property damage, including gnaw marks or chewed wires.

If you suspect any of these rodents inside your home, consider contacting your local pest control company for a rodent control plan that will help remove, exclude, and prevent them in the future!

Types of Rodents Found in the South

Types of Rodents Found in the South

We never expect our homes to fall victim to rodent invaders, but it can happen to anyone! Getting rid of these critters can be difficult, but with the help of a wildlife control company, it can be made possible. Before reaching out to someone for assistance, be sure you’re identifying these rodents correctly. Here are some of the most common rodents found in the South.

Deer Mouse

Often referred to as field mice, these rodents are typically found in the woodlands and desert areas. They rarely invade residential properties but will sometimes seek shelter in our homes for winter since they don’t hibernate. When indoors, deer mice are typically found in basements or attics. The biggest threat about them is that they can transmit the dangerous hantavirus, so it’s vital to get them taken care of as soon as possible.

House Mouse

Just like the deer mouse, these mice also carry diseases and shouldn’t be kept in your home for long once discovered. The house mouse prefers to move along baseboards and countertops and can be seen eating anything they can find. They will contaminate your food and can transmit diseases like salmonella and even the bubonic plague. They are also known to cause structural damage such as creating tunnels in walls and chewing exposed wires.

Norway Rats

These stocky, heavy-bodied rats are larger and more aggressive than the roof rat. They rely heavily on human activity for survival and will eat anything like cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts, and some fruits. Norway rats are more active at night and can cause considerable damage to homes, gardens, and structures. The main concern is the diseases they are known to spread, which include jaundice, rat bite fever, and salmonella.

Roof Rats

Known as a serious pest problem, they are also dependent on humans for survival and will usually infest homes. They have padded feet that make it easier for them to climb, so they are usually found in attics, eaves, and roof lines. Roof rats are known for spreading multiple diseases, including salmonella, leptospirosis, and rat bite fever. They contaminate food when they are foraging, impacting not just humans, but also pets and livestock.

If you think you have a rodent problem, it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Reach out to your local wildlife control company so they can create a customized plan to rid your home of rodents.

Mouse vs Rat: 5 Differences Explained

Mouse vs Rat: 5 Differences Explained

As members of the rodent family, mice and rats look very similar and are often mistaken for one another. Both are harmful, transmitting serious diseases to humans and pets, contaminating surfaces in our home, and chewing through structures and wires, causing damage and putting you at risk for fires. How do you know if you are dealing with a mouse vs rat? Here are 5 key differences between these two rodents.

Physical Appearance

Mice are noticeably smaller than rats, growing 3 to 4 inches in length. Mice weigh anywhere from 0.5 oz to 3 oz. A mouse’s tail is equal in length to its body and is thin, long, and covered in hair. Mice have small heads and large ears with pointy, triangular snots and smooth fur. Mice can be white, gray, or brown in color. Rats, on the other hand, are much larger, measuring 9″ to 11″ in length and weighing anywhere from 12 oz to 1.5 lbs. A rat’s tail can be 7″ to 9″ in length and is long, thick, scaly, and hairless. Rats have small ears and large heads with blunt snouts. They have coarse fur that can be dark brown or multicolored.

Droppings

Mice have smaller droppings, about 1/4″ in length. Mice droppings are black with pointed ends and resemble a grain of rice. Mice can leave up to 100 droppings at a time. Rat droppings are larger with an elongated oval shape. These droppings are about 3/4″ long, black in color, and resemble a banana. Rats can leave up to 50 droppings at a time. Rodent droppings of both species are known to carry diseases that can be harmful to humans.

Diet

While both species are omnivores, their diets tend to vary. Mice commonly eat fruit, seeds, and plants. In your home they may nibble on bread crumbs or other cereals and grains. Their palates are not as wide as rats. Mice can also survive on 3 mL of water per day. Rats, on the other hand, will eat almost anything, even scavenging through your garbage for fruit, eggs, meat, and other leftovers. They will also eat plants and seeds. Rats need anywhere from 15 to 60 mL of water per day.

Habitat

While both rats and mice will come into your home, they tend to frequent different areas once inside. Mice can be found in garages, under trees, under decks, and in walls and other voids that are too small for other rodents to get into. The species of rat you are dealing with determines where they prefer to live. Norway rats can be found in sewers, inside walls, and in cellars. They prefer lower levels of your home to reside in. Roof rats prefer higher environments, often being found in cabinets and attics.

Behavior

Mice are nocturnal animals. They are timid but social within their own populations. They are very territorial and more curious than rats, making them easier to trap. They are skillful climbers and can access areas rats can’t because of their small size. Rats are also nocturnal but are more cautious and fearful of new things than mice are, making them more difficult to trap. Rats are also skillful climbers. Both rats and mice will gnaw through structures and wiring in your home, causing damage and putting you at risk for fire. Mice have weaker teeth and can’t chew through glass or metal to get to food. Rats have much stronger jaws and have been known to chew through wood, glass, sheet metal, aluminum, and even cinder blocks.

Regardless of which pest you are dealing with, proper identification and treatment is essential to eliminating them. Contact your local pest control company who can determine which type of pest you have and set you up with the appropriate rodent control plan to eliminate them.

