How to Tell If You Have Rats or Mice

If you’ve ever heard a little scratch, scratch, scratch in your walls while home alone, you may have wondered (and worried) what’s on the other side. What sounds like a scene straight from a horror movie, can be a nightmare of a different kind for homeowners. Since rodents are nocturnal, you might miss hearing their scratching and scampering all together while you’re fast asleep.

To put your fears to rest, let’s look at common signs of rodent infestation so you can determine if you have rats or mice in your home and can act accordingly. We don’t want mice or rats in walls keeping our clients up all night wondering what’s making that noise.

Why are rodents an Issue?

When temperatures start to drop and food sources become scarce, mice and rats are most likely to seek shelter in your home or business. To be prepared, it’s important to know the signs of a rodent problem and the risks involved.

Rats and mice can wreak havoc on your home or business, causing hundreds of dollars in property damage if left untreated. Not only that, rodents are notorious disease vectors that can taint food and spread illness. It’s important to accurately identify the signs of a rodent infestation and quickly treat the problem with proper pest control measures before you get in over your head. Here are a couple reasons a rodent problem is nothing to ignore:

Mice and rats stink!

Rats and mice have a particular odor to them. Trust us, once you identify it, you’ll never be able to forget. Rodent odors are musty, like a damp and dirty rag that fell behind the washing machine and went undetected for way too long. 

A rat or mouse urine trail marks the routes that these invaders use to navigate your home or business. Since they don’t have particularly good vision, these trails help guide them from their nests to food sources. Rodent pests can also build up oils in their fur to rub along the walls to mark their way. These oils are another method they use to communicate to other rats and mice. If you notice the unmistakable odor of rodents, beware that an infestation could be looming if it isn’t present already. 

Rodents chew up everything

Since rodents have teeth that continually grow throughout their lives, the only way to keep them at a manageable length is to always be chewing. This means that rats and mice end up gnawing on everything from electrical wires, boxes and mattresses to clothing and wood. They especially prefer chewing on soft materials that they can use to create nests.

How mice and rats get into your home

small grey mouse in wall
Mice can fit into the smallest places. This is because their soft tissue allowing them to compress their bodies to wiggle into the smallest spaces.

Mice can fit into the smallest places. This is because their soft tissue allows them to compress their bodies to wiggle into openings the size of a dime. While larger, rats can also flatten themselves to fit under doors or through openings the size of a quarter. 

Mice and rats are unfortunately some of the most adaptable Texas pests we handle at Buckaroo Pest Protection. Even the most secure homes or commercial buildings can have a rat problem or mouse infestation when a small opportunity presents itself. 

Where one mouse or rat finds a way in, others will surely follow. This is due to the pheromone trail (aka urine trail) they leave when they find safety and food. It may seem like common sense, but since rodents start from the outside and infiltrate inward, the signs will start showing up first along exterior walls, before moving deeper into the inner walls of your home.

Oftentimes, rats and mice will get into a neglected attic first before making their way into the living space of the house. This is especially common if you have cats or dogs in your home that might deter them from entering your predatory living space.

Early signs of a rodent infestation 

If mice or rats have made into your attic or other part of your home, you may see: 

  • Disturbed or chewed up insulation 
  • Tunnels created for them to travel unnoticed
  • Scratch marks along baseboards
  • Tiny holes near your plumbing
  • Small droppings on countertops, around food or near nesting areas

If you start to notice any of these signs, it’s likely that rats or mice have made it into your home. You’ll be able to tell any potential droppings belong to rodents because of their distinctive appearance. Mouse droppings look like small, granular pellets and are about the size of a grain of rice. If you have rats, the pellets will look similar but be slightly larger in size.

Hot to deter mice or rats in your home

It may be alarming if you realize that you have  rodent problems. Forget wasting time with pesky glue traps or snap traps—the first thing to do is to remove any and all available food sources. Safely secure any food that may be left out on the counter into airtight containers. The same thing goes for bags of pet food, or even uncovered pet dishes if your pet is free-feeding. Sadly, rats and mice love feasting on dog and cat food. By eliminating food sources, you’re drastically reducing the desire for rodents to take up residence in your home long term.

