Pest Control

How to Recognize Rodent Signs and Take Proper Measures for Rodent Removal

Rodents are more than a nuisance; they can also spread diseases. Recognizing rodent signs early and taking action can help prevent a problem from getting out of control.

The most effective rodent removal strategy involves multiple steps. An Orkin Pro can inspect your property and provide a plan to protect it from rodents in the future. Contact Pest Control Texas now!

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As fall approaches, rodents are looking for warm places to stay and find food. Rodents can enter homes through small cracks, holes, gaps, and faulty door seals. If you are able to identify these entry points, it can help prevent an infestation and allow you to take the necessary measures for rodent removal.

Rodents can fit through openings that are as small as a quarter-inch. These spaces are found under doors, behind walls, between floorboards, in attics, under potted plants, and near basements. In addition, a damaged foundation vent or chewed dormer corner can provide an easy entrance point for rodents.

A home that has been infested with rodents should be inspected for these potential entry points, particularly when a new pest control program begins. A professional pest exclusion service can identify the best way to seal these spaces and provide a long-lasting form of protection.

The most common place to look for possible rodent entry points is on the roof. Rodents are notorious for their ability to squeeze through extremely tiny spaces. This includes the space between the shingles, where they can sneak in without you ever knowing it. A dirty chimney is another common entry point for rodents. If you have an open-top chimney, make sure that it is properly capped and that it is regularly cleaned to ensure that it does not become a home for rodents or mice.

Air vents and ducts can also be entry points for rodents. Make sure that all of your vents have a tight-fitting cover and that the gaps around them are filled with caulk. Similarly, ensure that the ducts that run through your attic are tightly sealed and that any vents in your exterior walls are covered with metal screens.

Other areas of your house that may be vulnerable to rodents include plastic pipes, which can be chewed by rats and mice, and old cast iron plumbing that is corroded. It is important to replace these older pipes, and a plumber can help with this if needed. If you have a leaky pipe, this should be fixed immediately as well. It is also important to have your attic insulation inspected and replaced, as rodents are able to chew through it and cause moisture problems in your home.

Eliminate Nesting Sites

Rodents seek out secluded places to nest and avoid detection. They chew through many building materials including the insulation on electrical wires. The gnaw marks and droppings left behind by rodents can damage the integrity of your structure and allow other critters to gain access. A foul, musky odor is another indicator of rodent activity. Scratching noises within walls or ceilings at night are common, as are tracks and greasy smudges on surfaces.

Look for signs of mice and rats in areas like basements, crawl spaces, garages, sheds, or attics. Inspect these spaces for gnaw marks, piles of shredded materials (paper, fabric, or insulation), droppings, rub marks, and sebum stains. Rats are larger than mice and leave more obvious signs of their presence, such as large droppings and rub marks along pathways.

Mice tend to build nests in wall voids, under furniture or appliances, inside cabinets, and near heating vents. They also hide in drop ceilings, under sinks, and behind appliances. Look for signs of mice in these locations, such as droppings, gnaw marks, and rub marks.

You should also consider the potential sources of food and water that may be drawing rodents to your living space. Is trash stored in chew-proof containers and collected regularly? Are pet food and bird seed placed in rodent-proof containers? Are there leaky pipes or faucets that are providing rodents with water?

Eliminating rodent habitats and food sources will help prevent their return. Clean up debris piles, brush piles and hay or straw bales from your yard, and keep compost piles and mulch at least 5 feet away from the house to reduce the chance of rodents gaining access to food in the house. Trash and recycling should be kept in garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, and food scraps should be placed in plastic or glass containers. Make sure your home’s attic is free of raccoon or squirrel nests, as these are prime roosting sites for rat infestations. Lastly, seal up gaps and cracks around the foundation, roof, attic, and window frames to prevent rodents from entering your living space.

Clean Up Droppings

Rodent droppings can carry dangerous bacteria, microorganisms and viruses that pose a health risk to humans. Using a household vacuum or sweeping up droppings can aerosolize these pathogens, causing them to spread throughout your home. In addition, sweeping may disturb the carcasses of dead rodents and contaminated nesting materials.

Rodents, especially mice and rats, also produce pheromones in their urine and droppings that attract other rodents to the area. Once other rodents are present, they may chew through wires and drywall, further damaging your home. Leaving these droppings around can also draw in other unwanted pests like snakes, which may think your home is a new feeding ground for their prey.

The best way to safely clean up rodent droppings is by wearing rubber, latex or vinyl gloves, and using a commercial disinfectant to sanitize the area. Follow the product’s instructions on dilution and disinfection time to ensure safety and effectiveness. You’ll need to wear a mask to reduce the chances of inhaling bacteria and viruses from the droppings.

After sanitizing the area, use a paper towel to pick up any remaining droppings or contaminated items and place them in a trash bag. Make sure the bag is sealed tightly, and dispose of it in a covered garbage bin or outdoor trash container that’s regularly emptied. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling rodent droppings or nesting materials.

For heavier infestations, you may need to call in a professional rodent cleaner to help you. They can use hospital-grade disinfectants to properly sanitize affected areas and protect you from dangerous diseases. They can also use a commercial HEPA vacuum that effectively traps airborne bacteria and viruses within the sealed canister.

For small to medium sized infestations, you can use a handheld broom and dustpan to sweep up any droppings or debrisand then dump them in the trash. Be sure to wear rubber, latex or vinyl gloves, and use a cleaning rag to wipe down surfaces after sweeping to avoid cross contamination. You should also wear a mask to prevent inhaling bacteria and viruses from the contaminated dust.

Removing Food Sources

Rodents carry pathogens that can make people and pets sick. In addition, gnaws and urine can ruin furniture, books, carpeting and other valuable items. They also chew through electrical wiring, which can cause appliance failure and fires. And a few rodents can quickly multiply and become a serious problem inside homes.

Rodents live near houses and other structures for food, water, shelter and warmth. They can also be attracted by discarded garbage and compost. In fact, a city block may have multiple rodent nests and populations within it, which is why it’s important to eliminate access points and remove food sources to prevent mice and rats from invading your property.

Rodents can enter your home or business through holes the size of a dime or smaller. They can also squeeze through gaps around windows, doors and pipes. It is crucial to inspect the interior and exterior of your home or business regularly for signs of rodent infestation.

Look for the following clues of rodent activity:

Droppings – Mice and rats leave behind a trail of droppings as they run along walls and other surfaces. Look for trails in kitchens, garages and basements. Look for feces in trash cans and on floors, as well as gnawing on cardboard and wood.

Gnawing Damage – Rodents have sharp, incisor teeth that are well adapted for chewing through a variety of materials. Look for signs of chewing or gnawing on cardboard, wood and even electric wires.

Other Indications – Look for tracks and grease marks in dirt or dusty areas. These are rodent pathways that can be identified by a black light, which is used by pest control professionals to detect the presence of rodents.

If you notice any of the signs of rodent activity discussed above, contact a pest control professional for assistance. A professional can use a combination of traps, poison and sealing up entry points to eliminate the rodents and keep them out permanently. A professional can also help you create a plan to protect your property from rodents in the future. This plan should include regular inspections, trap monitoring and cleaning.