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Rats, mice, or rodents can be just one of the many unwanted invaders you find in your home. A lingering mother-in-law is bad enough, but a rodent problem poses entirely new levels of headaches. Some might think them furry and cute, but they are anything but. Rodents are not only truly unpleasant to look at, but they pose a variety of health risks.
And this is not to even mention the sheer destruction they could inflict. With the ability to chew through New York’s toughest steel sewer systems, these rodents can make quick work of your home when given the opportunity.
You certainly don’t want them running loose in your walls or electrical systems. While baiting, setting, and strategically placing traps might seem like the go-to solution, these rodents are much more resourceful and witty to be completely eradicated by such trivial means. You are in luck because we are here to help. We’ve helped thousands of customers with these very problems.
What Are Rodents?
Most people see this section and immediately skip it. That would be a mistake! Sure, you might have a general idea of what a rat is, but we can guarantee you don’t know all that is needed. More than likely, you like most others, are only slightly familiar with what rats, mice, and rodents look like. Completely and successfully eradicating them from the property with finality will require a much deeper understanding of their habitat, needs, and innermost desires.
And just to clarify, rats and mice are not the same, which you’ll learn here shortly. Rats could best be described as medium-sized toothy rodents. They originated in Asia and Australia but it wasn’t long before their presence was spread and known worldwide. The latest 2022 report conducted by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) revealed that there are more than 60 known rat species. And these are just rats!
Most rats you are likely to encounter in your area will only range anywhere from 3 to 5 inches, but the largest on record mimics that of a housecat, weighing in at 5 pounds and up. Mice are your typical much smaller version of the rat. Of course, that doesn’t mean their presence is any less frightening or such be taken less seriously. They are incredibly intelligent and can reproduce at alarming rates.
One or two mice in the home guarantee that you’ll soon be facing a rampant rodent problem with the potential for exponential growth. While there are nearly as many mice species as rats, the deer mouse or field mouse is the most commonly reported in residential and commercial settings. They are greyish with fur that mimics that of a deer, hence the name. Their most distinguishing feature, however, is their multi-colored tail. Their white feet and belly combined with their rather lengthy bi-colored tails should make them easily identifiable.
What Do Rodents Need?
The thing that most property owners tend to immediately overlook is the simple fact that rodents are on your property for a reason. They don’t just magically show up because they want to invade your home and cause your problems, although it might seem like they are specifically targeting you at times.
Most rodents find their way to your property because they have found access to a food source, water source, warmth, or shelter. Despite their reason for being on your property, rodents need little to nothing to thrive. Not just survive, but thrive! This is exactly why they have spread rampantly across the globe.
They can thrive in the harshest of conditions while making do with whatever is available to them. This makes them one of the most challenging pests to control. That said, there are those three essential resources that they will eventually require just as most living, breathing entities. Food, water, shelter! Discover where they are gaining access to these resources, and you’ll be halfway to eliminating the opposing threat.
To make matters even worse, rodents are best classified as omnivores. What exactly does this long technical term mean? It means they can and will eat anything! This includes literally anything, sewage, drywall, electrical wiring, bread crumbs, and decaying carcasses. That’s pretty nasty, to say the least. While they are most popularly known for scavenging in trash, and garbage, and gorging on crumbs, they’ll eat anything. In the direst of situations, these predators will even turn to attacking and killing smaller foes like birds and lizards.
Maintaining a clean home and minimizing the clutter will effectively cut down on the predator’s shelter and warmth options, but it will by no means guarantee a rodent-free home. It’s an excellent starting point. Some key points would be to tackle cleaning tasks at eating areas immediately after every meal, neatly contain and store your garbage, place applicable foods and perishables in resealable plastic, wood, or metal containers, and limit the clutter in your pantry.
Rodents can go for nearly a month without a single drop of water. However, a bit portion of this depends on the foods they consume. If they have access to and consume hydrating foods with lots of liquids, they can go longer without water. Regardless, there will be times when they need and seek out hydration sources. They usually get this water from drains, gutters, pet dishes, or sweaty pipes and appliances.
Rodents can be right at home in the wilderness, making shelter from weeds, grasses, hay, plants, flowers, twigs, grass clippings, and pretty much anything within their reach at the needed time.
In a home or commercial setting, the rodents are afforded more luxurious options like furniture, walls, and insulation, and rarely access corners of the property. Our experienced pest specialists have even uncovered carcasses and the presence of life in and under active appliances. HVAC and ductwork branches are a preferred option.
Unfathomable Reproduction Capabilities
If you aren’t already on the edge of your seat, this is going to push you right over the edge. Rodents are so hard to effectively remove from the property because, by the time you successfully eliminate one or two, they’ll have already reproduced twice as many. You are probably thinking that is a gross overestimate by a pest specialist seeking work.
Think again, as a mature female rodent can mate 500 times in just six hours. Some species like the brown rat can birth liters totaling as many as 2,000 offspring a year! One single litter can deliver as many as 22 new young, hungry rodents.
