Home sweet home. Or is it? As the weather begins to cool off in the fall, rodents will start finding places for food, warmth, and shelter. And your house may be where they land. When left untreated, rodents can wreak havoc on your home.
Rodents can live up to four years, but their longevity varies by their availability of food and water. Rats and mice both tend to be very social and breed quickly – even those with short lives can leave behind several litters. Don’t let a pest problem stop you from relaxing in your own home!
Rodents don’t knock.
Rats can squeeze through an area the size of a quarter and mice – the size of a dime! This means they can easily enter through the cracks and holes in your home’s foundation, around windows, and in floors. They can also find their way in through sewer lines and bathtub drains. And once a rodent makes its way inside during the colder months, the chances of it leaving on its own are low.
What can you do to keep rodents out?
- Make it a priority to keep all windows and doors closed.
- Seal all entry points from both inside and outside of your home. Caulk small holes, add weather stripping around doors, and place metal mesh or grate-like material over roof vents.
- Take snacks out of their cardboard boxes and place them into glass containers with tops that seal. Food sources, even crumbs left on the sink and floors, can attract sneaky rodents.
- Dispose of all food waste as soon as possible and take out the garbage regularly. Make sure your garbage cans have tightly sealed lids, too.
- Install a mesh-covered chimney cap to keep small rodents from getting in.
Do you see the signs?
Droppings are often the first indicator that rodents have made themselves at home in your home. But do you know what they look like? Droppings look like dark grains that measure approximately ¼ inch long, and rat droppings can measure up to ½ inch. There are many other ways to monitor for rodent presence including:
- Scan through your pantry to locate any debris on shelves or gnaw marks on food boxes.
- Look for nests (a pile of shredded cloth or paper) throughout your home.
- Listen up during the night. Rodents often make their appearance in the darkest hours – those scuttling sounds may not be your imagination.
- Keep your eyes out for tracks on your floors and smudge marks on the baseboards of your home.
- Smell for musty odors coming from hidden places.
- Look for holes that look like they have been chewed open.
What kind of damage can rodents cause?
Rodents may be small, but their damage can be mighty both physically and emotionally. Their teeth are strong enough to severely damage a home’s foundation by gnawing through materials like wood, sheetrock, and brick. While you are probably not searching the brick of your home, spotting gnaw marks on the table, chair legs, cardboard boxes, and electrical wiring are significant indications that there could be a problem. They can create a fire hazard when they chew through electrical wire, which they mistaken for stems and reeds. And for some homeowners, spotting a rodent can cause severe fear and anxiety, lasting long after the pests are gone.
Finding out that you have rodents in your home can be alarming. While you can try getting rid of them yourself, you could do more damage than good with DIY projects for pests. The only practical way is with professional pest control help. Fortunately, Waltham Pest Services offers full coverage with a Green Home Care Plan that shields your home from pests – including mice and rats – year-round. Our team evaluates, inspects, and implements customized treatment plans to eliminate your pest problems.