Rodents tend to multiply swiftly, and infestations may be extremely difficult to exterminate. Some species breed year-round, and populations are maintained through constant reproduction. Rats eat and contaminate foodstuffs and animal feed. They also damage containers and packaging materials in which foods and feed are stored. Several different types of rat species cause problems by gnawing on electrical wires and structural wood such as doors, ledges, and corners. They also tear up insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting.
Because rats are active throughout the year, you should periodically check for signs of their presence. In addition, rats are nocturnal (most active at night), and an infestation can develop before a rodent is ever seen. Unless your house is truly rodent proof, once rats have invaded your garden or landscaping, it is only a matter of time before you find evidence of them indoors.
Infestations in or surrounding a home can prove extremely destructive. Different species are known for different nesting and feeding behaviors, but infestations cause damage to gardens and yards, as well as to the home and the contents. For this reason, it is best to be consistently on the lookout for signs of rodent presence. These include:
- Rat droppings, especially around human or pet food or in or around trash areas;
- Noises in the dark, such as scratching sounds from the attic;
- Nests or piled nesting materials in hidden areas such as behind boxes or in drawers in the garage or near a firewood stack;
- Evidence of gnawing of wires or structural wood;
- Burrows around the yard particularly among plants or damaged vegetables; beneath the garbage can; under the home or outbuildings; or gnawed fruits in trees; and
- Smudge marks caused by the rats rubbing their fur against beams, rafters, pipes, and walls.
It is more effective and less time consuming to control rodents before their numbers get too high, and fewer traps and less bait will be required if control is started early. A pest control professional should be contacted for assistance.