If you notice a few rodents hanging around your home, it’s important that you know what to look for and what steps to take to keep one rat from turning into an army. These furry creatures can damage our homes, make us sick, and cost us a pretty penny to clean up after them. Preventing a rodent infestation is crucial to keeping your home safe, and these steps can help you make your house a fortress.
In order to keep rodents from invading your home, you have to know what attracts them there in the first place. Educating yourself in the native rodent species can teach you ways to evict them as well as prevent any future visitors from stopping by.
According to Texas Tech University, rodents account for a third of all mammals within the state. Though Texas has a variety of native rodent species for you to look out for, the most diverse are local mice and rats. With more than two dozen species, each having their own preferred habitat and choice of food, covering all of your bases is crucial to keeping your home vermin-free. Some of these species include the Texas mouse, marsh rice rat, Norway rat, and house mouse.
The key thing to note is, no matter which species you’re dealing with, they each have basic needs that could attract them to your home. While on the hunt for a new habitat, rodents generally look for a reliable food and water source, shelter, and things that they can regularly chew on. Mice and rats have fast-growing incisors that require them to constantly chew on things to file them down to a manageable size. Going about your preventative efforts with these facts in mind will give you a better idea of how to remove and keep them out of your home.
If you suspect that you may have a mouse or two getting into your home, you’re going to want to be aware of possible red flags that indicate there may be more. Unfortunately, where there is one rodent, there’s likely to be more. Knowing where to check and what to look for could be the thing that keeps you from having a full rodent infestation on your hands.
One of the main indicators that rodents are present is their droppings. Since they don’t have the ability to hold their excrement, homeowners can often find rodent pellets and puddles of urine that mark the creatures’ trail. Gnaw marks are another common sign that rodents are lurking around. Due to their need to file down their teeth, they will instinctually chew on anything that they can. It’s important that you are continuously checking your home for these signs if you suspect there might be rodents around.
Rodent control services would suggest that any areas which could provide a steady supply of food and water are great places to begin your search. The kitchen, in particular, is most often a hot spot due to the number of crumbs there are for the rodents to snack on. As you go about your inspection, be sure to check everywhere—particularly in pantries, drawers, cabinets, on counters, and behind appliances.
The next step is to take note of every possible entrance you find during your inspection and seal them up to keep the rodents outside from getting back in. Even if you can’t find the hole itself be sure to remember the areas where you saw some of the mentioned signs. Chances are that the entrance is there, but it’s smaller than what you think a rodent can fit through.
Although rats, in particular, look too large to fit in some of the holes you may find, don’t let this fool you. In actuality, rats can fit through an opening the size of a half-dollar, and mice only need one the size of a nickel. You can use steel wool to fill in any smaller holes you find and then apply caulk to keep it secured in place. For patching larger holes, materials such as lath, cement, or metal sheeting generally work very well. While rodents will gnaw on anything, chewing through metal is a longer process than chewing through wood or drywall.
For the rodents that have already made it into your house, you’re going to need to set traps and capture them in order to remove them. Before you start trapping though, you need to decide what methods you want to use. Snap taps are generally the most effective method, but if you would rather go for a non-lethal alternative, there are glue traps and live traps that you can look into purchasing. However, as a fair warning, these traps can scare the rodents and cause them to urinate—leading to more cleanup for you and a chance of exposing you to diseases.
If your rodent problem doesn’t seem big enough to justify calling a rodent control service, be sure that you avoid common DIY rodent control mistakes as they could lead to your invaders coming back.
While you’re at work trapping the rodents that you have, it’s crucial that you consistently clean your home to avoid attracting more. This process includes removing any established nests from your home as well as cutting off the rodents’ potential access to food and water sources. Nearby pests can detect even the smallest of crumbs, so staying on top of your cleaning can put a great dent in the number of unwanted guests.
Some methods you might want to consider are using secure plastic or metal containers, purchasing a thick garbage can with a tight lid, and keeping compost bins as far away from the house as possible—100 feet or more is generally best. It’s also important that you’re immediately cleaning up in the event of a spill as well as washing dishes right after you use them.
As you go about cleaning up after the rodents, be sure you practice the proper safety precautions. Rats and mice carry a lot of diseases that could spell trouble for you and your family.
One of the most important things to remember is that part of preventing a rodent problem is knowing when to call for help. If there are simply too many rodents for you to handle, it means that you should have the problem examined by a trained professional. A professional service will be able to pinpoint any entrances you may have missed in your search and give you the proper ways to handle a large-scale infestation. Because the resulting damage from a rodent problem can be extensive, professionals also give you ways to clean up and even decontaminate in places where the nesting is at its worst.
If you’re in need of this kind of rodent control assistance in Dallas, Legacy Rodent Control is just the service you’re looking for. Our trained professionals will come out to inspect the problem and will leave you feeling hopeful and relieved that we can mitigate your infestation.