Steps to Identify a Rodent Infestation
14 Aug 2014
The longer rodents have to fester, the more damage they can deliver. Identifying a rodent infestation early on will make the steps to extermination faster and easier. If you have a suspicion of a mouse or rat infestation, or just want to conduct a routine check on your home, follow these steps to find the problem. From this point, you may need the help of a pest control professional to truly rid your home of the infestation.
Identify the Problem
There are many differences between rats and mice. To better rid your home of an infestation, it is important to recognize the difference between these two rodents, as the methods behind extermination and identification are different:
Rats will eat virtually anything and require water to drink if this is not delivered through the foods they eat. A rat can have up to six litters of twelve babies every year. That leads to seventy new rats every year, each of which can begin reproducing at six months of age. Rats have the ability to enter your home through ½ inch gaps, through broken drains or toilets, or other means. They usually stay close to their nests and only go on planned pathways. These rodents are nocturnal. They vary from mice in their larger size, coarse fur, and big heads.
Mice will also eat anything, and although they usually don’t burrow, their nests are almost always hidden somewhere near a food source. In a years time, two mice can have as many as 60 offspring. These offspring can begin reproducing as young as six weeks of age. Mice are great at swimming, jumping, and climbing, meaning they have a number of means to enter your home. They can even fit in a gap ¼ inch big. These rodents are smaller and more athletic than rats.
Keep an eye out for these rodents especially at night. Use a flashlight and look in areas such as under the stairs, in the rafters, and in cabinets. If you have noticed other signs of rodents, look within these areas first as they will stay close to their nests rather than venturing out. If you do notice a rodent during the day, you will likely need an extermination as this indicates a large scale infestation.
Watch the Signs
If you haven’t actually seen a rodent in your home but suspect they might be around, there are signs you can watch for initially. Some of the most obvious signs include:
Droppings – look for these droppings in areas where food is present as this is often the first places a rat or mouse will go once inside. Look to see how old the droppings are and if there are any fresh ones. Mice droppings are usually about ⅛ inch long while rat droppings are closer to ½ inch.
Urine – Use a black light to detect dried rodent pee. If you notice these spots near or on suspected runways, there is a better chance of an infestation.
Runways – these are more common with rats than mice. Rather than deviating from their path from food, water, and nest, they choose to run the same way each time following a scent. Most commonly inside these runways will be along the walls.
Be aware of your home and protect it from infestations. By identifying these problems early on, a rodent extermination can happen faster to rid your home of these unwanted pests.