Rodent infestations can be destructive to homes and surrounding vegetation. Rodents may destroy crops and outdoor plants and chew through walls and wires. Rodents may also harbor diseases, which can be transmitted to inhabitants of infested homes through feces, saliva, and urine.
Signs of Rodent Infestation
It is typically easy to spot signs of rodent infestation. Rodents are usually active at night, but will run from light, so it may be difficult to spot actual rodents unless the infestation is advanced. However, rodent droppings, dirt smears, and tail marks may visually indicate the presence of rodents. Marks made by chewing or burrow holes may also indicate rodent infestation. Chittering sounds and sounds of running in walls or ceilings may also alert inhabitants to the infestation.
There are several types of traps which may be used to diagnose a rodent infestation. Snap traps are often effective, but may cause injury to other animals or humans. Different sizes of snap traps may also be needed for differently sized rodents, such as rats versus mice. Cage traps may be used, but may vary in effectiveness. Glue traps may be effective with smaller rodents, but larger rodents may escape. Trapping is preferred when attempting to determine possible disease in local rodents, but may not be successful in completely eliminating infestations.
Preventing Rodent Infestations
The best method for preventing rodent infestations is to eliminate entryways into the home. Holes should be patched to eliminate passageways. Steel wool can also be used to plug small holes in walls, as rodents will not chew through it.
Remove Outdoor Attractants
Rodents may be drawn to homes due to attractants such as outdoor bird feeders or food set out for neighborhood strays. These types of attractants should be set far away from homes in order to avoid the possibility of attracting rodents. Mulch piles and piles of leaf debris may also make ideal nesting spots for rodents, which can encourage infestation.
In order to eliminate a rodent infestation that is already present, it is recommended that professional exterminators be contacted. Professional exterminators will utilize methods that may not be available over the counter, and will guarantee that an infestation will be eliminated. Exterminators may visit the home several times to ensure that rodents have been eradicated.
Home Care after Infestation
It is important to properly clean and sanitize the home after a rodent infestation. Since disease may be spread by skin contact with rodent feces, saliva, or urine, protective gloves and face masks should be worn while cleaning. All areas that may have been contaminated should be thoroughly cleaned with a bleach solution. After removing protective gloves and other protective gear, individuals should completely wash hands and body with a disinfectant soap.