How to safely get rid of a rodent infestation

Be sure to read our article about Preventing Winter Pests, because your best bet at getting rid of a rodent infestation is preventing any from coming in in the first place. Remember, your pest pals at Buckaroo Pest Protection are always ready and rarin’ to give you a helping hand in corralling your critters. We protect your loved ones from pests and pesticide exposure by using botanicals and barricades that are safe for family and pets! Call Buckaroo Pest Protection for more information or to schedule a free pest inspection today.

7 Signs of Rats in Your House (or business)

A black Norway rat outside of a Texas home.

October 25, 2022

Rodent infestations are common in North Texas. Big, aggressive Norway rats and lonely roof rats like to live near humans. These critters scurry inside to escape the cold or steal your food when outdoor sources grow scarce. Unfortunately, these destructive and disease carrying vermin are not respectful.

If you’re concerned that you might have an infestation, read on to learn about the signs of rats in and around your home or business so you’ll know what to watch for and when to call a pest professional.

 

1. Scratching or Scurrying Sounds

Rats tend to be most active at night, which gives you a wonderful opportunity to listen for the sounds of their activity. After everyone has hit the hay for the night, take a few moments to listen to your house. The kitchen is a good place to start since the critters will be looking for a snack.

When all is quiet do you hear tiny scratching or scurrying sounds? You might even hear a faint squeaking as the critters gossip about their days.

2. Droppings

Are you wondering how those little dried-up raisins got in your garage? Or maybe you’re noticing them in the bottom of your pantry or in drawers in your kitchen.

Who is being so darn clumsy with their raisins?

We hate to break it to you, but they probably aren’t raisins and you’re probably dealing with a serious rat infestation.

Fresh rat droppings look dark and moist, just like a juicy raisin. However, they will shrivel as they age and turn gray. Keep a sharp eye out for rat droppings. Accidental ingestion can make you seriously ill and some rats carry diseases that are deadly to humans.

3. Chew Holes or Gnaw Marks

Rats are large enough that they often must make their own entrances to get into your home or business. Keep an eye out for holes in the walls and ceilings. Since rats are notorious climbers, you might want to inspect your soffits. This area under the eaves is a perfect place for rats to enter your building.

Rats teeth never stop growing. To keep them from getting too long, rats must constantly chew on anything including plastic, fabric, paintings, cardboard, even electrical wires.

If you find holes, examine them closely for gnaw marks. This sign is good not only for alerting you to your rat problem but also for telling a rat control professional what kind of rodent is infesting your home. This will help them know what methods are best to send your unwelcome guests packing.

4. Rat Nests

Have you found bits of shredded paper, plant matter, fabric, and other materials stuffed into nooks and crannies around your home? Before you start yelling at your kids for making a mess, take a closer look. You may have found a rat nest.

Inspect the area for droppings, signs of gnawing, or little rodent tracks. You might get lucky and find an old nest from a previous infestation. But if you see fresh droppings or other signs of recent activity you can bet the farm you’ve got an active rat infestation.

5. Stale Smell

Hordes of little creatures living within your walls or ceiling leave little presents everywhere (a single rat can produce 40 droppings in a single night!). Plus, rat urine has a such a sharp smell that you don’t need a puddle to know that rat pee is nearby.

Furthermore, rats are always digging through the garbage and it’s not like they enjoy a daily bath. They’re stinky little critters!

All this filth produces an unpleasant smell. At the beginning of an infestation, it might be too faint to notice. But once you have more rats than you can shake a stick at milling around in your building, the smell will become very noticeable!

6. Rodent Paths

Like most of us, rats are creatures of habit. Once they find a good path to a watering hole or food source, they’ll follow it over and over as they trek back and forth. The fact that they have poor eyesight also contributes to this.

This repetition will eventually lead to little rodent paths. Watch for dark, greasy smudges on walls, floorboards, between stair banisters, and anywhere else that rats might pass through.

If you suspect that you’ve found a rat trail, try leaving a tiny bit of flour or baby powder at the site. The next time the rats come through, they’ll leave track marks confirming their miserable existence.

