Handling a Rodent Infestation: A Complete Guide
A rodent infestation can sneak up on a home or a family, but they also can be one of the most dangerous and destructive pests to deal with. If you think you may have a rodent problem, it’s vital that you get educated and get proactive. We’ve got everything you need to know right here.
What are the dangers of a rodent infestation?
Rodents are associated with disease for a good reason. Disease can spread through the handling of alive or dead rodents, contact with droppings or saliva, or rodent bites. Fleas, ticks, and mites that have fed on infected rodents are also harmful to humans. Rodent droppings are especially dangerous to small children.
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, so no virtually no place in your home is safe from their wrath. Rodents cause damage by gnawing, nesting, and defecation. They will gnaw on virtually anything: food containers, wood, insulation, upholstery or upholstered furniture, wiring, and valuables like family photos or clothes. All this chewing, particularly on wiring and insulation, can cause dangerous fire hazards. To top it off, as they go around destroying your property, hey leave trails of droppings that can attract more rodents with a scent that says “Come on in! The livings great over here!”
Humans can be allergic to rodents, especially their droppings. Rodent allergies can cause reactions similar to hay fever and pink eye, and are usually triggered through contact with rat or mouse urine or hair, but can also be airborne.
Signs of a rodent infestation
Rodent droppings will look like small black grains of rice. The darker the droppings, the fresher it is, since it will get lighter and turn gray as it dries out. This can be an indication of how urgent your problem is. The highest concentration of droppings will be around food sources and nesting areas, so if you are seeing a lot in one area you should check around to see if you can find any gnawed boxes of food or nests.
Bumps in the night
Before you call in the priest, sounds, such as scratching from the walls or attic, should be taken as an indication of a rodent problem. Rodents are nocturnal, so even if you aren’t seeing any during the day, you may still have a problem.
As we said before, rodents will gnaw on just about anything. Gnaw marks will appear lighter in color the fresher they are, and will darken as they age. They can also point you in the direction of where rodents may be hiding; if you see gnaw marks creating a hole in your drywall, you may have a rodents-in-the-walls situation.
Things like tiny footprints, smudge marks on the walls, rodent hair, or droppings create what we call “trails”. They can indicate where the rodents travel most often. These can be most easily seen with a blacklight or a flashlight held at an extreme angle.
Nests are usually in hidden spots, since rodents like to create little burrowed dens for themselves that make them feel safe. They can be made with things like paper or stuffing or packaging. Nesting areas also usually have other indications around them like trails, droppings, or odor.
Fighting an infestation
Cleaning/Prevention Keep food in sealed plastic containers, keep cabinets and food-prep areas wiped and clean at all times. Keep your kitchen swept and mopped, and make sure there is little to no free-standing water anywhere. Make sure to also keep pet food stored until time for their meal.
Consider a cat Not only do cats hunt to keep the rodent population down in your home, but the smell of a cat in the are also acts as a repellant to rodents, keeping them from moving in in the first place!
Set traps Peanut butter, bacon, nuts, or other dried food works best on traps. Place them along any trails you find, or along walls near food or nesting areas. Make sure to place them away from where children or pets are likely to find them. Use gloves when setting the traps – human scent can deter rodents from approaching. Rats are usually more “trap shy”, meaning they are wary of new things in their environment and may not approach traps immediately. With rats, it may be a good idea to put out baited traps that aren’t set for a few days first, so they get used to seeing them as a food source rather than a threat. Then you begin setting the traps to go off after they’ve taken the bait from a few dummy traps. Mice, however, should be caught within just a few days of setting out the trap, so if they aren’t you should try moving the location or a different bait.
Calling in the professionals
Calling in the pros as early as possible will save you money in the long run. It will also mean that the danger of disposal (disease risk) doesn’t have to fall on your family. When you contact BeeGreen about your rodent issue, we’ll first conduct a rodent inspection to determine what and where the issue is. Then we’ll deploy a combination of sprays, repellants, and traps to remove the rodents. We also recommend that you seal all doors and windows to make sure no new rodents can enter the home.
Think you want the professionals on the case?
Because of the risk of disease, the safest thing for your family is to call in the professionals to handle a rodent issue. Get in touch with us today if you think you may have rodents, and we can help get your home back.