Signs of a Rodent Infestation

If you suspect that you have an infestation of rodents in your house, there are some very specific clues you can look for to confirm your suspicions.

The most obvious clue is the piles of animal droppings that have been left in kitchen cabinets, pantries, bins and drawers. Since rats produce a lot of larger droppings, you’ll find it easy to spot them; mice may be slightly more difficult, but they can be found, too. Aside from the places already mentioned, you should check for animal droppings along baseboards and walls, in old furniture and in boxes and bags.

With an infestation you are probably going to hear certain sounds from behind walls. There may be scratching or scurrying noises, and there may be squeaks that are audible, but there will be sounds because rodents are noisy. If you have a dog or a cat, your furry pet will undoubtedly have recognized the intrusion before you, especially at night when the rats are the busiest.

Since rodents love to chew at things, there will definitely be gnaw marks to be found on their favorite chew-toy – wood – as well as a range of other things. Specifically check the wires in the house, because chewed wires are one of the most common causes of structural fires. If you can’t find gnaw marks but you do see something resembling sawdust along window frames, baseboards or cabinets, that dust is the result of gnawing and a clue to the presence of the pests.

You may also discover nests constructed of shredded materials like furniture stuffing or shredded paper hidden in walls, cabinets, boxes or closets. Nests can also be found in and behind dressers, and even inside appliances.

Look for tracks or tail-drag marks in dusty spots, usually located near the trail of droppings. If you spot grease marks, they have probably been left by mice when they are squeezing themselves through tight spaces. And check your soap bars, since for some reason, rodents like to chew on this non-food.

Once you’ve determined that you do have a rodent infestation, you’ll undoubtedly head for the first store you can find that sells rat traps. But before using kill traps or poisonous pellets in your home, try glue traps. They are highly effective and very humane. Once the creature has gotten stuck – literally – in the thick glue on them, the only way it can get free is if you release it somewhere outside.