Rodents are quite comfortable living among us. They are attracted to the shelter that our homes provide to them while our eating areas serve as their food source and leaky pipes and other water sources fulfill their need for moisture. Austin has rodents year-round, but rats and mice will typically enter a home when the weather turns colder and they seek out shelter from the elements. There are many signs that you have a rodent infestation, the following signs are good indications that you should call your local professional:
- You see the mouse (or rat)! An actual sighting inside the home confirms your suspicion that you do indeed have a mouse in the house. At times the rodent may be quick and homeowners will report catching a glimpse of something they saw scurry along the floorboard. This may indeed be a rat or mouse! Check the area for droppings to help confirm your suspicions, but use caution because rodents (including the urine and droppings) carry and transmit many diseases.
- You notice droppings. There is a good chance that mouse droppings are your first sign that there is indeed a rodent in your house. According to the National Pest Management Association, a mouse produces between 40 to 100 droppings per day, while a rat produces between 20 to 50 droppings. Mouse droppings are best described as small, pellet-shaped and dark brown in color with pointed ends. Mice droppings are typically small, about ¼-inch in length. You can tell if they are fresh droppings by the color. Newer droppings will be darker and shinier while older droppings will look chalky and dry. Rat droppings are similar in shape but larger, typically ½-inch to ¾-inch in length with blunt ends.
- You hear the mice, particularly at night. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to hear mice inside the wall or up in the attic. Mice are very small and light in weight so the sounds will be faint and are often heard when the house is quiet. Sounds are most often described as scratching, squeaking, gnawing and very light scurrying. Sounds like these should be investigated as it likely indicates that you have some type of rodent or wildlife infestation. If you hear or suspect activity in the attic it's important to address it quickly as rodents chewing on wires account for up to 25% of house fires annually in the US.
- You discover packaged foods are gnawed open. Your pantry may serve as a smorgasboard for a family of mice. If you notice items that have been chewed upon and opened inspect further for droppings to confirm your suspicion that it is mice. Remember to also closely examine pet food bags for damage.
- You notice damage to areas of your home. Mice may chew through window and door frames, baseboards, cabinets or walls to gain entry. Look for very small tooth marks and small wood chips left in the area to indicate that rodents have entered. Electrical problems in a home may be the result of a mouse infestation. This is a dangerous situation that can result in a fire and should be addressed immediately.
- Certain areas of your home have a musky smell. The smell may indicate the presence of mice and should be further investigated.