Rodent problems in the home are widespread. A few years ago, the U.S. Census Bureau disclosed that almost 15 million American families reported seeing rodents in their homes. A rodent sighting could indicate that you have a severe rodent infestation in your home or on your property.
Before you panic, know that a rodent sighting is not always a sign of an infestation—it could be a lucky coincidence that you’re seeing a rat as soon as it enters your home for the first time. Also, you don’t necessarily have to call a professional to find out if you have a rodent infestation; however we highly recommend you do so before a problem escalates further.
Whether you have seen a mouse in your house or simply wish to avoid rodents, we’re here to offer our expert advice. To learn how to prevent rodent infestations and the signs of rodent infestations to watch out for, read on.
How To Prevent Rodent Infestations
The presence of a rodent in your home can make anyone unnerved. Like all animals, rodents are always hunting for food and water—and they’re very sneaky!
Wild rodents looking to make a nest inside your home can be harmful to both pets and people. They can transmit several diseases to humans directly and indirectly. Plus, rodents are often highly destructive, chewing on anything they can sink their teeth into, including important stuff like electrical wiring.
Let’s take a look at how to prevent rodent infestations, starting with the warning signs of a potential infestation:
Know the Signs
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these are some signs of a potential rodent infestation:
- Bite marks and signs of chewing and clawing on food packaging, walls, floors, baseboards, etc.
- Rodent droppings in hidden areas, such as drawers, in your kitchen cabinets, in the attic, or under your kitchen sink
- Stale aromas in the aforementioned hiding places
- Nesting spots (which we’ll discuss more later on)
If you’ve investigated your home and discovered these signs of rodent infestation, it is best to contact a pest control agent as soon as possible.
Block Out Rodents
Rodents can flatten their bodies to slip through extremely tiny cracks, and they’re also highly skilled at creating small cracks in roofs, walls, door frames, baseboards, the foundation of your home, and windows with their sharp teeth, claws, and nimble paws.
One of the best solutions to these problems is obstructing their entryways to your home by sealing any cracks. The CDC recommends to start by “check[ing] for small and large holes, [because] mice can fit through a hole the width of a pencil (1/4 inch or 6 millimeters in diameter).”
There are several things you can use to seal these entry points, such as filling them with steel wool and reinforcing the seal with spray foam or caulk. You can find these materials at your local hardware store and larger grocery/department stores.
Starve Out Rodents
Similarly to cockroaches, rodents aren’t picky eaters. For a rat, anything from a crumb on your kitchen floor to the food scraps in your garbage or compost bins is a culinary delight.
More than anything, though, rodents want the food in your pantry; they can smell food through boxes from a surprising distance and will do whatever they can to get to it, including chewing through the structure of your pantry itself.
Also, if a rat can find water to drink, whether in your house—catching drops from a leaky pipe under your sink or opening your toilet’s seat cover and diving straight in—or rainwater outdoors on your home’s gutters or downspouts, they’ll be thrilled to stick around as long as they can.
The best ways to solve this issue are simple and worth the additional expenses. These methods include transferring pre-packaged food items in paper and plastic packaging into air-tight containers, such as glass jars with snug-fit lids and locked, rigid plastic storage containers. You also want to throw out any foods with visible cues of rodent contamination, such as chewed-open holes, bite marks, and—if the packaging is intact but still relatively thin—proximity to droppings.
It’s also necessary to put on gloves and clean areas where you know rodents have been crawling around and leaving behind waste with soap, water, and additional sanitizing cleaner to eliminate and dispose of all traces of rat droppings.
Purge Rodent Nests
If you didn’t know, rodents make nests, with different species doing so in unique ways. Generally, a rodent’s ideal conditions for making a nest are piles of organic materials they find comfortable and safe to hide in. These materials include piles of leaves and deep mulch outside and scraps of food, paper, and other random materials.
You’ll know rodents are nesting in and infesting your home if you discover a peculiar pile (or piles) of garbage scraps emitting a stale, musty scent from a hidden nook or cranny. As soon as you see one of these nests, put on some gloves and grab your cleaning products again to wipe out all traces of it and block out whatever entrance the rodents took to get there.
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
As we mentioned, it is incredibly unsafe to ignore the presence of rodents in your home, as you or your loved ones could contract diseases from accidentally coming in close contact or proximity with a rodent’s droppings or nest, consuming rodent-contaminated food, or being bit or scratched by a rodent. For the sake of your family’s health and safety, the presence of wild rodents should alarm you to act on the problem right away.
In our experience, it’s always best to consult a professional pest control agent when you’ve got a severe infestation, especially if your efforts to exterminate them have not fully fixed the problem.
At Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, we not only destroy the presence of pesky rodent infestations in your home: We also offer solutions for both short- and long-term pest prevention.
Our team has proudly served families in Alabama since 1965, and we would love to help you, too! Call us at 205-663-4200 or contact us online today to learn more about our affordable, highly effective pest control solutions.