How to Tell If You Have a Rodent Infestation in Illinois

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We have several rodents in Illinois. We have big rodents and we have small rodents. The big rodents that could get into your home are rats and squirrels. Of the two, rats are the worst because they can get into many places within your home. Squirrels tend to stay in attic spaces. The small rodents are mice. But not all mice are considered equal. House mice are house rodents. They like to live in Illinois homes because these mice are somewhat domesticated. They've been living off humans for so long, there are currently no known populations of wild mice in the world. It is difficult to get a house rodent out of your home. If house mice or house rats (also known as roof rats) get inside, they will want to stay permanently. These animals can live in your home without making any detectable noises. If they stay long enough, they can expose your family to sickness and damage your property. The worst outcome of a rodent infestation is a house fire. Mice and rats chew on wires and gas lines. Today, we're going to offer up some tips to help you detect rodents in your Illinois home or business and discuss what steps are needed to address a rodent infestation.

Rodent Droppings

rat infestation

When these animals get into your home, they're not going to go outside to use the restroom. They will leave their droppings and urine everywhere, as they roam. This is one of the reasons it is so bad to have a rodent infestation. Rodent waste creates conditions for human sickness. But that waste can help you detect rodent activity in your home if the rodents are being quiet, which is usually the case. Mice and rats don't typically bump and thump inside your bedroom walls as you're going to sleep. They prefer to be close to food sources and are more likely to create a nest in a wall void near kitchen or pantry food.

These places are the first places you should search for droppings:

  • Inspect the cabinet under your kitchen sink. If you see tiny black droppings that are between 3mm and 9mm long, you probably have a rodent infestation.
  • Inspect the backs of your kitchen drawers and cabinets. It is possible for rodents to climb up into the backs of drawers when they are not sealed. It is also possible for a rodent to chew through the back of a drawer or cabinet that is sealed.
  • Inspect the backs of kitchen and pantry food shelves.
  • Inspect underneath kitchen appliances. If possible, pull your oven out of its place and look behind it.
  • Inspect behind washers and dryers. This tends to be an area of high moisture. Also, mice and rats tend to get into homes through dryer exhaust vents.
  • Inspect the insulation in your attic space. While your attic is far from your kitchen or pantry, it might be an ideal location for mice and rats to live. Attics are secluded spaces, and mice and rats prefer to live where they are not going to be disturbed.   

Scent Of Urine

As a small mouse or a big rat moves about inside your home, it will leave droplets of urine. One reason for this is that rodents use their noses to navigate. They're able to smell their way from one place to another. This is necessary because they often move around in pitch dark environments. When mice or rats move about in your Illinois home, you may smell the faint (or not so faint) scent of urine. The more rodents you have, the stronger the scent.


Rodents create damage in many ways. If you see damage and recognize it as rodent damage, it can help you determine that you have a rodent infestation. Here are a few examples:

Holes in exterior door and window frames. Rodents and carpenter ants are typically the only pests that create obvious holes in wood frames. If you find a small hole about the size of a dime, this is an indication of a mouse infestation. If the hole is larger than a quarter, it could be a rat hole.

Once inside your rodents go inside your home, rodents don't stop creating holes in building materials. They may create a small hole in a baseboard to access food storage areas. These are likely to be hidden under cabinet overhangs or behind appliances. Get down low and use a flashlight to find them.

Mice and rats get into stored foods. If you find packages with holes chewed in them, rodents may be to blame. The larger the hole, the more likely rodents are the culprits. Inspect all your stored foods.

Mice and rats can damage stored items such as furniture and cardboard boxes. Use a flashlight to closely examine items in storage.


A close inspection of your attic spaces could reveal nests. These nests will be made from materials gathered in your home. Look for them in recesses and in other hiding places.

Hairs And Footprints

Mice and rats may drop hairs on kitchen and pantry shelves. These can be difficult to detect but not impossible to detect. You may also see footprints in dust or in powdered food left on shelves.

What To Do When You Find Rodents

If you live in Illinois, Action Pest Control can help with effective rodent control in Illinois. These pests are harmful to have in your home, and you don't want to take chances with your health and property. Reach out to us today to get started and to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Illinois.

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