Pest Spotlight: Tackling A Rodent Infestation In Indianapolis

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There are several rodent pests in our service area. Some are lawn rodents or ground rodents that never get into Indianapolis homes; voles and gophers are examples of these. Some rodents are occasional pests that may get into your home but will only stay for a short while; chipmunks and deer mice fall into this category. There are only three kinds of rodents that can get in and stay for long periods; rats, mice, and squirrels. The worst indoor rodents are rats and mice. They can live indoors for months or even years. Squirrels can stay inside, but will typically only do this for short time. They use your attic like it is a tree cavity. For all we know, they may not have the intelligence to tell that your home isn't a tree. Whether they do or not, it isn't good to have squirrels (or any rodents) in your home. Join us as we discuss how to tackle rodent infestations in your yard and how to keep all rodents out of your home. If you have an indoor infestation, jump over to our contact page and connect with us. We provide professional rodent pest control in Indianapolis. We'll guide you in the right direction. 

How Can I Tell If Rodents Are Damaging My Home?

Rodent infestation chewing books

You know that rodents can chew on your home and cause damage. But lots of pests chew on homes. How can you tell that rodents are causing the damage you are seeing? Step one in tackling a rodent infestation is determining that you do, in fact, have rodent activity on your property. These tips can also help you tell whether or not rodents are continuing to stick around after you've taken steps to drive them away.

  • Inspect the damage you find. Rodent damage looks like plain-old wood rot. If you see damage that looks like trenches on top of each other, that is carpenter ant or termite damage. If you see circular holes, those are carpenter bee tunnels. Rats and mice gnaw and create holes that are larger than a golf ball.  
  • Look for grease marks. When rats and mice run along your exterior, the grease from their fur may rub off. You may also see grease on pipes, conduits, and powerboxes.
  • Look for droppings. Rodent droppings are extremely helpful for determining what kind of rodents are pestering you and how recently they left the droppings. All rodent droppings are dark brown or black. Mouse droppings are smaller than grains of rice. Rat droppings are larger than grains of rice. Squirrel droppings are slightly larger than rat droppings. Fresh fecal matter is dark and squishy. Old fecal matter is grey and brittle. 
  • Look for ground holes. Norway rats sometimes create burrows in yards. You may find their holes underneath piled objects or under a shed, deck, or exterior staircase.
  • Keep watch for rodents in the early morning or evening. Rats and mice are mostly nocturnal. You're likely to only see them at dusk or dawn. Look at branches and wires near your exterior, or in hiding places between your landscaping and exterior walls.

If you have enough evidence to determine that rodents are damaging your home, or that they are actively exploring your exterior, the next step is to decide what to do about them. Let's look at a few facts that will help you with your decision.

Rodents Can Make You Sick And Damage Property

When you find evidence of rodents on your property, but no sign that they've gotten inside, you can take steps to keep rodents outside where they belong. This is hard work. You'll have to use some muscle. So, we've added this section as an incentive. Rodents aren't harmless houseguests, they can make you sick and damage your property. It is well worth your effort to roll your sleeves up and keep backyard rodents from becoming indoor pests. Here are just some of the problems that arise when rats and mice, and sometimes squirrels, get into your home.

  • They soil indoor spaces. A rodent won't go outside to do its business. They will leave a mess for you to clean up. Wear protective gear when cleaning up rodent feces to protect yourself from Hantavirus and other potential diseases.
  • They soil items in storage. When a rat or mouse nests in a couch or chair cushion, they will damage the item with their waste. 
  • They damage stored items with their teeth. A rat, mouse, or squirrel can damage stored items by chewing on them.
  • They chew on wires and gas lines. There is no way to know how many residential fires result from rodent infestations, but experts guess that 20 to 25 percent of fires sparked from unknown sources are likely due to rats and mice chewing on things they shouldn't.
  • They carry ticks and fleas. One little mouse can have as many as a hundred tiny seed ticks in its fur. 
  • They carry tiny microorganisms. Rodents come in contact with harmful bacteria when they crawl in dumpsters and other dirty places. They carry these invisible organisms in their fur and also in their bellies.
  • They leave droplets of urine to help them navigate with their sense of smell. Over time, it really stinks having a rodent infestation. Literally.
  • They make noises. When a rat or mouse gets in your walls, you may hear them as you're trying to go to sleep.
  • They contaminate stored food. Rats and mice often get into kitchen and pantry foods. When they do, they contaminate these items with the organisms on their fur. 

