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
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.