This year, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) has declared October 18-24 National Rodent Awareness Week. To commemorate this occasion, we’d like to provide some insight on how you can deal with rodent problems in your home. Here are some DIY techniques you can use and some information on what signs to look out for that you may have a rodent infestation.
Signs of an Infestation
Rodents are sneaky critters that can fit through tiny spaces to get to new homes and food sources. However, they will often leave evidence of their activities, which you can look out for if you know the signs. Some of these include:
- Dark, greasy rub marks on the bottoms of walls that show where a mouse has been traveling.
- Gnaw marks on food containers, boxes and other household items
- Rod-shaped droppings about ⅛-¼ inch long. These droppings are moist when fresh and dry when old.
- A stinky or sour smell coming from some hidden place in the home that may be coming from rodent urine and feces. Your pets may detect this change before you, so if you start to see your cat or dog act strangely about a previously normal place in the home, you may want to investigate.
- Hearing and seeing rodents in the home during the day. If rodents are moving around during the day, their numbers have likely grown to the point that they don’t forage for food only at night. You may also hear scratching or scuffling noises in your walls or ceiling.
- Finding a rodent nest is a sure sign of an infestation, present or former. These nests are often made of cardboard, packing materials, plastic, fabric and whatever other cast-off materials the rodents could find.
Places Rodents Often Hide
One of the reasons homeowners don’t often see infesting rodents is because they are good at staying out of the way in dark, hard-to-reach places. Because they can fit through even the smallest holes, rodents can sneak into air conditioning vents, pipes, walls, attics, basements, garages, pantries and sheds with relative ease. In essence, any place where lots of clutter and/or food are present in your home is a prime place for rodents to build nests and search for food, especially if that area is usually undisturbed by human movement. If you don’t know where exactly a rodent could be hiding, you can start by placing traps in strategic locations. Some of these locations may include:
- Along an already existing rodent runway
- Near a vent opening
- In a pantry
- Around an attic or basement
If prevention hasn’t worked, many kinds of traps can be used to get rid of rodents. Snap traps commonly kill or seriously injure rodents, but other traps exist that will trap them so you can humanely remove them from your home, like traps with doors that snap shut when the bait is triggered and traps with sticky substances on them that rodents can’t escape. It’s a good idea to bait such traps with foods like cheese, peanut butter, tiny pieces of fruit or meat and pet food.
When to Contact a Professional
These DIY pest control techniques may be effective if you only have one or a few rodents to deal with. However, if you start to see, hear or smell more and more evidence of a rodent infestation in your home, setting out traps may not be enough. A single pregnant rodent can cause an infestation all by itself, and traps will not catch them all. If this becomes the case, it’s time to contact a pest control company. And in many cases, even if you can deal with a rodent infestation, doesn’t mean you want to. At Dodson Pest Control, we do free inspections, so contact us if you think you have a rodent infestation!