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How to Tell If You Have Rats and Mice in Your Home

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Nobody like a rat, and when you suspect you have vermin on the loose, it's important to act quickly before one rat turns into a full blown infestation. Rats and mice may look cute in cartoons  but in real life when they decide to make your home theirs too, they can bring an array of problems. If left untreated issues can go way beyond unpleasant smells and droppings. Rodents gnaw through skirting, timber framing and electrical cabling to keep their teeth short. Not only can problems be costly to repair, if electrical cabling is stripped of it's protective coating, the risk of house fires starting in the roof or behind wall panelling is dramatically heightened.

Part of the reason rodents including rats and mice cause so many problems is since they are nocturnal often they go undetected until there is a significant population.  Fortunately there are some signs homeowners can look out for, and the sooner action is taken the better. Common Signs the sooner action is taken the better. Signs to look for include:

Common Signs of a Rodent Infestation:

  • Droppings. Rats and mice leave plenty of droppings in plenty of places which makes looking for their droppings one of the most reliable ways to determine if you have an infestation on your hands. Rat and mice droppings are small black pellets, usually around half a centimetre in length and with pointed ends. Mice poo is typically thinner and around the size of a grain of rice. Keep a look for them around sources of water, in cupboards and along bench tops and where food crumbs can be found.  
  • Gnaw Damage and Paper Debris.  Rats and mice often chew skirting boards and base panelling on the outside of building. Also look out for shredded paper or cardboard debris in drawers, wardrobes and cupboards. Rats and mice chew paper materials to line their nests so any unexplained shredding can be a sign of rodent nesting activity.  
  • Rub Marks – Rats in particular have a greasy outer layer of fur, and when navigating around the home. grease trails along flooring can be left result of rats on the move. These same trails are consistently used as rodents follow the same trails between going on the look for food and back to their nests.
  • Smell of Urine. Unfortunately as well as leaving droppings, rodents also leave urine which is often more offensive. A musty and unpleasant smell when you enter a room, and particularly along the floor (usually accompanied by droppings) is a sure sign of rodent activity.  
  • Scratching and Tapping Sounds – Strange sounds including tapping, scratching, running and occasionally screeching from behind the walls or in the roof are other signs of vermin living in your home. Particularly active at night,  dogs and cats are good detectors of mice so if you see them acting strangely or sniffing in an area of the home it can also be a indication you've got unwanted visitors.

As soon as you suspect you have rodents that roam in the home, it's important to act. Don't waste time with rat traps. A pest control solution that uses a rodenticide and depending on the extent of the problem, follow up treatments (from companies like Stewarts Pest Control), is the most ways to ensure the population is stopped in their tracks. Not only will you get your house back, it will contain health risks caused by rodents and prevent them causing damage to the home.