They’re small. They’re stealthy. They’re quick. They’re quiet. They’re rodents. These tiny, gnawing mammals can be a real pain to get rid of when they’ve moved into your home for winter. Mice and rats begin looking for a cozy spot to call home in the autumn months and it only takes two things for them to find your house a desirable spot to stay; shelter and food. If you’ve got a warm, safe place for them to build their nest and food that’s left out or not stored properly, you may find yourself with an extra, uninvited guest this holiday season. As you may have guessed, rodents are not desirable company to have in your home. They carry many different diseases and can cause considerable damage to your property by chewing through wiring in your home or vehicle, gnawing through and tearing up insulation, and destroying furniture or other materials.
Here are 6 signs that you may have a mouse or rat infestation in your house:
Droppings – If you have rodents in your home you may notice their droppings around your pantry, in drawers or cupboards, under sinks or in utility areas and along your walls or baseboards. Mice droppings are brownish and about the size of a grain of rice. Rat droppings are about 1/2 inch long and are dark black. Rodent urine and droppings can contain diseases that can transfer into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. When cleaning rodent droppings it is best to wear protective gear and call a professional.
Gnawing – No it wasn’t you that ripped a jagged little hole in the bag of potato chips or left gnaw marks in the living room baseboard (or was it? Don’t worry, we won’t tell). Rodent teeth are strong, durable and cause a great deal of damage in homes. A rat or mouse can chew through wood, wires, plastics, soft vinyl, rubbers and even some metals. Fresh gnaw marks will be light in color and as they age they will get darker.
Foul Odor – It’s no shocker that rodents are smelly animals. Rats and mice urinate frequently and their urine has a strong ammonia-like smell, which will waft through your home like a Glade plug-in on a breezy day; except the scent isn’t Clean Linen. Your pets might be the first detectives to track down the smell and you may notice them pawing at the wall, cabinets or areas they’re not typically interested in.
Tracks – You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to find rodent tracks around your home. Rodents are nocturnal animals so you may not see them during the day but you will be able to see their activity from the night before. Search near baseboards and dust-catching corners for smudge marks, pawprints, urine stains, or droppings. If you’re still unsure try sprinkling flour or baby powder on the floor. If you do have active rodents you’ll see the white powder trail they leave behind.
Nests – To find rodent nests you’ll want to search in spaces that are enclosed and undisturbed. Check in wall and cabinet voids, under floorboards and behind appliances. Mice and rats will chew through drywall in order to get into these quiet, hidden areas. If you notice more droppings and a stronger smell in a specific area there is a good chance that the nest is nearby.
Scratching – Chances are you’ll hear ‘em before you see ‘em. Scratching and scurrying sounds are often heard at night when rodents are most active. Listen for noises between walls, under floorboards, in false ceilings, basements and lofts. If you hear scampering and squeaking it’s a sure sign you’ve got a rodent in your home and it’s time to call a professional.
Don’t let rodents move into your home this winter. If your home has a mouse or rat infestation it’s best to call a professional immediately. Effective and efficient pest control is what Madsen Pest does best! Give us a call at (715) 791-4777. Our expert technicians are productive and thorough, allowing you to be rodent-free all winter long!