Throw in their extremely rapid gestational periods of less than a month, and it should be easy to see how a small infestation could quickly spin out of control. In addition to this, a rise in population only means a potential increase in property damage, droppings, and the spread of disease.
Rodents And Disease
Any time there is a rodent presence on the property, even the smallest, there is a very real threat of disease. As the population grows, the risks only quantify. Rodents are infamously known for carrying and spreading a slew of dangerous viruses and diseases. It has even been said that they were the biggest contributors and spreaders of the plague. Whether this is true or not, there have been documented findings of them carrying and spreading Hepatitis E, Monkey Pox, Rat-Bite Fever, Leptospirosis, Lassa Fever, Hantavirus, Salmonellosis, and the list goes on and on.
Despite popular belief, it doesn’t even take a bite, scratch, or attack to spread some of these diseases. In fact, rodents rarely attack unless provoked or threatened. As troubling as it is, it can take something as minor as shared airspace could lead to the spread of some variations of these viruses. Interacting with their feces or previously consumed food or water can also lead to potential spreading.
Suspecting An Infestation
Potential rodent infestation and frequent detection should be considered a major property maintenance task. You probably clean or check your gutters yearly, you may perform cursory checks of the attic or crawlspace, or you may check roof shingles, exterior vents, windows, and doors for cracks every so often. You might as well go ahead and through rodent inspection up there on the list as well because it is just as vital.
This is a task we are more than happy to take on for you if it is too daunting. At any suspicion of a potential infestation, you should give us a call immediately. Even if it turns out that you aren’t dealing with rodents, your suspicions are raised for a reason, and are more than likely experiencing some form of rodent infestation. Whatever it might be, our capable specialists can handle the detection and removal for you. That said, some common key identifiers can distinctly point to a rodent infestation.
Learning these signs and symptoms and how to interpret them could provide you with the tactical edge you need. Jumping on or completely preventing a potential rodent infestation is also the best and most advisable option when available. You’ll make your life all that much easier while potentially saving yourself hundreds of dollars in property repair damage. Sounds good, right? Here’s what you need to keep an eye peeled for:
- Odd smells and strange sounds
- Droppings and smears
- Rodent footprint
- Drywall, paneling, or sewer pipe damage
- Torn or chewed pet food bags
- Torn or chewed cardboard boxes containing edibles
- Constantly check the pantry for recently accessed edibles
Odd Smells And Strange Sounds
Despite their witty nature, small stature, and innate elusiveness, rodents can produce a lot of noise. They’re rather loud and can easily be detected in the quietest of residences. Especially during the night or down hours, you are likely to hear them scurrying about, squeaking, scratching, chewing, or rustling.
Suspect you’ve recently adopted a poltergeist? It could be a rodent. Even more than the sound, the smell should be apparent. In the largest of infestations, you are likely to smell powerful ammonia scents.
Droppings And Smears
Just because rodents are witty and elusive, they aren’t strategic about their bathroom habits. They’ll literally poop where they eat, giving their presence away every time. Various species do produce characteristically different feces, and there is extensive information available online or at your local library. Some droppings can be brown, some can be black, and some contain rounded edges, while others will be twisty or point at the ends.
Either way, these droppings are usually easily detectable. You’ll find them on the countertops, in recently accessed edibles, on the floor, and virtually anywhere the rodent travels.
They are typically brown or black and about the size of a rice grain. They will not be easily missed. The smears are more often than not the results of accidental tracking or wading through. They’ll appear as wild misshapen inkblots.
Like feces smears, rodents can leave behind footprints in recently destroyed or strewn materials. Got a particularly dusty corner that keeps getting skipped over during cleaning? Monitor that dust for footprint. Rodents will get in flour, sugar, pepper, salt, or even leave behind drywall dust. If there are tiny footprints in such findings, it likely indicates rodents.
Speaking of drywall, you should consider yourself lucky if still is all your rodent presence leads to. If they are chewing on your drywall, it likely won’t be long before they tackle paneling, plumbing pipes, and electrical wires. Keep a steady eye peeled for gnawing and chewing damage on your walls and appliances. Got a microwave that just recently failed? It might not have been a mechanical issue at all. It could have been an attack on the wiring. Be vigilant about thoroughly inspecting recently failed appliances, electrical failures, and plumbing leaks.
Most people think rodents chew and gnaw because they are hungry or seeking access to a barricaded area. This isn’t the case at all! Rodents gnaw and chew because their teeth are constantly growing. It is the gnawing and chewing that help keep these growing pains at bay. Think of a baby with new teeth coming in. Unfortunately, this means if you have a rodent problem, you will likely experience gnawing damage at some point
Rodent infestation is never ideal. Because of the threat and damage, this fury little predator poses, removal and elimination or even detection are tasks best left to trained professionals. It’s something we’re more than capable of taking on for you. Get a quote or free consultation today by simply contacting our office. We offer after-hours and emergency services for those in dire need.