Most homeowners enjoy having visits from special houseguests. However, if the visitor is a rodent then the homeowner probably won’t be so thrilled. That’s why Orange County and Los Angeles County property owners have come to rely on Pacific Pest Control to remove any unwanted critters that have made their house a home.
Rats and mice can strike fear in homeowners so let’s get into all the details about rat infestations.
What are the Causes of a Rat Infestation?
Rats are just like people because they love to eat, drink, and be merry. Rodents or mice will target your house because they need a place to crash, particularly when California turns a bit chillier in the winter months.
These are the top reasons why a rat colony may infest your home:
Comfort and warmth: Rats, mice, and other rodents are warm-blooded animals, so they naturally seek out warm places to nest.
Food: Rodents will pretty much eat any type of food they come across. That’s why they are tempted by garbage cans, pet food bags, grass seed, birdseed, compost bins, dog waste, and indoor fruit or nut plants.
Leaking Pipes: Thirsty mice and rats must drink H2O every day. If they aren’t able to find a water source outside, then they’ll be drawn into homes with leaking water pipes. They are also tempted by dog water bowls, sprinkler heads, birdbaths, and other surprising water sources.
How Fast Can a Rat Infestation Spread?
The year-round warm and pleasant weather of California makes it easy for rats to reproduce frequently. That’s pretty scary considering rats are already known for reproducing faster than any other species. Female rats usually birth an average of 5-10 rat pups at once and will do so as much as 6 times per year. That means one female rat can reproduce 60 rat pups in twelve months.
Keep in mind, rat colonies with access to plenty of food and water can grow to 100 rats rather quickly.
How Do Rats Get into Your home?
Our rodent experts know there are different types of rats and mice. Each type of rodent has slightly unique behaviors and preferences. This means there are a large variety of ways rodents can break into your home.
Rats can get into your abode through an opening as small as ¾ of an inch. Any little opening, crack, or crevice can appear as an open door to a hungry, tired, or thirsty rat. Look around your property for the following common places rodents enter homes.
Gaps or cracks around your chimney make it easy to get into the attic. Professionally clean your chimney to remove any nesting materials. Also, be sure to install a chimney cap or grate to block rat entries.
The room corner intersection in your attic may have small gaps that create an entryway for rats. Rodents also like to chew through ridge cap plugs. Always use waterproof sealant on any spaces bigger than ¾ of an inch to deter rodents.
Cracks and Holes
Small holes and cracks around your home’s foundation are excellent openings for rats. Rodents can also chew, climb, and crawl through unsealed openings around bathtubs, sink drains, and utility lines (e.g. cable, water, sewer, gas). To avoid this situation, use waterproof sealant or steel wool to block the opening. Also, check your windows and screen doors for holes or gaps.
All the exterior vents your home has can also be a great gateway for unwelcome vermin, including attic vents, bathroom fans/vents, laundry exhaust vents, and range hood vents. Mice and rats can squeeze their bodies through any gaps around the vent’s opening. So, it’s important to seal those gaps and install a metal screening as a vent cover.
Drains and water pipes
It might surprise you to learn most rodents are very capable swimmers. Rats and mice can hold their breath underwater and swim through sink or bathtub drains. That’s why it’s a good idea to put screens or grates over all your home’s drains.
Signs of A Rodent Infestation
Rats usually are more active at night unless there is a large infestation. That means you may not ever see a rat or mouse unless you go snooping around your house. These are common signs of rat infestations that you may want to consider.
Droppings: Rats produce a large amount of feces and urine so finding fecal droppings is a foolproof way to confirm an infestation.
Sounds: You may hear noises caused by rats scurrying about, like scratching or chattering sounds.
Nests or Burrows: Nests made of debris can usually be found around home foundations, attics, trees, storage bins, old blankets, or any other little nook.
Rub Marks: Body oils from a rat’s fur will often rub off on walls or floors, particularly near any entry points they are squeezing through.
Chew Marks: Rats must gnaw or chew on just about anything, like wires, wood, plastic, leather, or any other hard surfaces. This regular activity is how rats keep their teeth sharp and chiseled down.
Damages from a Rat Infestation
The greatest threats from a rat infestation are structural damage and health risks. First, mice and rats can chew through just about anything, electrical wires and pipes are common targets. This damage can impact your home’s safety by leading to home fires and gas explosions. Plus, the cost to repair rat damage to your property can get costly and no one wants to deal with that.
Second, homeowners that have rat infestations are being exposed to many harmful diseases. For instance, rats carry bacteria and other “superbug” diseases that can spread to you and your family. Rodent infestations may also lead to Salmonella, Typhus, or Rat Bite Fever (RBF) exposure.
Don’t let a rodent infestation cause damage to your home and put your family’s health at risk, call a professional rodent extermination company.
Preventing Rat Infestations
Any mice exterminator will tell you it’s much easier to prevent rat infestations than to remove rat colonies once they’re established. Here are a few things you can do to keep rats and mice away from your residence.
- Cover your trash with tight-fitting lids
- Remove dog waste promptly, stack firewood away from your home, secure compost bins, keep bushes trimmed
- Seal water leaks and cover (or remove) any potential water sources
- Safely store all food, plastic containers are best
- Use waterproof sealant on any gaps, cracks, or holes around your foundation, attic, basement, etc.
- Plug cracks in walls and floors, seal gaps around windows, doors, and plumbing
- Be sure all your drains have screens and vents have caps
- Regularly inspect your property for any easy access points for unwanted visitors
Remember, that rats and mice can squeeze through an opening less than one inch.
Contact Pacific Pest Control
Pacific Pest Control are rodent control experts that can prevent and exterminate any rat infestation. Since 2008, Pacific Pest Control has been helping Orange County and Los Angeles County homeowners in keeping their California homes safe from rodents.
Contact Pacific Pest Control today to get a free consultation from one of our experienced Pest Control technicians.