Rodents are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. According to the latest data, nearly 14.8 million of the approximately 124 million occupied housing units in the United States reported seeing rodents (mice or rats) in their living spaces. Rodents may appear harmless at first, but their presence can quickly pose serious health hazards and cause extensive property damage.

Rodents gnaw on wires, insulation, and structural elements of a building. They can spread diseases by contaminating food and surfaces with droppings and urine.

Dealing with a rodent infestation can be challenging, but armed with the proper knowledge and strategies, you can protect your home and its inhabitants effectively. In this blog, we will explore the dangers of these pests and list effective rodent control measures you can take.

Types of Rodents

Deer Mice

Deer mice seek shelter in rural settings like log piles, tree hollows and old fence posts. Although they usually don’t pose a threat in residential settings, they may occasionally find their way indoors during winter. It is common for them to nest in barns, cabins and sheds during the off-season.

Deer mice are the common carriers of Hantavirus which can cause respiratory, kidney or blood ailments. The virus is typically transmitted among humans by inhaling dust particles contaminated with infected deer mice’s saliva, feces and urine.

House Mice

House mice are the most common rodent species in indoor environments. They usually establish their nests in dark, secluded areas within structures. While color blind and have limited vision, they make up for it with other heightened senses. Thanks to their exceptional climbing and running abilities, they can easily access isolated or secluded areas that are difficult to reach.

House mice can inflict considerable property damage by gnawing through drywall and insulation. Their habits of chewing on wires can increase the risk of electrical fires. House mice can also pose health hazards such as Salmonella.

Norway Rats

Compared to house mice, Norway rats are stocky, heavy-bodied rodents that are larger and more aggressive. These nocturnal rodents seek refuge in piles of garbage or beneath concrete slabs by burrowing.

Norway rats usually invade homes during the fall in search of food. They can be found in undisturbed areas such as basements and crawl spaces.

Like other rodent species, they can cause severe property damage by gnawing through plastic, lead pipes and other materials. They can bring fleas and mites indoors and carry diseases such as jaundice, rat-bite fever and cowpox virus.

Roof Rats

Watch out for roof rats if you have any fruit trees on your property. Also called black rats, these agile rats are known for their slender bodies, pointed muzzle and tail that is often longer than the head and body combined. They live in colonies and prefer to nest in elevated areas.

In citrus orchards, roof rats build nests using leaves and twigs within trees. They may also rest in dense mulch, debris piles, or shallow burrows beneath the trees. They can also be found in livestock feed yards and barns, burrowing under feed bunks or within hay bales.


Classified as rodents, squirrels share similar behaviors and characteristics with mice and rats. They can inflict injuries when they attack humans and pets. While most rodents have a low risk of rabies, squirrels can carry the disease.

Squirrels can create a mess indoors by leaving urine and feces everywhere. They can cause leaks and water damage within the building by chewing through plumbing pipes.

Squirrels are also known carriers of parasites, such as ticks, mites and fleas, resulting in skin irritation and discomfort among humans.

Signs of a Rodent Infestation

Likely, you’ll never even glimpse the rodent that has entered your home. The earlier you recognize the signs of a rodent infestation, the faster you can solve the issue.

Rodent Droppings and Urine Stains

Rodent droppings are dark colored, pointed at one end, and 1/4 to 3/8 inches long. They are usually found near food sources and pipes and vents where they like to nest. Droppings can also be seen in drawers, cabinets and concealed areas. Rodents also shed tiny hairs from their bodies as they travel through rooms.

Urine stains are small brown streaks or spots that are difficult to detect. They typically appear on walls, ceilings and floors.

Gnaw Marks and Visible Damage

Gnaw marks and damage are the most apparent signs of rodent infestation. Rats tend to gnaw on various items, such as wires and furniture, to access food sources and create sheltered areas away from potential predators.

Rodent chew marks will typically appear on baseboards, walls, ceilings, books, plastic containers, food packaging and cardboard boxes.