 

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Signs of a Mouse Infestation

Signs of a Mouse Infestation

Mice are incredibly resourceful as they can quickly adapt to new environments. Small in size, these pests are looking for a warm place to shelter and provide a food source. If these rodents make it indoors, they can cause significant damage to your home. Here we list the major signs of mice in your home and how you can prevent them.

Seeing holes, tears, and gnaw marks is a major sign that mice are indoors. You can typically see this damage in bedding, clothing, fabrics, and other materials. Mice will use these shredded fabrics to help build their nests, usually located in dark, secluded areas. These pests will also chew and leave gnaw marks on inedible materials such as wood, plastic, cables, and electrical wiring.

A more obvious sign of a mouse infestation is hearing noises throughout the night. Mice can fit through holes and openings smaller than their bodies. Using their ability to fit through the smallest hole, they will often use the spaces between joists to travel from one part of the house to the other. If a mouse has gotten inside the walls, you’ll often hear scratching or scrabbling noises.

Another alarming sign that a mouse is inside is seeing their feces. Mouse droppings are around three to six millimeters or ¼ inch in length. They typically resemble small grains of rice and sometimes can be mistaken for cockroach droppings. If you see mouse droppings, it’s best to carefully pick them up with gloves and place them in a sealed plastic bag to ensure they don’t release bacteria or virus particles.

To help prevent mice, place the preventative measures below throughout your house.

  • Seal any cracks and holes on the exterior of your home with caulk.
  • Keep your basements, crawlspaces, and attics clean, decluttered, and dry.
  • Clean up any spills and crumbs immediately, vacuuming and sweeping often.
  • Don’t leave food out overnight, including pet food outside.

If you notice any signs of mice inside your house, consider reaching out to your local pest control provider, where they will provide you with the best plan of action.

Can You Have Rats and Mice at the Same Time?

Can You Have Rats and Mice at the Same Time?

Rats and mice are both rodents and while they are often mistaken for each other, the similarities really end there. These two pests don’t breed with each other and typically nest in different places. If a population is big enough that the two species cross paths on a regular basis and the food sources nearby are plentiful, then they can inhabit the same area at the same time; this is rare, however. Most often they are competing for the same food and rats will kill mice instead. In fact, mice and rats give off very distinctive odors and mice will flee when they smell rats nearby.

Rats vs mice can be confusing and the two are often mistaken for each other when they infest your home.

Mice are much smaller than rats, usually only 2″ to 4″ long. They typically have lighter brown coloring and dark tails. Their ears are proportionately larger when compared to their body size than those of rats. Mice have wide, blunt snouts, small feet, and small, beady eyes. They prefer to eat grains and plants but will eat leftover food and garbage if inside. They can also go long periods of time without water. They typically nest in hidden areas near their food sources (e.g. your kitchen). They produce more droppings per day than rats (70-150) but their droppings are smaller in size and usually scattered throughout the house. They are more curious than rats and easier to trap.

Rats are much larger than mice, usually ranging from 8″ to 10″ in length. They also have much darker coloring. Their ears are proportionately smaller when compared to their body size than their mice cousins. They have sharp, narrow snouts, large hind feet, and large, prominent eyes. Rats are omnivores and will eat anything they find, including meat. They require regular amounts of drinking water than mice do. Depending on the species, rats also nest in different areas than mice. Norway rats will often dig under buildings, along fences, and hide under debris and landscaping. Roof rats will typically nest in higher locations (e.g. roofs, attics, and rafters). Rats produce larger feces (about 2 cm in size). Rats are more cautious than mice and can be more difficult to trap. They are also strong swimmers.

Both rats and mice are dangerous to humans. Risks of a rodent infestation of any kind include gnawing through surfaces, insulation, and wires; contaminating surfaces with urine and droppings; and carrying and transmitting harmful pathogens like salmonellosis, plague, and trichinosis.

The best treatment against a rodent infestation is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some of our top rodent prevention tips you can utilize in your home.

  1. Clean up spilled food immediately.
  2. Put away all food at night, including pet food and bird feeders.
  3. Keep food, including pet food and bird seed, in sealed, airtight containers.
  4. Keep garbage can lids tightly sealed.
  5. Declutter your attic and basement, especially anything made of cardboard.
  6. Store any items you can on shelves rather than in the floor.
  7. Keep your yard clear of debris.
  8. Keep grass and shrubs cut short.
  9. Trim shrubs and trees away from the sides of your home.
  10. Store firewood off the ground and a safe distance from your home.
  11. Repair holes in your foundation, garage, and interior walls and any gaps in your roof.
  12. Seal any openings larger than 1/4″.
  13. Use rubber seals under garage doors.
  14. Use door sweeps on exterior doors.
  15. Use weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  16. Use screens that are in good repair on doors and windows.
  17. Seal around pipes, drains, and vents.
  18. Use chimney caps.

If you suspect a problem with rodents or any other pest, contact your local pest control company who can help identify which rodent you are dealing with and set you up with the most appropriate rodent control plan for your situation.

 

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