Clean up any urine and droppings. Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning urine and droppings. Use a paper towel to pick up the urine and droppings, and dispose of the waste in the garbage.Since it is hard to tell if a mouse or a rat carries a hantavirus, it is best to avoid all wild mice and rats and to safely clean up any rodent urine,droppings, or nests in your home. Dogs and cats cannot give people hantavirus infections.
Before taking any steps to control a rodent problem, be sure to inspect the premises inside and out. Conducting a thorough inspection will be critical for helping decide which method of control is right. To conduct an inspection, use a flashlight to examine dark areas where rodents like to hide. Be sure to look up, down and all around for signs where rodents travel.
Traps are one way homeowners can control a mice infestation. Pest control services can help provide alternative solutions in order to eradicate rodents from houses or building in a safe manner. Identifying the correct rodent culprit and understanding their behavior can help select the right rodent control solution and help prevent future infestations.
Tell-tale signs of rats and mice include:
- Rodent droppingsare a sure sign that rats or mice are present, and will indicate the type of rodent, the size of the infestation, and where the rodents are most active.
– Mouse droppings are small, less than one quarter inch, and pointed on both ends.
– Rat droppings are half an inch or larger. Norway rat droppings are blunt at both ends, while Roof Rat droppings are have pointed ends.
– New droppings are shiny and putty-like in texture, while old ones are hard and crumbly.
– Varying feces sizes indicate that juveniles and adults are present, and lots of droppings may be an indication of a large infestation.
The location of any of these droppings indicates active areas where bait or traps should be placed and the type signifies whether to place rat or mouse traps/products.
- Rodent urinehas a strong musky odor. With large infestations you can easily smell it.
- Gnawed holes of a mouse are small, clear-cut, and about the size of a dime. Gnawed rat holes are large, about the size of a quarter, with rough torn edges.
- Oily rub marksare left in places where rodents travel along walls. If rub marks smear, know they are fresh. Gnaw marks on wood around the house also are a sign. Tooth marks about one eighth inch long are typical of rats and small scratch marks are a sign of mice.
- Common rodent pathwaysare generally along interior walls, building foundations, ledges, pipes, electrical wires, conduits, tree branches and fence rails.
- For nesting, Norway rats burrow deep in the ground outdoors. Roof rats typically nest above ground in attics, trees, or dense vegetation. Mice will shred paper, string, and other pliable materials to build their nests indoors.
- Scratching soundsat night can indicate that rodents, which are nocturnal, are scampering around inside walls and along floors
- Pets tend to act unusualwhen they hear or smell rodents in the house. Pests may appear extremely alert, bark, or begin to paw at spaces beneath refrigerators, stoves, or low-clearance pieces of furniture.
Homeowners can take preventive measures to avert a rodent infestation. Mice and rats are flexible creatures; mice can squeeze through holes no larger than a nickel while rats can scoot through holes as small as a half dollar. Therefore, one of the first things a homeowner should do is inspect for possible entry holes, both inside and outside of the home.
Plumbing fixtures and any other piping or equipment that penetrates walls, floors or ceilings should be investigated. Holes made to facilitate installations can often leave gaps large enough for rodents to enter the home. Check under all sinks, drains, dryer vents and washing machine piping. Additionally, check the area around water heaters and furnaces as these warm areas attract rodents.
Inspect all floor vents and ductwork for gaps left open during installation. Of course, the attic is a prime location for rodent entry, so check for holes around the edges and missing ventilation covers. Cabinets, especially those on outside walls, should be checked for openings.
Inspect the doors and windows, both from the inside and outside of the home. Gaps not only allow rodent entry, but are energy wasters as well. Inspect the foundation for cracks and gaps. Check the entry locations of all water, plumbing and gas piping and electrical lines. Don’t forget to look for gaps where the TV cable enters your home.
Small holes can be filled with caulking, steel wool or expanding foam products. If sealing with steel wool, secure it with silicone caulking or adhesive. Large holes can be covered with lath screen or metal, cement, metal sheeting and hardware cloth. These materials are readily available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. While you are at it, don’t forget to inspect your outbuildings for entry points.
Mice and rats can be carriers of various diseases, either directly or indirectly. The rodent, itself may be infected with a number of diseases; it may have parasites that bring the diseases into the home. Note that the Bubonic Plague of the middle 1300s was spread, not so much by the rodents themselves, but by the insects and parasites that they carried. From viruses to bacterial infections, these diseases can affect various body functions and systems, including pulmonary function, fevers and blood circulatory systems. Water supplies that are infected by rodent urine can cause deadly bacterial growth.
Rodents love to gnaw on everything. This can cause damage to electrical wiring, piping insulation and wood structural members. Many times, attics are nesting areas for rodents. They can cause considerable damage to attic insulation and electrical wiring.
There are several indicators of mouse and rat infestation. The presence of rodent droppings, small, dark pellets, is one of the first things a homeowner will notice. The droppings will not usually be found in piles, but scattered along the trail as the rodent explores. A few prime places to look for rodent droppings include underneath sinks, around the perimeter of a room and in cabinets.
Mouse and rodent nests are also good indicators. These nests are made of finely shredded paper or other fibrous material and located in sheltered areas.
Of course, gnaw marks and holes, especially in cardboard containers, are another prime sign. That’s why it is a good idea to keep cereal, grains and other foods in plastic or metal containers. Rodents tend to cache their food supply, so look for small pockets of food in sheltered locations as well.
If rodents have invaded the home, it is vital to control and eliminate them. Trapping is still one of the best and safest means of rodent control. Trapping the invader does not require the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticide agents; therefore, it is safer to do around small children and pets. Furthermore, trapping will allow for easy disposal of the rodent (whether dead or alive), thereby eliminating the odors that occur from dead animals in walls or other inaccessible areas when poisons are used.
Using the proper number of traps and placing them correctly is important for this method to be effective. Snap traps should be placed along walls and under or inside cabinets to capitalize on the rodent’s runway. They usually scurry along the edges of walls, stairs and other corners, so placing the trap with the trigger closest to the wall is most effective.
If you’d rather not kill the mouse, there are various live traps available in which the animal is lured by bait into a cage or box through a one-way door, trapping it inside. If you release it outside, be sure to do so a considerable distance from your house or anyone else’s. Otherwise, it’s likely to come back. Sticky paper traps, similar to flypaper, trap the rodent as it walks across its surface. These are generally used when the mouse is to be killed, but it’s also possible to release them by applying cooking oil to the glue.
Of course, poisons can also be used; however, extreme care must be used when handling poisons and steps must be taken to ensure the safety of children and pets. Many poisons can only be handled by licensed exterminators because of their danger.
Caution must be exercised when cleaning up after a rodent infestation. Ventilation is important, so open windows and doors, allowing the area to air out for at least 30 minutes.
The first step after ventilation is to clean up any urine and fecal droppings. Do not use a vacuum cleaner or broom to sweep up droppings or nesting materials as this will stir up dust and spread contamination. Use a commercial disinfectant or prepare a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach and place in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the droppings and nests, allowing them to soak for at least five minutes. Wear rubber, latex or vinyl gloves for protection. A respirator is also recommended.
Pick up the droppings, etc. with a paper towel and dispose of them immediately. Clean and disinfect the entire area with the disinfectant, including floors, shelves and countertops. After cleaning is completed, be sure to wash your hands and clothing before eating or ingesting any liquids.
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