Updated: Oct 31, 2019
For reasons that scientists cannot really explain, rodent infestation has become a growing problem of late. And not just in homes. Offices, college dormitories, retirement homes, correctional facilities and even hospitals and healthcare facilities are all falling victim to the little critters. In this article, we'll help you determine if you have rodents, and then give you some solid tips on how to get rid of rats or mice.
While no one exactly sure what stands behind the increase in these pests, food and grain storage locations have always been a target-of-choice for every kind of rodent. Luckily - and irrespective of the cause - its pretty easy to get rid of mice, rats and rodents.
And remember, after you’ve ridden yourself of a big rodent infestation, you should disinfect with Sterifab. But hold the phone! Before you call that exterminator or stock up on mousetraps at Home Depot, it’s always wise to make sure that you do, in fact, have a rodent problem.
How Do You Know You Have a Rodent Infestation?
First, check for unmistakable signs of mice or rats. There was a time when rodent infestation was so common that people could quickly tell whether they had rats or mice. Not so these days.
Here's what to look for when you think you have rodents:
Rodent droppings are a sure sign that you have uninvited ‘guests’ in your house, office or business, and they’re easy to identify. Mice droppings are usually smooth and small with pointed ends; they look a lot like caraway seeds. Rat droppings, on the other hand, are shiny black and 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch long.
Less obvious clues include small heaps or mounds of what appears to be dirt along walls, wainscoting and shelves. That ‘dirt’ may well be rodent droppings. Chew marks ̶ on food containers and boxes, as well as on wiring and cupboard doors ̶ are another sign that you are host to pesky rodents.
Not sure if you have rats or mice? (Although you will want to get rid of either.) As a rule, the teeth marks of rats are about an 1/8-inch long; mouse bites tend to be smaller and look more like scratches than teeth marks. In any event, you clearly have rodents around.
Where are the rats hiding?
Many times, you don't see rats or mice. So what are these rodents doing all day and where are they hanging out? Check along baseboards, door frames, doors and inside cabinets ̶ these are common rodent hangouts. Of course, if you hear noises inside your walls, then you should examine your cabinets to see if the back panels yield any signs of rodent access. If you have cats and they spend a lot of time sniffing under furniture, staring at some unseen spot on the ceiling, or ‘sitting guard’ in some corner, then you may well have mice or rats.
And while we’re on the subject of pets, has your family dog been acting strangely of late? Dogs can become upset when they hear or smell rodents in the house, especially at night when mice are more active. However, your dog is unlikely to rid your house of mice or rats. Cats do a much better job. Plus, cats have immune systems that are better designed to ward off the diseases that rats and mice frequently carry. Dogs do not, and are more susceptible as a result.
Sometimes, you can see tiny footprints or lines from tails dragging in dusty areas. If you look long enough ̶ along baseboards, in corners and near food sources ̶ you could well discover the entrance point of your pesky pests. Look, too, for smears along baseboards and wainscoting. For safety’s sake mice and rats often stay close to walls and perimeters when they are on the move. Of course, those ‘smears’ may come from another source, but it’s worth staying vigilant none-the-less.
Mice will also patrol the perimeters of your home, looking not just for food, but shelter. For instance, if they walk past a garage door where the “rubber gasket” is not perfectly seated, they will investigate. A warm draft escaping from the home is an open invitation to come inside, get warm, and look for a place to spend the winter.
Another, unmistakable clue to the presence of either rats or mice is an unpleasant, musky odor. Again, the smell might have another source, but if you can’t seem to get rid of the odor either by opening the windows or running fans, then it is definitely time to call a professional exterminator.
The Dangers of Rodent Infestation
Fortunately, we no longer have to contend with the depredations of the ‘Black Death’ and all the other rodent-transmitted diseases that ravaged Medieval Europe, but there still exist diseases that can be directly transmitted to humans by rodents. These include Hantavirus, Hemorrhagic and Lassa Fevers, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM), Rat-Bite Fever and Salmonellosis, to name but a few.
This why it’s vital that you take immediate steps if you suspect that you have rats or mice. Either set traps and then clean and disinfect your home, or hire an exterminator - pronto! Should you hesitate, keep in mind that there are also diseases that are indirectly transmitted by rodents, such as Colorado Tick Fever, La Crosse Encephalitis, Lyme Disease, Murine, Powassan Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the ubiquitous West Nile Virus.
Cleaning Up after the Rodents Are Gone
Even after your rodent infestation has been dealt with and there are no more pesky rats and/or mice around, the job’s not over. Microorganisms will remain, however efficiently and effectively the mice and rat presence have been eliminated. That’s why you ̶ or your exterminator ̶ should make liberal use of Sterifab during the cleanup.
Sterifab is an antimicrobial agent that will instantly kill any microorganisms that are present, especially resistant bacterial spores. But, unlike antibiotics, which are designed to destroy microorganisms within the body, disinfectants like Sterifab work by destroying the microbes at the cellular level or hindering their basic metabolic functions. That’s why Sterifab is widely used in hospitals, prisons, dental surgeries, kitchens, and bathrooms.
In fact, Sterifab is the disinfectant of choice for a wide variety of institutions, organizations and facilities. It’s specifically designed to:
Kill mold and mildew
Kill germs and disinfects
Eradicate pathogenic odors
Plus, it not only reduces the level of micro-organisms from a variety of sites, but also works as a bacteriostatic ̶ inhibiting bacterial growth, and as a highly effective fungistatic, preventing otherwise hard-to-control fungal growth.
How to Prevent Rodent Future Infestation
Clearly, you don’t want to play host to any kind of rodent in the future, so you need to take a few preventative steps to keep them at bay. You should:
Remove as many food and water sources as possible
Deny the rodents shelter by sealing holes inside and outside the home (or office)
Get rid of potential rodent nesting sites from your property
Store garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids
Stop feeding outdoor birds while you are controlling an infestation