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During the winter, rodents are seeking warm shelter indoors and food. Thus, they are looking to burrow into your home however they can. There are three types of destructive rodents you might see: Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse. Though similar there are some key differences that ought to be considered from a pest management perspective.

norway rat, roof rat, house mouse, free inspection

Identifying the rodent type

  • Norway Rat – small eyes, small ears, stocky short hairless tail
  • Roof Rat – large eyes, large ears, slender longer hairless tail
  • House mouse – small all the way around with a tail as coated with fur as the rest of its body

Habits of each rodent

Rats and mice can squeeze through holes just large enough to pass their heads through, as small as ¼ for mice and ½ inch for rats. They can climb through pipes, jump vertically three feet, horizontally four feet, and climb wires, cables, vines, and trees to enter a building.

  • Norway Rat – cautious with a tendency to burrow
  • Roof Rat – cautious but more likely to climb to find entry points
  • House Mouse – curious and small enough to gain entry into any hole dime size or bigger

Rodent priorities for basic needs

  • Norway Rat – food, water and harborage in equal portions
  • Roof Rat – food and water but more adaptable about harborage due to climbing nature
  • House Mouse – food and harborage, most do not consume water directly but rather ingest enough from the foods that they eat to sustain them

Indicators of rat and mice infestation

  • Rodent droppings 
  • Grease rubs along base trim
  • Burrow holes
  • Trailing in attic insulation
  • Hanging or knocked down subfloor insulation
  • Nesting piles of debris
  • Odor particularly around vents for forced air systems

Control measures aside from exclusion

Control measures should be a top priority. Rodents have a small home range, so rats travel no more than 100 feet and mice less than 30 feet from their nesting site. Trapping is an effective, quick and economical method of control.

  • Norway Rat – snap traps
  • Roof Rat – snap traps/glue boards
  • House Mouse – glue boards

Potential damages to your house and property

  • Electrical – Rodents gnaw off the coating of electrical wires and wiring harnesses in both homes and vehicles creating failures in operation all the way up to fires.
  • Plumbing – Rodents chew into pipes, which can create leaks and increase the water bill. This can lead to possible flooding or even mold issues if within wall voids.
  • Attic and subfloor insulation – Rodents can cause compression and trailing of blow-in-attic insulation and they can knock down subfloor insulation from the joists it was installed into.
  • Contamination – Rodent feces and urine has the potential to be on all surfaces including the insulation in the attic and subfloor and vapor barrier. This can cause odor and potential disease transmission including but not limited to Hantavirus, Salmonella and an extensive list of foodborne pathogens when they get into stored food products within the home.

Why it’s important to handle a rodent problem immediately

In addition to causing damage, rodents can contaminate food and introduce fleas into a home. They also can create large litters which can get very out of control if there is no intervention.

Handling the problem immediately is important for:

  • The health and well-being of your family
  • The physical safety of your family (electrical fires, etc.)
  • Expenses regarding property damage to the structure, vehicles, etc. for repair or replacements

Put your mind at ease, contact our Pest Control Experts for a free inspection today 866-570-0663!

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For your FREE inspection, call toll-free at 1 (866) 570-0663. In Puyallup call 253-284-4581 and in Tacoma call 253-538-0811.

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