Have you heard that awful scratching sound in your walls? Found any baseboards that look chewed or gnawed? You might just have an uninvited house guest – a rodent. This might be a common issue for homeowners but that doesn’t you give very much comfort when you see the evidence in your own home.
Rodents like mice and rats have unfortunately adapted remarkably well to life among humans. They are rather fond of our cozy building material, our comfortable, climate-controlled homes and our delicious garbage. It’s a very tempting environment compared to the outdoors, where predators are on the ground and in the sky.
The evidence of a rodent infestation can range from subtle to horribly, horribly obvious. You may only see a few roughened spots on your baseboards or a blackish smudge on the corner of a wall. You might see droppings in remote places like behind the fridge or in the attic. A mouse or rat could even be bold enough to make a run for it right in front of you, especially if it is motivated by the family cat or dog. Here are a few more ways you can tell if you have a rodent in your home.
- Odd or foul odors. This can originate from the rodent itself or its urine or droppings.
- Torn or disturbed insulation.
- Greasy, blackish marks low on walls. This is from the dirt and oils that collect on the coats of rodents.
- Unusual behavior in pets. If you cat is staring under the fridge for hours, he’s probably looking for the mouse he saw run under it earlier.
- Unusual noises. Squeaking, scratching or shuffling noises can often be heard at night where rodents are present.
Preventing a rat or mouse from ever entering your house is the best method of pest control. This is where regular visits from an integrated pest control company can be a saving grace. The average homeowner might not be able to identify the small cracks and holes where rodents slip into your crawlspaces or attics. A qualified pest control agent can find those areas of access and block them.
There are still plenty of things a homeowner can do to make his house a little less tempting. Follow these tips to help prevent a rodent infestation.
- Store food staples like pasta, cereal or flour in airtight containers rather than their original cardboard boxes or plastic bags.
- Keep grass seed, bird feed and pet food off of the garage floor. Many rodents enter the garage seeking food, become trapped and then slip inside the home.
- Check the weather stripping on your doors and be sure to put screens on all windows. A mouse can slip through very small cracks. A gap in the window might be all he needs.
- Prune trees that overhang your roof. Rats use them like highways to get onto your roof and into your attic via the soffits, vents and eaves.
- Empty the recycling bins often. The newspapers make excellent bedding and the sugary remnants in soda attract many pests including rodents.
If preventative measures fail, ask your pest control agent what methods he can offer to eradicate the problem.