7. Neighbors with Rodent Problems

Is your neighbor already dealing with a rodent problem? This doesn’t automatically mean that you have a rodent problem as well, but it does mean you should keep a sharp eye out. As the rat population grows (or gets spooked out of your neighbors’ house) pioneer rats might come to your house looking for a suitable place to settle down.

Rat Control for Texas Homes and Businesses

Have you seen the signs of rats in your home or business? Don’t let them spread deadly diseases or cause damage. It’s dangerous to ignore the warning signs of a rat infestation.

If you notice any of these signs of rodents, don’t hesitate to call the pest professionals here at Buckaroo Pest Protection. Trust us when we say, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ll send out experts in rodent and rat removal to diagnose and handle your infestation.

Not quite sure about an infestation? Don’t worry, you can get a free whole-home inspection and $100 off rodent removal services. Contact us today to learn more!

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How to Keep Wasps Away

June 30, 2022

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

The wasps are closing in on your backyard barbecue! Unfortunately, a wasp invasion will kill your party faster than a prairie fire with a tailwind. People don’t take their chances hanging around with a troupe of stinging insects.

Is this becoming a major problem for you? Then it’s time to learn how to keep wasps away with a few wasp control tricks for dealing with these highly undesirable insects.

1. Eliminate Food Sources

Many types of wasps, including the Great Black Wasp, eat protein-based foods. While the adult wasps are looking for flower nectar to drink, they are also keeping an eye out for other insects like katydids, crickets, and grasshoppers. They then paralyze the poor insect and bring it back for young wasp larvae to snack on — while it is still alive.

So, if you have a tantalizing slab of meat on your picnic table or an abundance of grill drippings, the wasps will be coming around to say hello.

Keep your food covered during outdoor gatherings and maintain a clean grill. Also make sure that your garbage cans are covered tightly and nothing else that could become a wasp buffet is left lying around.

2. DIY Wasp Spray

What if it seems impossible to keep the critters from stopping by during an outdoor gathering? Or perhaps you find a small wasp nest and are wondering what to do with it?

DIY wasp spray is an easy and effective solution. Simply mix together a couple of tablespoons of dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Spritz the critters when you spot them or douse a small wasp nest with the solution.

Did you know that wasps such as the red wasp actually breathe through their bodies? The soap clogs their breathing pores, making it impossible for them to breathe, causing them to die in a few seconds.

3. DIY Wasp Traps

A less hands-on option is to create a DIY wasp trap (or several) and leave them hanging near where the wasps like to gather, such as the wasp nest.

This is easy to do with an empty 2-liter bottle. First, add a couple of inches of sugar water to about a cup of apple cider vinegar and toss in a delectable banana peel for extra attraction. Next, cut a small hole in the top of the bottle. The idea is that the wasps will be attracted to the tempting concoction, then get stuck inside and drown.

If you have a lot of wasps, the traps can fill quickly so keep an eye out and change them regularly.

This method is effective for reducing the number of wasps that are trying to party with you. However, it only kills the wasps that get stuck in the trap. It won’t kill the queen wasp, which is important for eliminating a wasp infestation altogether.

4. DIY Wasp Repellent

There are a couple of natural ways to deter wasps from hanging out in your yard. First, choose plants like eucalyptus, lemongrass, and citronella to plant in your yard. Wasps don’t like these plant varieties so they will provide a natural level of prevention. Be sure to place them close to where you plan to spend time outside, such as the pool or patio area. 

Second, mix up a DIY wasp repellent spray with essential oils. Start with a cup of warm water and add a couple of drops of liquid soap. Then add two drops of each of the following essential oils:

  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass

Swirl the bottle to mix it well then spray this solution generously around your sitting area. Wasps hate every ingredient in this concoction and will be less likely to rain on your parade.

How to Get Rid of Wasps the Safe Way

Does your stomach get queasy at the thought of handling wasp nest removal yourself? We don’t blame you. Nobody likes the idea of disrupting an angry horde of aggressive, stinging insects that fly to boot.

