Rodents are mammals characterized by one pair of incisors in each jaw—and they’re best left outside your home. Should rodents like rats, mice, squirrels find their way inside their home, they may wreak havoc, more than anyone can tolerate. From furniture to clothing, paper, cables, and electrical appliances, there’s nothing safe from the sharp teeth rodents possess.
If damage to structure and other items isn’t enough to make you take a potential rodent infestation seriously, perhaps the fact that rodents are a harbinger of several diseases will make you reconsider. Plague, salmonella, hantavirus, and rat bite fever are some of the diseases rats can transmit by contaminating food. This makes it imperative to recognize the early signs of the presence of rodents before it becomes a full-blown infestation.
Rodent presence requires professional rodent control. If you act early, you can prevent a serious and costly infestation. Below are seven surefire signs that your home has a rodent issue:
1. Rodent sightings (dead or alive)
Rodent sightings are the most definitive proof of a rodent issue. Usually, rodents will be seen at night when they are most active. A trip to the kitchen for a midnight snack may reveal a rodent, or a couple of them, scampering around the moment you flip on the night. Sighting a live rodent, or even a dead one, is something to be taken seriously. This is because rodents breed super fast and a full blown rodent infestation isn’t far away. The more often rodents are seen, the more the number of rodents that have invaded your home.
Rodent droppings are black and oval-shaped pellets that are typically found in areas where they are most active. Since rats and mice are known to produce up to 50 droppings a day, seeing their dropping is a surefire sign that rodents have invaded their home. And steps must be taken to deal with the problem as quickly as possible.
It’s important to handle rodent dropping with care since they contain viruses and bacteria. Protective gloves should be worn and the droppings should be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag. Sweeping or vacuuming rodent droppings will only release the microorganisms they control and increase the risk of contamination.
3. Rotting odor
A strong rotting smell in a house is indicative of the death of a rodent. Finding a dead rodent can be tricky but the smell will be strongest in the area the rodent is. It’s advisable to contact a licensed pest control professional to help locate and get rid of dead rodents. However, if you decide to find and remove the rodents yourself, protect yourself by wearing a mask, gloves, and dispose of the dead rodent in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Gnaw/chew marks
Did you know that the incisors in the jaw of rodents grow continuously? To keep the growth of their incisors in check, rodents need to frequently gnaw on hard materials. And they aren’t selective about what they gnaw on. Wires, rubber, baseboard, plastic, and cables are prime victims of rodents’ gnawing habits. So, seeing chew marks around your home is a surefire sign you have a rodent problem.
Gnaw marks can also help you identify the type of rodents in your home. Rats have larger teeth and longer gnaw marks indicate rats issue while shorter ones means the invaders are mice.
Rodents are usually active at night as mentioned earlier and a range of different sounds could be heard as they go about their business in your home. From gnawing noises to scampering, scratching and squeaking sounds, rodents aren’t exactly silent at night. If you hear any of these sounds, don’t be alarmed. Just know you have a rodent problem that has to be dealt with sooner than later.
6. Nest or burrows
Rodent nests or burrows are difficult to find in homes because of their preference to choose dark, secluded spots to build their nests. Safe to say rodents like their privacy as much as humans do. Rodents will make burrows in cabinets or any other furniture. They may decide to forgo burrowing and choose a dark corner. Whatever the choice of the rodents is, they will stuff their chosen space with soft and shredded materials like clothing, newspaper, cardboard, grass, and so on.
Rodents may have tiny feet but they do leave a lot of tracks behind. Their footprints are most noticeable in dusty areas. Their footprint can also be found by shining a flashlight in areas you think they might have passed by or areas you find urine stains or dropping. Should you find any footprint, you can be well assured you have a rodent issue.
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