Aside from physically seeing the critters in your home, most people realize they have a rodent problem after noticing droppings, evidence of nesting, gnaw marks on doors and furniture, or damage to packaged foods and dry goods.
Mice and rats leave dark brown or black droppings in their walking path, around food sources and nesting areas. The droppings are granular in shape and can range from ¼ of an inch to 3/8 of an inch. You can gauge the extent of the infestation by the amount of droppings you find.
Another sign of rodent activity is greasy tracks along the floor, or footprints and tail tracks in dusty areas, especially along walls.
Rodent activity increases after dark, so you might have more luck looking at night. Listen for squeaks, movement and unexplained sounds coming from behind your walls.
One of the main reasons mice and rats take up residence in homes is due to the abundance of food. Mice prefer grains so you’re likely to notice tears, rips and bite marks to bags of rice and cereal. Rats will eat just about any type of food, and they’re likely to scatter food about as they eat. According to the Purdue University Extension, rat teeth grow at a rate of 5 inches per year so they constantly gnaw to prevent their teeth from growing too large, which would ultimately lead to starvation.
The gnawing can cause considerable damage to your home. Rodents have been known to chew on things like wires, PVC piping, furniture, bricks and anything made of wood. In some cases, rodents have started house fires from chewing through electrical wires. If you suspect that you may have any rodents in or around your home, please call a trusted professional. You can reach a trusted professional 24/7 at Nuisance Wildlife Removal, Inc. at 1-866-263-WILD or 941- 729-2103.
The greatest threat mice and rats pose to humans, however, is contact with disease and bacteria transmitted through rodent droppings and bites.
“If the population gets out of control, one of the biggest dangers is the feces and urine,” Norris says. Exposure to rodent droppings can transmit serious illnesses such as hantavirus, salmonella and leptospirosis. Rodent bites can transmit plague, rat-bite fever or infection. Norris says he’s even heard of people getting sick from drinking out of contaminated soda cans that were stored in an area infested by mice.