Look out, it’s a rat! A rodent infestation may be tricky to detect; these swift and sneaky little creatures not only hide well, they are also smart enough to stay undetected. From darting in and out at night, to finding the cosiest of places to settle in your home, rodents are hard to find and even harder to handle when they infiltrate our houses. Whether you live in a HDB or a landed property, a rodent infestation can happen. If you are unsure of what to look for, read on to find out 5 signs of rodent infestation in your home.
What are some of the rodents that commonly infiltrate your homes? It is important to know and recognise them when you see one scurrying about your living room. Try to identify unique features characteristic of specific rodent species so that you know what kind of pest you would be dealing with. Snapping a photo and sending it to your pest controller can also help the team to better prepare for the eradication of the rodent species infesting your home.
Here are some of the common rodent species that you might see:
1. Norway Rat – These little rodents are also known as Brown Rats for their brown coat of fur. They can grow up to 40cm long and weigh 400g on average. They spend most of their time underground and swim well.
2. Roof Rat – Commonly known as the Roof Rat as well, they can grow up to 22 cm and weigh 200g on average. Roof rats have long tails that help them with balancing when they climb on narrow routes, they can often travel about high-rise buildings. They have black fur with white and greyish tones.
3. House Mouse – Don’t be fooled by their adorable appearance. House mice can grow up to 9.5cm long and weigh around 30g. Their fur coats vary from brown to black, with white undersides. House mice are often found where food is present.
A rodent often enters our home for a number of reasons. Increasingly interconnected buildings, along with construction projects are some things that can encourage rodents to take refuge in people’s houses. Rodents are attracted to places where food, water, and shelter are accessible. If your kitchen has exposed food, trash that hasn’t been regularly taken out, and water sources that rodents can easily find such as pet waste or water bowls, it becomes a conducive environment for them to live in. Maintaining hygiene standards at home is important to keep them out.
Additionally, lawns, gardens, or backyards that have not been properly maintained also make good places for rodents to take shelter in. Stationary objects (newspapers and cardboards) found indoors and outdoors also encourage rodents to set up their nests.
5 Signs of Rodent Infestation
What are some of the signs of rodent infestation? It’s all about intuition, and a lot of observation. As rodents travel, they leave clues that help you to deduce their presence in your home:
1. Scratching Noises – One of the most common noises that you might hear include scratching sounds made by busy rodents at night. Rodents are nocturnal, you can often find them climbing about, digging burrows at night, or in a hunt for food around your house. Scratching noises can help to alert you of their presence.
2. Rodent Droppings – The clearest indicator of rodent infestation is the presence of rodent droppings. Rat droppings are dark, shiny, and long, while mouse droppings are smaller pellets. In most cases, rodent droppings are also pointed at the sides.
Rodent droppings are usually found nearby food sources in your homes, or places that rodents can easily take refuge in, such as in cabinets. Dust breathed in that has been contaminated by the droppings can cause health problems at home.
3. Gnaw Marks – A sign of rodent infestation also includes gnaw marks, but why do they chew on things in your home? Mice and rats enjoy gnawing on inedible objects to hone their teeth. From boxes to plastic objects, rodents will gnaw on a variety of materials. This can be a safety hazard especially when you find rodent bite marks on wires (electrical fires can result from this).
4. Rub Marks – While rodents are known to chew their way through anything – wood, vinyl, glass, plastics, and even metal – one more major sign of rodent infestation is the rub marks created by them on the wall! Since rodents enjoy scrambling through the sewages and sticks to a usual path, these rub marks tend to be greasy and are very obvious.
5. Waste Piles – No one likes dark corners more than rodents! Be it underneath your cabinets or behind your cupboards, rodents take every opportunity to build their nests in areas usually not prominent to us. If you start noticing a collection of waste such as plastic bags or tissue papers at these corners, it may well be a rodent infestation!
Risks Involved in an Infestation
Rodents can reproduce rapidly. A single species of rodent can reproduce up to six litres on an annual basis. That is a lot of rats! Be careful if they start a colony in your home. Rodent infestations often come with some of these risks:
1. Health Risks and Contamination – Spread by rodents, infectious diseases can be passed onto people. The Hantavirus, for example, can be transmitted through their droppings or saliva. Air particles carrying the virus in these contaminants can be transmitted to humans when they breathe them in. When we rub our eyes or nose after touching rodent’s faeces, saliva, or food contaminated by it, the disease can be transmitted too. This is especially dangerous when it comes to young children living in the house.
Another infectious disease includes Leptospirosis, where the virus can be transmitted through the consumption of food that has been contaminated by rodent urine. Rat bite fever also results from bites or scratches from a rodent carrying the bacteria.
2. Structural Damage – Due to their habit of gnawing on things, rodents can cause structural damage to your furniture, in an attempt to build nests made out of any scraps that they can find. Besides ruining furniture, rodents also chew through drain pipes. This could lead to serious leakage problems. Wires that have been gnawed on also pose as fire hazards.
How to Proof Your Home?
Rodents are attracted to areas that can provide them with food, water, and shelter. It is important to prevent them from gaining access to these in your home. Some simple measures you can take include:
1. Storing Food Effectively – Keep your food stored and sealed in glass, hard plastic, or metal containers, rather than leave them out in the open air. This will prevent rodents from being able to sniff out your food.
2. Take Out the Trash Regularly – Good hygiene standards should be maintained at home. Take out the trash regularly. It is important to dispose of them before they start to have strong, pungent smells that can attract rodents over, especially when you leave them in your kitchen overnight.
3. Sealing Entrances – Rodents enter through any cracks and crevices that they can find. It would be helpful to block off these points of entry by sealing them with wire mesh or steel wool. You can use them to seal any holes, cracks, or pipe openings that could potentially let rodents in.
If you already see signs of rodent infestation in your home, it’s best to engage with pest control professionals to eradicate them completely. An experienced team of pest control experts would be able to provide solutions effectively and safely. First Choice Pest Specialist offers pest control and disinfection services for every pest problem. Contact us today!