As the weather turns colder, it’s time for more than just pumpkin-spiced lattes and those super cute ankle boots you scored last week. Mice, rats, and other wildlife are most active during the winter months. The most effective way to prevent rodents in the home is through proper sanitation and preemptive exclusion. But, what if you suspect you might already have some uninvited houseguests in the walls or attic? Here are five easy-to-spot signs that you have an rodent infestation on your hands.
Pets acting strange
Your pet provides your family with unending entertainment, love, and companionship. But did you know that your cat or dog can also detect pests in your home before you do? Because cats and dogs have highly skilled hearing and sense of smell, they will often hear the scratching in the walls or smell the urine and feces long before you or I would. If your pet is staring at walls or acting excited and sniffing internal walls for no apparent reason, don’t dismiss it too quickly. If your cat or dog starts scratching the wall incessantly, you almost certainly have an unwelcome houseguest on your hands.
Those aren’t raisins, are they? You’ll likely find rodent droppings near food sources, cabinets, drawers, cupboards, or under the sink in most infestations. Thinking about leaving those dinner dishes in the sink or wiping down the counters till morning? Mice love to feed on human food sources and will destroy cartons, paper, boxes, and plastic to construct their nests. Chances are you’ll find rodent droppings nearby because rodents are coming to these spots for food and nesting materials.
Pro-tip: Try swapping those plastics and disposable packaging for sustainable glass or metal food containers. Eco-friendly AND great for deterring rodents!
Gnawed wires or structural wood damage
Did you know the word “rodent” is derived from the word “gnaw”? The most common invaders here in Texas (mice, Norway Rats, and roof rats) are known all too well for their tendency to gnaw through wires and wood blocking their path. As it were, your beams and wires also make excellent dental floss and serve the rodents well in sharpening their teeth. Check wooden baseboards, drywall, and materials like cardboard boxes. Tiny, uneven marks could be indications of rodent gnawing activity. Other indicators could be shorted appliances or dead outlets. If an infestation is left untreated, the wiring gnawing could cause house fires.
Rodent burrowing holes
There you are, coffee in hand, enjoying that crisp autumn morning in your backyard and… wait. What are all these little holes? If you notice small, 2-4″ diameter holes near your foundation or around the yard, it’s likely your home hosts rats. And as if that weren’t enough to ruin your day, those holes make an excellent entry for more than just rats. Other pests are just as likely to use the tunnels to gain access to your home. Burrow holes are active if there is a light fan of dirt around the hole, and the burrow’s interior has smooth walls.
Smudge marks on baseboards
If you’re like me, the holidays are synonymous with deep cleaning in preparation for hosting family and friends. And nothing makes a room feel complete quite like pristinely clean baseboards. But what if you notice greasy smudge marks on some of your baseboards? Mice and rats have poor eyesight; instead, they rely on the established trails to move about your home. The greasy marks left behind could be from their bodies rubbing against the boards frequently and likely to include urine and feces.
In the US alone, rodents are responsible for about 20% of house fires, and the damages have cost homeowners more than $19 billion a year. And what is even more devastating about these numbers is the reality that most homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover damages from rodents. That’s why it is crucial to act if you have suspicions or notice any of the five signs discussed. But you don’t have to do it alone, and you don’t have to wait till there is an active infestation. For tips on preparing your home against rodents this fall, read our article “Why Fall Cleaning Matters as Much as Spring Cleaning.”
We at Natran guarantee our rodent services with a 100% satisfaction promise. Our Green Pro certified staff and technicians provide you with a thorough inspection and a customized treatment plan for securing your home. Start today by clicking here or by filling out the contact form below.