Keeping Rodents Out: Expert Advice For Effective Control For Homes In The Woodlands


Common Rodent Species: Identifying Different Types Of Rodents

We're sure you know what a rat or a mouse looks like, but just in case, it is important to start with proper identification. As we consider these two pests, we'll look at the similarities and differences when compared to other common rodents and the unique differences of species within rat and mouse families.

House Mice: These are little rodents that get into homes and stay permanently. They have a gray coat and a white underbelly. While they are small, like a hamster, they're not nearly as stout. Though they have a pointed nose like a gerbil, their ears are much larger, and their tails aren't nearly as fat or furry. When compared to another common mouse pest (the deer mouse), it is easy to tell them apart by color. Deer mice have a tawny coat the color of a deer and a bright white underbelly. Deer mice don't prefer to infest homes and are typically found in barns and other outbuildings. The most noteworthy trait of house mice is their teeth. Like a beaver, a mouse can chew through wood. While certainly not as efficient at it, don't underestimate the ability of a mouse to get into places you wouldn't expect.

Roof Rats: These are mid-sized black rats that enter homes through vulnerabilities on the roof or along the roofline. They are very similar to squirrels in their behavior patterns. Like a squirrel, roof rats are excellent climbers, as you might expect, but what is unexpected is their ability to swim. While they don't have a big, flat tail, like a beaver or chinchilla, they can tread water for up to three days. We point this out because it is easy to underestimate these rats when you think they only climb around on roofs. They are actually quite versatile. Another example of their versatility is their ability to jump. While a roof rat can't jump as high as their cousin the kangaroo, they can leap a surprising height for their size, getting up to thirteen inches in the air, and much higher when they scramble up a surface before leaping. Keep this trait in mind as you work to keep roof rats out. 

Norway Rats: Of all the different rodents that explore your yard, these rats are the most versatile of all. A Norway rat can burrow in the ground like a gopher, climb a tree like a squirrel, and tread water like a roof rat. The big difference between roof rats and Norway rats is size. Due to its larger size, a Norway rat isn't a great climber, particularly if it is well-fed. So, you are more likely to find Norway rats on the first floor of your home rather than in your attic. Their larger size also makes it harder for these rats to invade your home if it is well protected. If you're lucky, you may only have these rodents digging burrows in your yard and damaging your plants.           

The variety of rodents in the world is quite impressive, but they all have three things in common. All rodents have strong teeth that they use to constantly chew on things. All rodents have fur, which can pick up ticks and fleas. And all rodents give birth to living offspring and are prolific in their reproduction. While rabbits are often referenced as animals that breed quickly, rats and mice beat them hands down.  

Health Risks And Property Damage: The Importance Of Rodent Control

Some rodents are kept as pets. It is not uncommon to have a gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, or even a rat or mouse for a pet. When these animals are kept in cages, they don't present a risk to your health. But it isn't good to have rodents running around freely in your home. 

  • If you've ever had a hamster escape from its cage, you may be aware of their destructive power. A hamster can chew right through a baseboard. Rats and mice can do the same. In fact, they are predisposed to chew through wood and other materials to prevent their teeth from overgrowing.
  • If you have a rodent in a cage, its fecal matter will fall through the bottom grill and land on newspaper, which you can remove periodically. When rats and mice leave their waste in your home, they do so on insulation, within your walls, inside your ducts, and around your kitchen, creating offensive odors and contaminated spaces.
  • If you have a pet rodent, it will crawl around in the materials you place inside its cage. Rats and mice crawl around in vegetation and tall grass, where they pick up ticks and fleas. Inside your home, they may spread these parasites as they explore.
  • If you have a pet rodent, you can expect it to rip up anything you put in its cage. It does this to create materials to line their sleeping area. When rodents do this in your home, they'll damage items stored in your attic, insulation, wallpaper, clothing, and more.
  • In a cage, a pet rodent is only going to chew on what you put in its cage. Wild rodents that climb up and down within your wall voids can chew on wires. If a live wire is cut, it can spark a flame within your walls. Experts assert that 20 to 25 percent of structural fires with no definable origin are likely rodent-related. 

It is fun to have rodents as pets, but not so fun to have wild rodents running around inside your home. They can contaminate food, surfaces, insulation, and more. They may spread infected ticks and fleas and damage your home and belongings. Let's look at some ways you can keep them out.

Rodent Exclusion Tips: Safeguard Your Property From Infestations

The primary way to deal with rats and mice is by applying exclusion methods. What are exclusions? They are physical barriers applied in key areas to deter rodents. These exclusions are best applied by a professional, but many pest professionals don't offer exclusion work. Why? Because it's hard work. But your Chase Pest Control team isn't afraid of a little work. We'll inspect and evaluate your property, track the routes rodents are using, consider all of the evidence, and use professional-grade materials to keep rodents out.

If you want to handle exclusions yourself, the tools for the job are a caulking gun, a few cans of expanding foam, copper mesh, metal flashing, and hardware cloth. You'll need to consider all of the structures on your property, such as applying skirting under your shed to discourage rodents. Rodents that live under your shed or near your home have fast access to the exterior of your home and are more likely to invade. Around your home, check gaps around pipes, inspect windows and doors, install screens on vents, look for cracks in your foundation, and examine screens for damage. If you see a hole, patch it up. Even a big Norway rat can get through a gap the width of a quarter.  

Professional Rodent Control: The Safe Way To Remove An Infestation

Whether you need exclusion work or rodent removal, Chase Pest Control is available to take care of your rodent problems for you. We offer industry-leading rodent pest control in The Woodlands, with an emphasis on all-natural exclusions and expert evaluations. We address common entry points used by rats and mice and alert you to larger issues that may require your attention, such as a leaking roof, structural damage, and other necessary home repairs. Exclusions are the best way to prevent rodent infestations and get long-lasting results. Contact us today to schedule a service visit and rodent inspection in The Woodlands. We look forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations. 

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