Recognizing a Rodent Infestation
Its impossible without some magic glasses to tell you how many rodents are living in your attic or walls, our general rule of thumb is if you have rodent activity in most of your attic we approach it as an infestation.There are many indicators of rodent activity we look for when we perform property inspections, below are some of the more common we see. If you see these throughout your attic, where your likely to have a rat infestation. These same signs can be applied to crawl spaces as well. We also recommend you read about the health risk of living with rodents, so you understand what your dealing with.
Droppings – Usually, the first clue of a serious rodent problem is their droppings on the kitchen counter, in kitchen drawers and cabinets, or in the pantry. Look for mouse droppings in utility closets, attics, garages and basements. Mouse droppings are smooth with pointed ends, and are 1/8-inch to ¼-inch long. Rat droppings are pellet-shaped, blunt at both ends, about the size of an olive pit, and shiny black. They soon fade to gray-white. Droppings are randomly scattered, but normally close to rodent runways, feeding areas, or near shelter. click here to read our blog to help you identify rodent feces.
Tracks – Rodent tracks can be observed in mud, dust or bare dirt. Often, rodent tails also leave a mark. In the house, mouse tracks can be seen on dusty surfaces. You can also check for mouse tracks by dusting suspected areas with a light coating of unscented talcum powder or chalk dust. Wait a day and then shine a flashlight across the area. If there are small tracks in the powder, mice have been there.
Gnawing – Rats must chew continuously to wear down their incisor teeth. Look for holes in walls or ceilings, and trails in crawl spaces, behind or under cupboards, counters, bathtubs, shower stalls, or near hot water heaters or furnaces.
Burrows – Burrows can be found along ditches, walls, or fences, and under buildings, rubbish, low vegetation, woodpiles or concrete slabs.
Runways – Rats follow the same routes as they make their rounds foraging for food each night. In doing so, they leave 2-inch wide runways in the dirt or grass, usually next to buildings or fences.
Grease marks – Greasy rub marks are caused by a rat’s oily fur repeatedly coming in contact with walls or entrance holes.
Urine stains – Urine stains are more easily observable under a black light.
Nests – Mouse nests can be found in utility closets, attics, garages, and basements. They are usually made of cloth or shredded paper, lined with finely shredded material.
Partially eaten food – Mice leave behind partially eaten food. While rats eat most of the food they find, even they leave telltale signs, like shells or other finding.
Live or dead rodents – People usually see mice only when they have been sitting stock still, such as when reading or watching television. Rats are nocturnal, but in areas having large rat populations some low ranked rats will forage during the day, because they have been denied access to food at night. If you see rats during the day, it is a sign of a substantial infestation.
Sounds – While you may not be able to see them, you can probably hear rodents moving after dark. If your pet paws at a wall or cabinet it may be trying to get at a lurking rodent.
Odors – Often you can smell rodent urine or their musky odor, especially in a poorly ventilated room
Just keep in mind, all of these signs may appear in the same areas, or they may be found in separate areas, but finding them in the same or separate areas does not lesson the underlying problem plaguing your house. Rodents breed quickly, and population control is a must in reestablishing rodent control on your property.
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