Have you been hearing scrabbling noises inside the walls of your home at night? Does it sound like something could be gnawing on the walls? You could have a rodent, or family of rodents, living in your house! Small rodents, such as mice, rats and squirrels are common household invaders here in St. Louis. Unlike humans, rodents can’t throw on a winter coat when it gets cold outside, so they begin looking in the fall for a warm place to live. Oftentimes the warm place that rodents find is inside our homes. If you suspect there may be a rodent inside your home, here are a few signs to look for:
Rodent droppings – Mouse droppings will be about ¼ long, black and oval shaped. Rat, squirrel and chipmunk droppings look very similar but are larger.
Chew marks – Rodents have two front teeth that never stop growing. To keep them short they have to constantly chew. Look for gnaw marks on corners of walls, furniture, books, boxes and even clothing.
Nests – Rodent nests are generally found in low traffic areas but also near sources of food. This is often inside walls, in attics or basements and under or behind kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator or stove. Nests are usually made of easily shredded materials such as cardboard, newspapers or magazines.
Rub marks – Rodents are creatures of habit. They almost always travel the same paths to a food source and back to their nest. After some time, these runways become worn down and visible. Look for runways on the ground along walls.
Once they are in your home they are very hard to get rid of. The most effective method of rodent control is prevention. Try to prevent an infestation in the first place by doing the following:
Eliminate all entry points. Check for rips in door and window screens, gaps around window frames and cracks or crevices in the foundation. A mouse is a small creature that only needs an opening the size of a quarter inch to gain access to your home.
Eliminate food sources. Make sure the kitchen sink is cleaned out each night and store food in airtight containers. Also, rodents love seeds. Make sure any bird seeds are stored in a container with a tightly fitting lid.
Organize cluttered areas. As earlier mentioned, rodents enjoy building their nests in low traffic areas, but they also like clutter. Organize storage areas to eliminate possible nesting sites and make your home much less appealing to rodents.
If you think that you have a rodent infestation, call your local pest professional today. We often get calls from concerned homeowners with rodent problems and they usually want to know “are mice dangerous?” The answer is yes and no- although they probably will not physically attack you, they spread diseases through their urine and feces and bring fleas and ticks into your home. They can also damage the structure of your home with their chewing and may even cause a house fire when they chew on electrical wires. Some people attempt DIY mouse control in their home; this usually consists of a few mouse traps set out to catch the mice that have entered. If you have just a couple of mice in your home, this may work, but if mouse traps aren’t working and you still see signs of these pests, the chances are you have a much larger infestation that requires professional assistance.
Whether you live in St. Louis, Ashland, or elsewhere throughout Mid-Missouri, Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions can take care of your rodent control needs. Rottler has been providing effective pest control and wildlife management in St. Louis, Chesterfield, Ballwin, Florissant and Saint Charles since 1956. Don’t let the noises keep you up at night anymore; call Rottler for a free inspection and get rid of the rodents in your walls.
This blog was originally published on December 5, 2011, but we have updated it to reflect the most recent and accurate information available in helping you combat frustrating rodent problems.