They may not get the same news coverage as snakes and spiders, but they’re every bit as threatening, although in different ways. While rattlesnakes and scorpions strike immediately and directly, rodent damage goes unseen until it may be too late. Without rodent control, these invasive mammals can chew through wiring, undermine the structural components of buildings and spread dreaded diseases.
Besides carrying fleas, rodents are vectors for dangerous diseases like the Hantavirus, bubonic plague, and 30-plus more. They spread diseases through direct contact with bites and saliva, through infected fleas, or from the hair, urine, or feces they leave behind.
Mice and rats need to chew because their front teeth are always growing. They’ll gnaw through 2 x 4s, drywall and baseboards to get somewhere or just because they have to. They can’t tell the difference between twigs and wires. The only material they can’t gnaw through is metal but they can shred their way through concrete, bricks and cinder blocks, which makes them ineffective for rodent control.
Signs You Need Rodent Control
- Damage. Often the first indicators of a rodent infestation are in the kitchen and pantry. Holes in plastic, cellophane, or cardboard packaging, along with scattered crumbs, are a sure sign of a mouse or rat invasion.
- Sounds. Your pets may notice the sounds that rodents make long before you. Dogs may raise their ears in their direction and cats may slink or race to the source of the noise. You might hear scratching or shuffling behind the walls, furniture, or appliances. Cats aren’t always a natural form of rodent control from lack of interest or inaccessibility.
- Holes. When you see holes in wood where they’re not supposed to be, you may have a rodent problem. The smallest holes you might see will be 1 ½ inches made by mice. Rat holes can reach over 2 inches.
- Feces. Black droppings on surfaces are a sure sign you need rodent control. The feces of mice are about ¼ inch long, black and slightly curved. Darker feces indicate a fresh deposit. Rat waste is the same shape and color, but proportionately larger.
- Urine. You can use a black light to spot urine deposits from rodents. Unlike some animals, rats and mice eliminate their waste indiscriminately. Often the waste traces their paths throughout the home.
What Attracts Them
Food in the house or in the yard draws rats and mice. Roof rats find neighborhoods with producing citrus and fruit trees. Whenever you see hollowed-out grapefruit or oranges, suspect roof rats. They’ll also eat produce in vegetable gardens.
Norway rats eat virtually anything, although they’re attracted to fresh, healthy food. Mice enjoy the same foods you do and more, like bird seed, pet food, and natural soap bars, since they’re mostly fat.
How They Get Inside
Rodents can crawl, walk, or chew their way into your home, which makes rodent control a challenge. Any hole over a ¼ inch is large enough for a mouse. Smaller rats can enter through a 1-inch hole. Because they’re climbers, roof rats enter through roofs via attic vents, holes in the fascia, soffit vents, flues, chimneys, or vent stacks.
Getting Rid of Mice and Rodents
Do-it-yourself rodent control is neither pleasant nor easy. If they’re already in your home and you block off their exits, you could create an out-of-control situation. Bait stations will kill the rodent, but they won’t stop the odors caused by decomposition, even inside walls.
Disposing of trapped rodents in the kill and no-kill traps has its own set of unpleasant issues. Fortunately, Budget Brothers Termite & Pest can solve the problems associated with rodent control today.