Do I Have a Rodent Infestation?
Rodents are one of the most prevalent types of pests in the United States. These warm-blooded mammals can be found throughout the world and are most easily identified by their oversized front teeth, which they use for gnawing. There are over 2,000 species of rodents worldwide. Not only does a rodent infestation happen in homes as rodents search for warmth, food, and water, but they can also commonly be found invading many commercial sites, such as restaurants, factories, grocery stores, to name a few. Unlike most pests, rodents do not hibernate through the winter, but instead reproduce in large quantities in their new homes. They feed on seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, dry goods, and garbage. Rodents can carry a variety of diseases in their fur, feces, and urine. Not only that, but they carry a variety of parasites on them that also carry diseases, such as fleas and ticks. The most common types of rodents found infesting homes and businesses in the Northeast are rats, mice & squirrels.
Signs of Rodent Infestation
Rodents commonly invade homes in search of food, water, and warmth. It’s possible for an infestation to go unnoticed until it is severe. Look for rodent droppings around food packages, such as in cabinets, cupboards, etc. You may find nesting material like paper and fabric in corners of homes or attics, and rodents are especially fond of cardboard. Look for holes chewed through the walls or floors. Identifying any entry points are extremely important. It is also important to determine whether your rodent infestation is mice or rats. This can be done by examining fecal matter, and is imperative in determining what kind of pest control approach to take. Here are some differences between rats and mice:
- Rats are much larger than mice. They can squeeze through about a 1/2 inch opening. They eat most of their food at one time, and tend to be more cautious. They produce between 4-7 babies per litter, with approximately 8 litters per year.
- Mice are smaller, and can squeeze through about a 1/4 inch opening. They nibble their food a little at a time, and tend to be more curious critters. They produce between 8-12 babies per litter, with approximately 4-7 litters per year.
- Both rats and mice transmit diseases, and will bite if cornered.
Control & Prevention
The best method of prevention is to control your food source. Be wary of small crumbs and garbage accumulating in hard to reach areas, as well as dry goods like grains and cereal. Vegetables and fruits should be stored properly, and all garbage should be eliminated. In addition, it is important to block entry points.
Setting traps is a viable method to get rid of a small infestation. However, this is why it is important to identify what type of rodent is infesting your area. Mouse traps will be too small for rats. In addition, most people do not set enough traps. Identify where there is the most activity, and place down several traps. If you have mice, place one every few feet apart. If you have rats, place between 15-20 feet apart.
Although some DIY methods may work to help prevent small infestations, it’s important to note that most of the time the owner of the infested home or business finds the problem after it has become too large. A pest control company can help find the best solution for any size infestation. We can help with rodent exclusion, sanitation, removal, and long term monitoring. In addition, we can help eradicate pests such as fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites.