Do you suspect there might be a rodent problem in your attic? If you see any of these signs, you might want to call us to help you correct the issue.
Keyword(s): rodent problem
Rodent infestations are on the rise in the United States. In fact, major cities like Boston, San Francisco, and New York have seen dramatic increases (up to 174 percent) in the number of reported rat infestations.
Do you think you’re at risk for a rat or mouse infestation? Do you know how to tell if they’ve already made themselves comfortable in your home?
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to checking for a potential rodent problem, start by looking for these seven common signs.
1. Droppings and Urine
The most obvious sign that you have a rodent problem is the presence of droppings and urine in your attic or another part of your home.
Mouse droppings are less than one-quarter of an inch long and are pointed at both ends. Rat droppings are larger, about half an inch or more. They can be either blunt or pointed at the ends.
Pay attention to whether to droppings are new or old, too. New droppings will be shiny and have a putty-like texture. Old droppings will be hard and crumbly.
Looking at the droppings can also help you figure out the size of the infestation and whether there are adults, juveniles, or both. Varying sizes of droppings indicate that there are both adult and juvenile mice or rats present. The more droppings are present, the larger the infestation is likely to be.
Look for dried urine puddles on the floor, too. In addition to being easily visible, rodent urine also has a strong musky smell. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding it in your home.
2. Gnawed Holes
Be on the lookout for holes that the mice or rats have gnawed in your home. They will gnaw holes just about anywhere, but they frequently cause damage in the following areas:
- Space around pipes or conduits
- Areas near doors or windows
- Behind or under cupboards, counters, or bathtubs
A mouse hole is typically small and clear-cut. They’re usually about the size of a dime. Rat holes are larger, roughly the size of a quarter, and have rough edges.
3. Oily Marks on the Walls
Rats and mice typically leave oily marks when they travel through the walls. This is from the grease on the fur making frequent contact.
If the marks smear when you touch them, this is a sign that they are fresh and the infestation is relatively recent.
These oily marks typically show up along interior walls, around building foundations, and near ledges, pipes, and electrical wires.
4. Scratching Sounds at Night
Rodents frequently make scratching sounds when they run along the floors and inside your walls. If you hear any kind of scratching sound at night, this is a good sign that you’re dealing with a rodent problem.
5. Unusual Pet Behavior
Pets are typically a lot more observant than people are. They can tell when rodents are in the house — they’ll usually hear or smell them before you do.
If your pets start pawing at spaces below the refrigerator or stove, start barking for no reason, or seem to be on edge, that could be an indication that there are some uninvited guests making themselves comfortable in your home.
6. Chewed Items
If you notice items like plastic boxes, cardboard boxes, or clothing that have teeth marks in them or holes chewed through them, a rodent is likely the culprit.
Check your pantry or cupboards to see if there is any evidence that a rodent has been present.
7. Nests Built in Secluded Areas
Finally check your attic and other secluded areas (the space behind your water heater or washing machine, for example) for mouse or rat nests.
Rodents typically create nests out of items like paper, grass, fabric, or pillow stuffing. They also often damage insulation to use the soft material to make their nests.
What to Do if You Have a Rodent Problem
If you suspect you have a rodent problem in your home, be sure to follow these steps to help eradicate it as quickly as possible.
Find Out Where They’re Coming From
First, figure out where the rodents are coming from. Look for gaps and holes on the exterior of the lower level of your house. Then, look for openings in your attic through which they could be entering.
Seal the Entry Points
Once you’ve found their entry points, seal them. You can use caulk and steel wool pads to fill small holes. Fill larger holes with sheet metal, hardware cloth, or concrete mortar.
Don’t use plastic or wood; rodents can easily chew through them. Make sure your windows, screens, and doors all fit tightly into their frames, too.
Trim Trees and Bushes
Trim the branches on your trees and bushes. Mice can use longer limbs to get into your home through the roof or eaves.
Mouse-Proof Food Storage Areas
Get rid of your cardboard and glass food storage containers. Replace them with metal canisters or glass jars that seal tightly.
Set traps throughout your home in the areas where there are lots of droppings or where the rodents’ nests are located. Don’t put cheese in the traps; instead, use a store-bought rodent bait or a non-perishable food like peanut butter.
Be careful with rodenticides, as many of them are toxic to humans and pets. Make sure you only use them in areas where your children or animals won’t come in contact with them.
Call an Exterminator
If your traps aren’t effective or if you feel that your infestation is too big to deal with on your own, call in a professional to help get them out of your house for good. This will definitely be more of an expense, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind that comes with having an expert address the problem.
Have Your Attic Professionally Cleaned
Finally, be sure to have your attic and other parts of your home professionally cleaned. Rodents don’t just leave droppings and urine stains behind. They also bring in all kinds of diseases and other contaminants.
To get rid of these things for good, work with a business that offers decontamination services. This will help you rest easy knowing the problem is totally eradicated.
If rodents have eaten away at the insulation in your attic, we can help. Contact us at Attic Insulation Labs today for a free cleaning and insulation estimate.
Not only will we repair any damage, but we’ll also decontaminate the area and get rid of everything they left behind by your rodent problem.