Scratching or Gnawing Noises

Rodents are nocturnal creatures. Gnawing or scratching noises in the middle of the night may indicate a rodent issue. These noises usually emanate from under floorboards or behind walls. Be sure to investigate these areas for further signs of a rat infestation.

Interior or Exterior Holes

Rodents are notorious for leaving holes in floors, ceilings and walls as they move from one space to another. These holes can vary in size, ranging from only an inch wide to larger openings.

These holes indicate a rodent problem and serve as entry points for other pests, such as spiders and cockroaches. Watch out for holes to prevent the entry of additional pests and keep your indoor space clean and disease-free.

Tips for Maintaining a Rodent-Free Space

Rodent control is key to maintaining a clean and safe home. By implementing these rat pest control measures, you can protect your home, belongings and health from the dangers of rodent infestations.

1. Block All Potential Entry Points

Rodents can squeeze their way through the smallest openings. Look for cracks in the joints of your pipes, your home’s foundation and around windows and door sills. Seal all of them using caulk or steel wool. You can also install wire mesh screens to cover entry points.

Worn or damaged weather seals along the bottom edges of garage doors can serve as entry points, so ensure they’re always in good condition.

Rodents are attracted to the warmth of insulation, so it’s best to inspect your attic regularly for signs of infestation.

2. Store Food in Sealed and Inaccessible Places

Don’t leave food in and around your home to prevent an infestation. Start by keeping your kitchen spotless. Crumbs, food splatters and open cereal boxes can attract mice, so always keep countertops and surfaces clear of any food debris.

Rodents and bugs easily broach cartons, bags and containers made from plastic and paper. Keep sugar, flour and other food items in tightly sealed containers on high shelves or in your refrigerator. This makes it harder for rats and pests to access these tempting food sources.

3. Remove Potential Nesting Sites

Keep rats and mice away by removing potential nesting materials, such as leaf piles and deep mulch. Regularly mow your lawn to reduce possible hiding spots and discourage rodents from settling in.

In addition, promptly dispose of garden waste such as trimmings, clippings and other organic debris, as they can serve as an ideal refuge for rodents to hide and reproduce.

4. Seal Garbage Bins

Garbage cans and bins are attractive food sources for rodents, so ensure they’re tightly sealed with airproof lids. It’s also recommended to place these containers as far from your house or building as possible. For an extra layer of prevention, elevate them on racks or platforms to make it harder for rodents to access the waste.

5. Remove Outdoor Food Sources

If you have fruit trees, inspect and discard fallen fruits or decaying organic matter from the ground, as they serve as tempting food sources. Another tip is to plant members of the mint family in your garden since their strong scent is a natural deterrent for rodents.

6. Set Baits and Traps

Common types of traps are the traditional snap trap, live catch-and-release trap, electric trap and glue trap.

They’re designed to kill rodents either by sending an electric shock or triggering the release of a powerful snap bar. On the other hand, glue traps include a sticky adhesive surface that immobilizes the rodent once stepped on.

Mouse traps keep captured rodents in place, reducing the risk of contamination and preventing the chances of discovering a dead mouse in unwanted areas.

On the other hand,  bait stations have a plastic box or container with anticoagulant bait, liquid bait or rat poison. Unlike rodent trapping, baits can take several days to weeks to kill rodents. This means rats can still freely move around the house, increasing the possibility of dying in hidden and hard-to-reach areas.

Bait stations contain toxic substances and should be placed outdoors, ensuring they are out of reach for children and pets.

Achieve Peace of Mind With Professional Rodent Control Services

Rodents are stubborn creatures that can be difficult to eradicate. It’s best to seek the assistance of a professional rat pest control service for a reliable and long-lasting solution.

At Pest Control Unlimited, we offer residential and commercial mouse pest control services. We have the expertise and tools to keep your space rodent-free and minimize the risk of re-infestation.

Call us today to book a home visit and learn more about our mouse pest control products and services.