A safer way to handle your wasp infestation is to call for professional wasp removal. Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we’re committed to protecting your home (and you!) from the dangers of all sorts of pests. Let us help you remove your active wasp nest as well as safeguard your home against future wasp problems. We’ve found that the best form of wasp control is trying to keep them from showing up in the first place.

Schedule a service with Buckaroo today!

 

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Want to know more? 

 You can lasso up some information about different types of pests we protect against, the services we provide, or just schedule a service today. 

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KERESA RICHARDSON
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(469) 742-2301
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BUCKAROO PEST PROTECTION

1100 Jupiter Rd #150b, Plano, TX 75074

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BRENDON GAIGE
Executive President
(469) 742-2333
Brendon.gaige@lawtongroup.net 

WHO WE ARE:

  • Since 2005, we have been providing unparalleled Commercial Plumbing, HVAC-R and Electrical services, while maintaining the highest trade standards, ensuring projects are completed to specification and on-time.

  • We offer a full-range of Commercial Plumbing services, including preventive and maintenance contract options.

  • We ensure all our clients’ HVAC and Refrigeration requirements are taken into context of their unique needs. Proper attention is paid to building ventilation, including: air pressure, air quality and temperature. We ensure all aspects are at the optimal levels for comfort and safety.

  • We handle all of the Electrical needs of our client’s. From code upgrades and remodels, to basic troubleshooting and repair, we cover all service cases.

  • We work within the scope of our clients’ normal operating hours to efficiently minimize downtime, while maximizing productivity.

  • Our team of seasoned technicians are all trained, insured, back-ground checked and drug tested. Our employees are held to only the highest standards in the Trades.

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 WE SPECIALIZE IN:

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      • Rodent Control / Exclusion
      • Mosquito Control
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      • From daily wear & tear
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Termite Warranties: Retreat vs. Repair. What’s the Difference, and Why Should I Care?

Brent Vann, our Vice President of Operations here at Buckaroo wants you to be educated on what you’re buying when it comes to termite prevention warranties.

Termites are found in more than 5 million homes on average each year in the United States, and it is estimated that termite damage costs U.S. homeowners $5 billion each year. Not insurance agencies, but homeowners, like you. What’s even worse is termites can be living in your home even without visible signs of damage.

Termite swarm season is upon us, and here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we want to make sure our community is educated and prepared when it comes to protecting their homes and properties from termites. One of the best ways to ensure your home is rid of termites is with a termite bond. We’ll explain the two types of bonds and why Buckaroo offers your family the best protection.

When is Termite Season?

During March through mid-summer, termites “swarm” which means that they become much more active, and more visible to the average homeowner. Scarily, termites don’t sleep. They will eat 24 hours a day seven days a week, year around. Even outside of swarm season.

This is why it is crucial to protect your home and property before it’s too late. If you start seeing termites within your home, it most likely means your house has already been under attack.

When it comes to protection though, homeowners have hundreds of providers who offer seemingly the same service, and the same warranties… Right?

Wrong.

What is a Termite Bond?

There are several different types of products and treatments available to pest control companies for eradicating termites. However, knowing the difference between a Retreat Warranty vs. a Repair Warranty could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Even though they may both cost the same at the time of the initial inspection, over 90% of pest control companies will only offer Retreat Warranties. Here’s why:

  • Termite retreatment warranties only guarantee that if termites are found after initial treatment that
    your pest control company will come back out and re-treat your home once again. This means that all damage to your home is your responsibility. The pest control company has no obligation to do anything other than come back and treat the home again – probably with the same product that didn’t do its job in the first place.
  • Termite repair warranties hold your pest control company responsible for the quality of their work. In the event termites are found in your home after the initial treatment, not only does the provider return and re-treat your home for termites, they also are accountable for the any and all damage caused by the termites.

Buckaroo is part of the small minority offering higher quality service and protection by offering Repair Warranties.

The Best Termite Warranty in Texas

Buckaroo is 100% willing to stand behind our work and our products. 90% of our competitors aren’t. Ensure your investment is in good hands with a termite protection warranty from Buckaroo. Our technicians guarantee their work and the integrity of your home afterward. Contact us today for the best termite control available in Northern Texas. We put our money where your termite mouths are.