There are over 70 species of mice and rats living in North America, which means if you’re a homeowner in the U.S., the chances are good some may take up residence in your home. Mice in particular love squeezing their way into warm homes once the temperature outside begins declining in the fall and winter.
Sometimes, the sign of a rodent infestation is pretty obvious—you see a mouse or rat scamper across your living quarters. But other times, these clever creatures are good at remaining elusive.
The last thing anyone wants is to share their home with these pests, as they can destroy parts of a home and spread diseases. Here are five major signs of a mouse or rate infestation to watch out for.
You’re Hearing Scratching Noises at Night
Mice and rats are usually at their most active at night. If they’re taking up residence in your walls, you’ll hear scratching or squeaking noises coming from the walls and other areas of your home after dark. They’re not exactly noises that will help lull you to sleep.
You’re Finding Their Droppings
One disgusting sign of a rodent infestation is finding the pests’ droppings everywhere. Mice and rats usually leave them along the paths they follow, so check along walls and inside cupboards and doors. Fresh droppings are moist while older ones turn gray and will dry out as they age.
Rodents also leave oily marks from their fur along walls that indicate paths they’ve made to access different parts of a home. These rodent runs, as they’re called, indicate an infestation.
Once you’ve called an exterminator for rodent removal or you succeed in ridding them yourself, you’ll need to remove the droppings and markings by disinfecting the areas. A mixture of bleach and water usually does the trick.
You’re Finding Nests
Rats and mice will build nests inside a home using shredded paper, fabric, or plant matter such as fallen leaves. They may also enter a box or container to build their nest. Check your attic and basement for any signs of a rodent home.
You’re Seeing Gnawed Surfaces
Rodents love to gnaw away at anything hard they can get their teeth on. In an infested home you’re likely to encounter chewed structures and wires. They’ll also go after your food packaging.
Gnaw marks can also indicate whether you’re dealing with mice or rats in your home; the latter will produce larger teeth marks.
Your Pets Are Getting Excited
If you have cats and they’re hearing something in a room and getting excited, that’s a sure sign you’re dealing with a rodent infestation. Dogs have been known to detect mice and rats as well. Pets can usually smell the pests, which give off a foul odor.
If a cat or dog has a strong interest in an area of the room, it’s worth investigating it to find out if you have a mouse or rat problem.
Recognize the Signs of a Rodent Infestation
Knowing the signs of a rodent infestation is the first step towards doing something about the problem before it gets worse. You’ll want to contact an exterminator right away before the population has a chance to grow.
As mice and rats can enter a home through the smallest openings, a home renovation may be in order after the problem has been dealt with. Visit our Renovate section for inspirational ideas.