If there is one type of pest that causes concern, it is rodents. According to a National Pest Management Association survey, 46 percent of homeowners are concerned that if they encounter a rodent in their home, more will follow. Their concern is well-founded.
Every three weeks, the unassuming house mouse can give birth to up to 12 pups. Doing the math can make your head spin. Rodents are associated with a variety of health risks, including droppings that can cause allergic reactions. In addition to contaminating food, rodents can transmit pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. The constant gnawing of rats on electrical and computer wiring raises the risk of an accidental fire.
EIGHT SIGNS OF RODENTS
Even though rodents prefer to stay hidden, they can leave signs of their presence in your home or apartment.
1. Rodent droppings: These are a sure sign that rats or mice are present, and they will indicate the type of rodent, the size of the infestation, and the location of the most active rodents. Mouse droppings are small, measuring less than a quarter-inch in length, and are pointed on both ends. Rat droppings are at least a half-inch long. Older droppings are hard and crumbly, while new ones are shiny and putty-like. The size of the feces indicates the presence of juveniles and adults, and a large number of droppings may indicate a large infestation.
2. Urine odor: The urine of rodents has a strong musky odor. Large infestations are easily detectable.
3. Gnawed mouse holes: These are small, clear-cut holes about the size of a dime. Gnawed rat holes are larger, roughly the size of a quarter, and have rough, torn edges.
4. Run and gnaw marks: Rodents leave oily rub marks where they travel along walls. If the rub marks smear, you can tell they’re new. Gnaw marks on the wood around the house are also warning signs. Rat tooth marks are about one-eighth inch long, and small scratch marks indicate the presence of mice.
5. Rodent pathways: Interior walls, building foundations, ledges, pipes, electrical wires, conduits, tree branches, and fence rails are common rodent pathways.
6. Nesting materials: Mice will shred paper, string, and other pliable materials to construct their indoor nests. Norway rats nest in burrows dug deep into the ground. Roof rats usually build their nests above ground, in attics, trees, or dense vegetation.
7. Strange noises: Rodents are nocturnal creatures. They frequently make scratching sounds as they run inside walls and along floors at night.
8. Unusual pet behavior: When pets hear or smell rodents in the house, they exhibit unusual behavior. They may appear extremely alert, bark, or start pawing at spaces beneath refrigerators, stoves, or low-clearance furniture.
If you suspect that rodents are a threat to your home, contact Official Pest Prevention.