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.
Rodents can wreak havoc on your home, chewing through wires and insulation and contaminating surfaces with their urine and feces. Rodents are also known for carrying and transmitting serious diseases to humans. You may not see a live rodent in your home until an infestation is already established. It is important to know the signs of a rodent infestation so you can identify the problem before it gets out of control. Here are 9 warning signs of a rodent infestation to look for in your home.
- Rodent droppings around food packages, in drawers and cupboards, and under sinks.
- Nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric, string, and dried plant matter.
- Signs of chewing on food packaging.
- Holes that have been chewed through floors and walls that these critters can use as an entry point.
- Stale smells coming from hidden areas of your home such as wall voids, attics, crawlspaces, etc.
- Rub marks, which are oily marks left behind where rodents travel along walls.
- A strong, musky urine odor.
- Scampering, scratching, or gnawing sounds, especially at night.
- Unusual pet behavior such as becoming extremely alert or anxious, excessive barking, or pawing at surfaces under appliances or furniture.
Prevention is critical to keeping rodents and other pests from taking over your home. Keep them out of your home with these rodent prevention tips:
- Seal any holes inside or outside your home with steel wool, lath screen, lath metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting. Some common areas to check for holes include in the roof among rafters, gables, and eaves; around windows and doors; around foundations; in attic and crawlspace vents; under doors; around holes for electrical, plumbing, cable, and gas lines; inside and under cabinets; inside closets near floor corners; around fireplaces; around pipes under sinks and washers; around hot water heater and furnace pipes; around floor and dryer vents; in basement and laundry room floor drains; and between floor and wall junctures.
- Remove potential nesting sites such as leaf piles and deep mulch.
- Keep garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Turn compost piles to cover any newly added food.
- Bring pet food and water bowls in overnight and empty birdfeeders daily. Try to avoid feeding outdoor birds, if possible, while you have an active infestation.
- Fix gaps in trailer skirting and use flashing around the base of your home.
- Store food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Keep outdoor cooking areas and grills clean.
- Elevate woodpiles, hay, and garbage cans at least 1 foot off the ground.
- Get rid of any old tires, vehicles, etc from your property.
- Keep your grass mowed short and shrubbery well trimmed, especially if it is within 100 feet of your home.
If you suspect you have a problem with rodents or any other pest, your local pest control company can perform a thorough home inspection which will help determine the type of rodent you are dealing with, their patterns of activity, what’s attracting them to your home, and which treatment method is best for elimination and ongoing prevention.
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As the corona virus continues to spread, people around the world are drastically changing their daily routines. Tourism has come to a grinding halt. Restaurants are closed and people are staying home. What many don’t realize is this change in our daily lives is also affecting the ecosystem within cities. As there is less urban traffic, there is less food for pests and rodents – like rats. According to experts, if rats lose these established food sources (e.g. trash in cans in the park or dumpsters outside restaurants) then they will start fighting over any food that remains, even going so far as to kill each other in order to survive.
Because rats are having to get creative in finding new food sources, there is now a trending surge of rats invading homes and essential businesses in search of their next meal. Rats will follow the smell of food into homes, being as bold as necessary to find food in their effort to survive. Rats in homes pose serious risks – they will chew through wires and cables putting you at risk for fires and they carry diseases of their own which can easily be transmitted to you and your family. While there is no evidence that rats themselves can become infected with corona virus, there is some risk for spreading it to humans. Rats are known to crawl through sewer pipes containing human feces which has been shown to contain the virus. They then make their way into your home and contaminate any surfaces they touch with the virus-laden feces, potentially allowing humans who come in contact with these contaminated surfaces to contract the virus. The CDC reports that although this scenario is possible, the risk of transmission by feces is actually quite low.
To protect your family and/or essential business, the following rat prevention tips can help to prevent a rat infestation, limit the spread of disease, and keep your environment a safe-haven, during shelter-in-place orders and in the future:
- Use outdoor trashcans with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal any cracks under doors and other openings to the outside.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows.
- Seal around utility pipes with steel wool and either caulk or concrete.
- Repair any roof damage such as broken tiles or gaps under eaves.
- Keep limbs and branches trimmed back to they are not touching your home or business.
