As a homeowner, the thought of having a mouse, rat, raccoon or any other wildlife infiltrating your home can give you the heebie-jeebies.
Rodents can be active year-round. Put in your due diligence and check for signs of activity. If you think you have a rodent issue, you should plan on a strategy of at least the following 5 items:
Identification-determine what type of rodent or other vermin issue you have
Removal-use the appropriate removal baits, traps or cages for the pest issue at hand
Exclusion-seal up entry points to prevent future infestation
Sanitation-remove droppings and sanitize nest areas
Prevention-identify conducive conditions to prevent future infestations
How do you know you have rodents? Aside from scurrying and scratching sounds you might automatically be alerted to, be sure to check around your home on at least an annual basis. Rodents can be found inside wall voids, the garage, and the attic but be sure to include a perimeter check as well.
Rodents are creatures of habit and when they go out searching for food and water, they prefer taking the same route to go in and out of their nesting site. Rats can leave foot and tail marks as well as grease marks. These are marks left behind by the oil and dirt from their coats as they move through entry points and along the edge of walls. You also want to look out for the obvious rat droppings left behind. These may vary in size depending on the size/type of rodent or wildlife that may be residing rent-free in your home. While you can’t always tell how old the droppings are, if you clean this area up, new droppings in the cleaned area will let you know if a new rodent issue has developed.
You might also find evidence of gnaw marks. Look for areas of gnawing on wood, wiring, plastic and other hard substances as rodent’s teeth never stop growing and they must gnaw to wear their teeth down. Something to note is older gnaw marks are usually darker then recent rodent gnaw marks and can help indicate if this is an old issue or new infestation.
Once you have determined you have an active rodent infestation, trapping or caging should be next on your to-do list. Choosing the correct size traps or cages to eradicate
your pests will be key in getting this done in a timely and efficient manner.
Once you’re sure you have removed all the rodents, your next step is to seal off entry points and exits. This area can be tricky as high and hard to reach areas can require a pest professional that can navigate attic spaces and roof points. Also make sure durable patching material and proper safety are incorporated into properly sealing off entryways.
Now for sanitation. It’s not enough to just get rid of the rodent’s themselves. Once they are removed, a sanitation treatment should be applied to kill bacteria and other pathogens that can pose health risk issues related to rat droppings and urine left behind.
And finally remember, early detection and prevention will be helpful in keeping rodents at bay. When checking outside your home, check for rodent hiding areas in the garden, keep shrubs trimmed back and off foundation, look under decks and be sure to clear away debris or wood piles and move them away from you home. If you have a shed, be sure to check thoroughly for holes or other gnawed areas rodents may be gaining entry.
Getting rid of rodents may not be easy, but if left unchecked, the issue could be costlier in the end.