What To Do When You Have A Rat or Mice Infestation This Winter

December 22, 2018

If you’ve seen a mouse or a rat around your home, chances are there are others lurking around. Just like humans, rodents need warmth and food during the winter season.

Getting rid of these rodents can be a challenge. Rats and mice multiply quickly and breed all year round. By the time you spot one, there are already others teeming around your home. A 5-week old female mouse can produce a litter of 5-6 pups, while rats can produce a litter of 3 to 12 pups.

Another problem with rodent control is that it is difficult to keep them out of the house. They can get through small spaces the size of a quarter. This is thanks to their long, flexible and cylindrical bodies.

Furthermore, rodents gnaw through wood and can open up spaces to get through into different rooms. They are also excellent swimmers and can swim through toilet pipes and sewer lines. Their physical characteristics allow rats to swim for three days and hold their breath for three minutes underwater.

Signs that You have Rat or Mice Infestation

Because they multiply quickly, it is common for people to trap or bait rats and mice without getting rid of the pest control problem altogether. There are several signs that can tell you whether there is a rodent infestation in your home and the extent of the problem.

Droppings. Droppings can tell you the type of rodent, areas where rodents are concentrated and how extensive the infestation is. The droppings are usually shiny and dark in color when moist and brown and clumpy when dry. You’ll find the highest number of droppings near the rodents nest.

Urine Odor. If there are large infestations of rodents around your home, you may have noticed some strong musky smell. If you have a cat it is likely to hang around these areas of the home where the smell is emanating from. Dogs are also known to get agitated or upset by the movement and the smell of mouse urine.

Gnaw Marks. Rodents can also cause a lot of damage. They can chew on electrical cables, cupboards, doors, and baseboards. Check these areas for signs of gnawing. Rats have longer teeth and make more visible marks than mice whose marks are more like scratches.

Nests and Tracks. Rodents leave tracks along the building’s interior walls, along fences, ledges, and even tree branches. Rats usually build their nests outdoors while mice use materials such as wood shavings and paper to make a nest inside the building.

Getting Rid of Rodents

Despite the damage and the inconvenience caused by these rodents, you can still get rid of the problem by hiring a pest control expert or following these tips:

Checking and Sealing Entry Points. Check for any areas where there are gaps for rats and mice to go through, at least twice a year. Even though this can be challenging due to the ability of these animals to go through small holes, you can start by sealing off areas in the foundation and spaces in walls where pipes and cables go through. Use materials such as steel wool to seal off these areas instead of plastic or wood which the rodents can gnaw on.

Get Rid of Waste. One of the places where you need to check for pest infestation is where you throw garbage and organic waste. If you cannot find any rats there, consider getting rid of the waste to avoid future infestation. Make sure utensils and containers are cleaned on time and food stored properly. Mice can survive on about 4 grams of food every day.

Traps. There are many different types of traps you can use to control the infestation. The traditional wooden trap can still work if you are dealing with a few mice. However, it is possible that you may be underestimating the level of infestation in your home. Use different types of traps and ensure they are positioned perpendicular to the wall.

Bait Boxes. This is another way to control rodents in your home. The bait contains poison and is placed in a special box where the mouse will enter. This prevents the accidental poisoning of children or pets. Bait boxes should also be placed strategically as mice and rats usually do not travel more than a few feet to look for food.

If you can’t seem to get rid of the rodents yourself, you should consider finding a professional rodent control expert. These professionals can pinpoint nests and entry points and help you get rid of the pest infestation taking over your home.