Signs of a mice or rat infestation What to Look for
Rats and mice are nocturnal and attracted to dark, quiet residential or commercial environments where they can easily reach food sources. Depending on the species, they will often make their nests in roof spaces, walls, kitchens & laundries, or storage places like sheds and warehouses. If you have a basement, shed, accessible roof space or attic, you should check them regularly for these signs:
Rats can produce up to 40 droppings each per night, which are often found concentrated in specific locations. Rat droppings are long, dark and cylindrical and can resemble a large brown grain of rice. Mice can produce even more droppings; from 50-80 per night and scattered randomly. They are dark, cylindrical and smaller than rat droppings.
Rats and mice shred soft materials like paper, fabrics, grass and insulation to make their nests. Look for piles of these materials in hidden places like behind big appliances, in roof spaces, under the house or in the back of cupboards. Nests will often contain rat or mouse pups.
The unusual scratching noises heard at night can be rodents scuttling about the house, or the clicking of their sharp front teeth as they gnaw through furnishings, building materials and electrical wires. If there is a rat or mouse infestation, often squeaks can be heard at night when the rodents are most active.
Rats and mice can cause serious damage to your home or business by gnawing through organic matter like wooden beams in the roof or even electrical cables. They will almost anything edible that is left out, including pet food and can even chew holes in your pantry to eat and contaminate your food.
Rats and mice will leave footprints and track marks from their tails in dusty environments. To test for an active infestation, sprinkle flour or talc on the area and check for fresh footprints in the morning. Due to their poor eyesight, rats and mice often use the same routes around walls every night. You might find dark, greasy smears around holes or corners where their dirty fur has constantly rubbed against it.
Rodent urine can give off a distinctive ammonia smell and often the stronger the smell, the larger the infestation. This smell can linger for a while even after the infestation has been removed.
Usually, rats and mice are nocturnal and will only venture out into plain sight at night time. If you spot a rat or mouse during daytime hours, this can be a sign of a heavy infestation.
Here are some handy tips to help reclaim your home and keep rats and mice out for good.
Regularly clean under and behind your kitchen appliances for crumbs and anything else that might be considered a food source. Keep inside and outside rubbish bin lids closed and empty them regularly.
Dont leave food on the bench and clean pet bowls regularly. In the pantry, keep food stored in glass or metal containers as rodents can chew through plastic.
By removing clutter around the house and cleaning up the plant debris from your garden, you will limit the amount of hiding spaces for rats and mice to live.
Use a sealant like caulk to seal up cracks and crevices around windows, skirting boards, floor boards, electrical outlets and pipes. Eliminate other entry points by replacing torn window and door screens and fitting brush strips to the bottom of doors with gaps underneath.
Trim back trees and plants growing near your garden to reduce the risk of potential nesting sites. High overgrown branches can make it easy for rats to climb onto and into your roof.
Pets, cats especially, will enjoy chasing and hunting down pests like rats and mice. They will also do a good job of deterring more rodents from the area.
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