Are The Rodents On Your Tampa Property Getting Out Of Hand?

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Signs Of Rodents In Your Home

Squirrels are only occasional troublemakers. They can get the wrong idea and take to living inside your attic. When this happens, you might notice a hole in your eaves or soffits. You may also notice a squirrel running across your roof. Squirrels are active during the day, which will help you detect a problem. They're also typically loud when they get into attic spaces. We're not going to focus on how to detect a squirrel infestation. We're zeroing in on rats and mice.

You may hear noises in your wall or attic when rats or mice invade your home. All rodents have the potential to make noises. But rats and mice can infest your home without making any detectable noises. That is why learning to detect them is essential.

Do you have rodents in your home? Use all or some of these signs to tell for sure.

  • Droppings are a clear sign of rodent activity in your home. Fresh droppings left by rodents are black and moist. You may find droppings in your kitchen or pantry. Inspect the backs of cabinets, drawers, and shelves. Consider sliding your oven or refrigerator out and checking behind.
  • Rodents can't help but make holes. They'll chew holes in baseboards and sheetrock. They make holes in your stored food packages. They chew through cardboard boxes in your attic. They'll also chew holes to get into your home and make short work of your weatherstripping. When you patch these holes and check back in a day or two, you'll know you have active rodents if more holes appear.
  • Rodents tend to have oily fur and often leave grease marks as they run along baseboards or on top of pipes. Inspect these to check for black marks and smudges. You may also find smudges on other building materials.
  • Rodents are drawn to locations that have food and can climb up onto shelves. If you have dust or powder on your shelves, you might see little footprints. You can also inspect dusty floors and surfaces in secluded spaces to detect rat and mouse activity. 
  • Rodents make nests out of soft material. If you're bold, you can go up into your attic with a flashlight and look for these nests in recesses, under insulation, between storage boxes, on rafters, and in other hidden places. When you find nests, you'll likely find feces as well.
  • Rodents leave urine as they explore. Some say they mark their territories but they do it more as a way to help them navigate. Rats and mice have poor eyesight and must use their other senses to go from point A to point B. Smells help them figure out where they are in dark environments. The stronger the smell of urine, the more rodents you have in your home.
  • Dogs and cats have better senses than we do. If you have a dog or a cat, they may smell or hear rodents when you don't. Watch your pets to see if they behave strangely in the kitchen or near the pantry.

When you detect rodents in your home, the next step is to figure out what to do about them.

Can Rodents In Your House Make You Sick?

At this point, you know that rodents can damage your property. But that isn't the only way they can impact your life. Rodents can make you sick.

The first thing you need to understand is that domestic rodents are different from wild rodents (though still wild). Domestic rodents are exposed to harmful organisms when they get into dumpsters, trash bins, trash piles, sewers, culvert systems, broken pipes, and other dirty places in the urban jungle. These harmful organisms are microscopic. When a rat or mouse leaves these organisms on your counters, dishes, or shelves, you won't know it. How sick can they make you? It depends on the organism.

In most cases, the invisible germs spread by rats and mice will only lead to a stomach illness. Unfortunately, there is a potential for greater illness as rodents are linked to the spread of human pathogens. They also carry ticks and fleas, which have the potential to spread diseases with life-long health implications. We can't tell you how much of a threat rats and mice present, only that they do. We recommend visiting online resources provided by the CDC to learn more about rodent, tick, and flea diseases. Only you can decide what is best for you and your family.

The Safest Way To Get Rid Of Rodents In Tampa

Common rodents create common problems. So, it isn't surprising that there is a whole industry surrounding the control of rats and mice. It makes sense. But it is a mixed bag. Let's take a look at a few and discuss the efficacy and safety of these products.

  • Rodent bait. When you want to cull exterior rodent populations, bait is a viable option. Unfortunately, your pets, children, and non-targeted critters may access your baits. Plus, if you don't effectively check to ensure rodents cannot get into your home, a rat or mouse could end up as a carcass in your wall voids. That is more than a stinky situation.
  • Traps. Many products promise to trap rats and mice for removal. The reality is that traps do not provide a complete solution. You can continually trap and remove rodents and never arrest an infestation. On top of this, rats and mice are clever animals and frequently avoid traps.
  • Sounds. There are electronic devices that promise to drive rodents out. Research has shown that these devices don't work. Rats and mice get used to the sound. So, while entirely eco-friendly, they won't help you with your rodent problem.
  • Smells. Some Tampa residents turn to natural odors to repel rodents. Rats and mice are only mildly deterred by smells that bother them. The only real effect essential oils have is that they can mask the scent of food or decaying matter in your trash bags. They don't correct an infestation.

You get the idea. Rodent control is a process, not a product. You need to know how to inspect your home for rodent activity, apply multiple products, apply exclusions to seal rodents out, and properly evaluate your rodent control program. It takes hard work and know-how. For the best results, hire a rodent management professional.

Tips To Keep Rodents Away From Your Home For Good

If you hire professional rodent control and there are no more rodents in your home, what is the next step? There are steps you can take to reduce rodent activity and keep rodents out. Let's look at those first.

  • Refrain from feeding the squirrels. We know they're cute, but you don't want to give them the wrong idea. Plus, those nuts are food for rats and mice.
  • Pick up nuts and fruit that fall from trees in your yard.
  • Remove bird feeders. Rats, mice, and squirrels love seeds and will climb up to access seeds directly from feeders.
  • Keep your trash in scented bags, store them in covered containers, and make sure to get your trash to the curb weekly. Rodents can smell decaying organic matter from a distance and will investigate.
  • Remove clutter from your yard. Remember we said rats and mice have poor eyesight and use smells to navigate? They also use their whiskers to feel objects on the ground. A yard that is free of ground clutter is resistant to rats and mice.
  • Use hardware cloth to seal voids underneath structures, such as your back deck, stairs, or shed.
  • Stay on top of home repairs, such as repairing screens, weatherstripping, door sweeps, and vent covers.
  • Trim tree branches away from your exterior walls and roofline.

These tips will provide enough control to keep rats and mice out of your home for good. If you want help, or added protection, keep us in mind. Haskell Termite & Pest Control offers residential pest control that comes with coverage for rodents. We catch problems quickly and address them effectively. Connect with us today to learn more or to start your service.