There is more we could say on this topic, but you see the issue. Rodents are wild animals. They don't know how to behave in your home, so it is best to keep rodents out.

Five Effective Tips To Prevent Rodents In Your Home

Okay. You find rodent droppings or a spot where rodents are chewing on your exterior or chewing on something in your yard. You know that rodents can spread bacteria, introduce ticks and fleas, and damage your stuff. Now you're ready to do something about these potential pests. Here are our five most effective tips for keeping rodents out.

1. Reduce Rodent Activity

Rats, mice, and squirrels are motivated by food. Reduce food options, and you're sure to reduce rodent activity. What do rats, mice, and squirrels eat?

  • Fruits and nuts. Clean these up from the ground underneath fruit or nut-bearing trees as soon as possible, and refrain from putting peanuts out for the squirrels.
  • Seeds. Remove bird feeders or consider moving your feeders, so they don't provide a food source near your home.
  • Garbage. Keep your trash covered.
  • Garden vegetables. If you have a garden, protect it with fencing material.

Rodents won't want to live in your yard if you don't have available food resources. They prefer to live close to food. 

2. Seal Openings Rodents Use

A rat or mouse can't help but squeeze into any tiny hole or gap. They are actually attracted to confined spaces. You can have some success stopping them if you seal these common entry points:

  • Make sure your exterior doors are sealed completely.
  • Fill in gaps between wood members, such as the sole plates around your home, just above the foundation.
  • Fill in gaps around pipes and PVC wire conduits.
  • Repair door and window screens.
  • Fill in rotted wood holes.

No opening is too small. Remember that rodents have strong teeth that can make small holes larger.

3. Bolster Your Defenses

Rodents chew on wood, concrete, and other building materials. If you see a spot that rodents are gnawing on, apply a strong material to stop them. The materials for this level of exclusion are hardware cloth and metal flashing.

4. Remove Hiding Places

Rats and mice don't typically chew holes to enter homes in areas where they are exposed to potential predators. They hide behind vegetation or underneath back decks. If you remove hiding places, you make it hard for these rodents to enter your home.

  • Use hardware cloth to prevent access to the void under your back deck. Install the material at least a foot below the surface.
  • Trim plants in your landscaping, particularly near the base of these plants.
  • Remove objects that rest against your home.
  • Move wood piles away from your exterior and consider putting wood on an elevated platform.

A neat and trim exterior that has no clutter is a strong deterrent to rodents.

5. Remove Routes

Rats, mice, and furry-tailed rodents can access your home through vulnerabilities on your roof. Take steps to stop them from accessing your roof. Here are some suggestions:

  • Cut tree branches down near your roofline.
  • Stop rodents from using powerlines to get on your roof. Something spiky can help you do this.
  • Apply guards to pipes or PVC piping that go up the sides of your home.
  • Plug downspouts with wire mesh.

These all-natural rodent control methods can help you stop big rodents and small rodents. If you're up for the challenge and a little muscle work, this is all the rodent control you may need. If you don't have the time, energy, or inclination, you can contact a licensed pest management professional for assistance.  

How To Safely Get Rid Of Rodents In Your Home

Now you know how to address rodents in your yard, but if rodents have gotten inside, the best solution is to take action and contact Action Pest Control. Rodents are notoriously difficult to control, and some over-the-counter rodent control products are potentially harmful. You can protect yourself from harm and save yourself a lot of misery by letting our trained and experienced professionals handle this task. If you live in Indianapolis, give us a call for professional rodent control. We're here to help. 

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