In popular culture, rats are often portrayed as innocent victims or collateral damage of wanton urbanization. With nowhere left to go for them in the wild, these animals instead adapted to live with humans instead of against them, often ferreting out the forgotten nooks and crannies in your home and making them their sanctuary.
Contrary to their appearance that some people even call “cute,” there is nothing cute about the diseases they carry. They’re often attributed to spreading the Black Death, which decimated Europe in the 1300s (although recent research indicates that humans were equally to blame for the outbreaks), which gave them the reputation of a plague bringer. But that’s not all; rats can also chew your stuff, such as furniture, books, and even electrical wiring (causing short circuits and even fire) and then leave their droppings everywhere. This is why identifying the signs of their presence is the first line of defense against them.
A thorough inspection will help you arrive at the appropriate measure to get rid of these pests. In Chesapeake, home improvement contractors and pest control experts use several ways to determine if rats are present in your home—and what you can do about it.
The first step is always to identify the problem if there is even one. Before you take steps to contain your rat trouble, look at your home inside and out. This inspection is essential so you can do the right technique for pest control. With a flashlight, peer at dark areas, such as at the back of appliances and in cabinets or closets, where rats often nest in. Don’t just look down; look up at your attic too, and in areas where you’d think mice or rats would use as passageways.
An inspection will help you determine a few things, such as what species of rat is it, how severe the problem is, where they hide, and why they’re attracted to your home. Answering these questions allows a pest control specialist to recommend the right approach to solve your rat problem.
Keep Your Eyes Open for Signs
Additionally, your home might have passed muster when you’ve inspected it for rats, but rats are wily and might be hiding from you. Some signs you need to watch out for include:
- Droppings – Rat droppings are a sign they’re present. Droppings differ by species. Mice droppings are smaller by half an inch than rat droppings. Newer ones are shinier, while older ones are dry and powdery. The number of droppings indicates how many there are.
- Urine – Rat urine has a distinctive, musky odor.
- Gnaw marks and holes – Rats and mice like to gnaw at things. If you see books, paper, wood, or electrical cords like they were chewed, they’re a sure sign of rat trouble. They use these materials to build their nests.
- Noises during the night – Rats are nocturnal. When you hear scratching, scuffing, or rustling behind walls or alongside the floors, rats are probably present.
- Odd pet behavior – Pets like dogs and cats act weird when they detect the presence of rats, which they think are either prey or intruders. If your pets bark at nowhere in particular or they’re trying to paw or reach underneath furniture, refrigerators, or any small, hidden area, they may have found rats in hiding.
If you’ve checked all or most of the boxes above, your home might be playing host to unwelcome rodent visitors. Waste no time in calling your pest control company.