- Declutter any areas where rats may hide including garages, attics, gardens, storage sheds, warehouses, etc.
- Keep food stored in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids.
- Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
- Sweep, mop, and vacuum often.
- Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
- Clean up spilled pet food and bird seed and store in containers with tight fitting lids.
- Keep toilet lids closed as rats have been known to swim up damaged pipes and into toilets.
- Use tightly fitted metal grates or screens to cover drains, especially in basements.
If you notice a rodent problem in your home or essential business, contact a professional pest control company. Rats can cause serious health risks to your family or employees, as well as the risk for fire and other structural damage to your home and property. A licensed wildlife exclusion company will inspect your home to identify your animal problem, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the animals from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.
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Signs of a rodent infestation are pretty easy to spot – droppings in the house, chew marks, gnawed wood, and scratching and squealing sounds at night are all pretty good indicators of a rodent problem. Before deciding on a course of treatment, however, the first step is determining which type of rodent you have. So how do you know if you have a rat or a mouse?
Mice are small rodents, usually about 2 to 4″ in length, with thin, long, slightly hairy tails. They have triangular shaped noses with long whiskers and large floppy ears. Mice can be brown, gray, or white in color. Mice droppings are small and smooth with pointed ends, usually about 1/8 to 1/4″ in length. They leave anywhere from 40 to 100 droppings per day. Mice prefer cereal grains or plants but will eat almost anything. They are nocturnal and tend to be bolder than rats. They are curious and will explore new things, making them easier to trap. They are skillful climbers and their small size allows them to access more areas of your home.
Norway rats are larger rodents, usually weighing about 11 ounces and measuring 7 to 9 inches in length. They have heavy, thick bodies that are brown in color with black shading and shaggy coats. Norway rats have blunt, rounded noses and short ears. Their tails are thick, hairless, and scaly and are dark colored on top and pale underneath. Norway rat droppings are brown and blunt on both ends and they leave anywhere from 20 to 50 droppings per day. They prefer fresh grains and meat but will eat just about anything. These rats typically live in burrows and prefer lower levels of homes and buildings. Norway rats are nocturnal and are more fearful and cautious than mice, making them more difficult to trap. They can climb but prefer to stay closer to the ground.
Roof rats are smaller than Norway rats, weighing about 7 ounces. They have light, slender bodies that are gray in color with smooth coats. They have thick, hairless, scaly tails that are dark in color. Roof rats have pointed snouts with large ears. Roof rat droppings are dark with both ends pointed. They will also eat just about anything but prefer fresh grains and meat. They are nocturnal and timid in nature. Because of this, they can be difficult to trap. They are excellent climbers and are more often found nesting in walls, attics, and trees.
Regardless of whether you have mice, Norway rats, or roof rats, all of these rodent species can cause damage to your home and property by chewing through wires, pipes, insulation, and drywall. They can also cause damage to furniture and carpets. All rodents can contaminate food and countertops. Serious diseases caused by rat droppings and mouse droppings include Hantavirus, salmonellosis, and more. They all reproduce quickly and a minor problem can become a major infestation in no time.
Keeping these pests out of your home is critical to helping protect the safety of both your family and your property. Here are some rodent control tips you can implement in and around your home:
- Put A Lid On Your Trash: If possible, use trashcans made of metal with snug fitting lids. If you must use plastic, make sure there are no holes in it.
- Don’t Leave Pet Food Out: Store pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Make sure to remove them at night and store them away until morning. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit or nuts off the ground outside your home, as well. Remove standing water from bird feeders.
- Elevate Your Compost: Raise your compost container at least 1 foot off the ground.
- Keep Your Garage Clean: Rodents like to eat lawn seed, tulip bulbs, bone meal, and other items frequently used in gardening. Make sure they are stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Keep firewood a good distance from the house. Organize and store boxes in the garage off the ground to eliminate nesting places.
- Clean The Kitchen: Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food and crumbs nightly.
- Keep Your Home Maintained: Make sure openings around your home are properly sealed. Keep your gutters clear of debris and water. Screen your attic vents. Keep screens on windows and doors in good repair and replace when needed.
- Call A Pro: If you suspect you have a rodent problem, call a professional pest control company or a professional wildlife removal company who can evaluate your home and provide you with a comprehensive treatment and exclusion plan.