As the days turn cooler during the fall and winter months, rodents tend to move indoors (and that could mean you now have a roommate that is not paying rent!). Once they make their way inside, they can cause a great deal of harm besides being just an irksome infestation. If rodents chew through wires, homes can be at risk of electrical fires.
And that is worse than watching Thor III, Meet the Parents III, and The Force Awakens which means that is real bad!
Furthermore, rodents act as vectors by bearing bacteria like salmonella and tainting food sources and kitchens. Pest extermination experts can guide you about what signs to look for regarding rodent infestation and what preventive steps you can take.
Common Signs of Infestation
Check for these common signs of rodent infestation in your home:
- Pathways– Rodents form paths between the places where they feed and shelter. They utilize scent and memory to move along these established pathways. Pinpointing these patterns helps in setting baits and traps effectively.
- Tell-tale Stains– Rodents leave behind urine stains that are often visible under light. Keep in mind that quite a few products used in commercial and household applications also fluoresce.
- Scent– There might be a peculiar, musky odor.
- Tracks – Looking closely at dusty areas might reveal footprints and trail drag marks. Shining a powerful flashlight from a low angle over the dust, makes even faint track marks visible. Placing non-toxic tracking powder like mason’s line chalk, along the presumed rodent trail and checking it the next day can reveal tracks clearly.
- Bite Marks – When gnaw marks are fresh they are light and turn dark with time. If the marks resemble scratches and are about 1/16 inch, they are likely to be made by mice. Rats are the likely culprits if there are clear gnaw marks measuring around 1/8 inch.
- Rub Marks – Body oil, grease, and dirt cause rodents to leave behind rub marks along their pathways. When rub marks are fresh they are likely to smear while older marks are darker and likely to flake off when rubbed.
- Excreta – Size and shape of droppings can provide information about the type of infestation. But it is not possible to arrive at a conclusion based only on this. When the droppings are fresh they may be soft and shiny while old ones are dry and dull. Appearance can vary depending on moisture content in the environment.
- Disturbed Pets – Sounds made by rodents such as gnawing and scurrying around can upset house pets like cats and dogs.
How to Keep Homes and Buildings Rodent Free?
Blocking access to homes and buildings is the best way of staying rodent-free. Tiny openings are all they need to squeeze in, but rodents can also chew through wood, lead, aluminum, copper, cinder block and uncured concrete. Gaps larger than 3/8 inch by 1/2 inch are all that mice need to gain entry while mature rats need it to be 3/4 inch in diameter.
Smaller rodents can squeeze through lesser openings or enlarge the opening by chewing at it till they fit through. It is a good idea to hire the services of a professional pest control company to keep your home or building rodent-free. The following tips can also help reduce accessibility of homes and buildings to rodents:
- Use materials that cannot be gnawed through such as steel sheeting, hardware cloth, galvanized steel, and concrete to patch up wall openings bigger than 1/4 inch. Steel wool or copper mesh can be used to plug the hole before patching.
- Close off gaps under siding near the top of the foundation.
- Ensure all outside doors are shut tight when unused.
- Put in well-fitted weather stripping at the bottom of pedestrian doors as well as overhead doors.
- Keep dryer vent “flaps” in working condition and encase all air vents with hardware cloth measuring 1/4 inch.
- When soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizers (more than 62% alcohol) can help eliminate bacteria.
- Do away with water sources accessible to rodents.
- Sanitation helps terminate places that may offer rodents shelter, food, and water.
- Keep buildings and grounds clear of debris inside and out.
- Regularly trim weeds, brush, and grass around buildings to eliminate cover and food sources.
- Mop up wasted food and spillage every day.
- Use rodent-proof containers whenever possible to store food. Keep the containers 12 to 15 inches off the floor and 12 to 18 inches away from walls for easy inspection and sanitation.
- Provide for 24 inch aisles separating stored materials and walls.
- Use hardware cloth to cover dumpster drainage holes.
- Do not keep pet food out overnight and clean dog droppings daily.
- Tidy up windfall fruits, nuts, and bird feeder spillage on a daily basis.
- Draw up an inspection checklist for reminders on inspecting critical areas.
Rodenticide Application Tips
Rodenticides are often an effective way to tackle this menace. Choose one that has an active ingredient and formulation suitable for the particular environment. Effective rodent control is possible with correct bait placement.
Appropriate placement of rodenticides ensures rodent control while safeguarding children, pets, and non-target animals from contact with the bait. An innovative and reliable commercial pest control company can help ensure permanent freedom from rodents.