There is no doubt that rats and mice can be a big problem especially when they start causing damage to your property and putting your family’s life at risk. We’re going to share with you some important information you need to know about rats and mice and what to do if you discover an infestation.
We’ll cover some of the most common types of rats found in Texas, and how to identify a rat from a mouse. Lastly, we’ll cover how to choose the best pest exterminator, as well as the safest and most effective methods and techniques used when a pest infestation takes place. We hope this information will help you make the best decision when faced with dealing with a rat or mice problem and guide you to the right service that best suits your needs.
Rat and Mice Exterminator
If you are a homeowner, you are familiar with the various upkeep that has to be dealt with routinely. There is yard work, repairs due to storms, and general wear and tear on the house, just to name a few. However, it’s also likely at some point that you’ll find yourself faced with a rat or mouse problem as well.
When rodents take up residence in our homes, it’s common to feel a little helpless. These are live creatures after all, and they aren’t likely to just leave if you ask them nicely.
Rat extermination and mice extermination is best left to professionals. Many homeowners turn to cheap and ineffective store-bought products to rid themselves of this pesky problem. Oftentimes, these methods can render useless and unsafe. That’s why it’s best to call a professional to get rid of rodents.
When it comes to our homes and your family, it’s not worth it to take a chance on a homemade solution.
Qualified and professional rat and mice exterminators are your best option to get rid of rodent pests in your house once for all.
Both rats and mice are rodents, even though there are some characteristics to determine if each of these animals are mice or rats. So, let’s uncover the difference between rats and mice.
Rats are much larger than mice. They range in size from seven to nine inches in length. They are also usually larger overall compared to mice. Physically, rats have small ears and tend to leave grease marks on the surfaces they pass through. Also, their tail is longer but hairless. They usually come in brown in black colors and produce about 20 to 50 droppings per day
On the other hand, mice are generally much smaller than rats. You’ll typically find them approximately four inches in length and overall smaller than rats. They can be brown or gray colored with bigger ears and long, thin, and hairy tails. Unlike rats, mice can be timid, and produce more droppings than rats, anywhere from about 40 to 100 per day.
Both rodents tend to be social, and territorial in nature and will live in groups called colonies.
It’s important to identify any rodent problem as being rats or mice since their eradication is handled differently. Yes, there is a difference between a rat exterminator and a mice exterminator. This becomes more important as you weigh your options for hiring a pest control service to take care of your situation.
However, both rat and mice exterminators are equipped to handle the pest problem before it gets out of hand. So it’s best to call one as soon as you suspect you have a rat or mouse infestation.
A professional exterminator has the appropriate methods, equipment, and training to handle rats and mice infestations. Plus, they have resources to eliminate them effectively so home or business owners can feel confident that the problem has been taken care of properly.
Hiring a reputable Plano pest control service will make the difference between a small and a severe rodent infestation. The sooner a professional can attack the problem the easier it will be to get rid of rats for good.
Here are some general steps a rat or mice exterminator will follow to solve a pest problem in your home.
The first thing a rat exterminator will do is evaluate your home thoroughly so they can identify the problem. Generally, this will allow them to confirm the type of pest and how severe the problem is. They know where rats and mice hide and the areas they like to congregate.
During the inspection, a professional pest control specialist will find where the rats gather and where they make their nests. They determine where mice gain entry into your home and the paths they travel. All of this information is used to determine the method used to eliminate the rodents.
The rat exterminator will also find the sources of food and water the rats or mice are using to turn your home into their home. Cutting off the food supply is a key component to keeping rodents from returning.
Based on this, rat and mice exterminators will be able to effectively recommend the best method specific to your particular problem. Since mice and rats behave differently, it’s beneficial to devise an effective method that fits your specific situation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Exclusion is the second step the rat exterminator follows when doing an extermination process. Exclusion consists of cutting off the rats or mice points of entry into a property.
To make sure rodents don’t come back, you have to eliminate their access. You’d be surprised at just how the smallest of holes can be an open door for rodents. Covering holes with mesh, metal flashing, or filling with foam and other similar materials are frequently used to seal up points of entry.
This includes vents, holes near cabinets, openings in crawl spaces, and gaps in door frames that need to be addressed. Rodents also see damaged pipes, cracked foundations, missing window screens and seals, as the perfect way to enter your home. A trained rat and mice exterminator will recognize these problem areas right away.
Once the exterminator has done the inspection and exclusion steps, then they will proceed to implement the chosen method to solve your rodent problem.
Rodenticides are made of chemicals that can provide a lethal result when come into contact with mammals. These are generally used for a larger rat population. The rat exterminator will know which rodenticide suits best for each situation. These chemicals are generally used along with other methods like bait traps or bait stations and are commonly used after traps have failed.
One of the most common methods for a rat or mice infestation is the use of traps. The downside is that traps can take several weeks to work. When setting live rat traps, bait that is enticing to rodents is used to lure them. Traps are then set in the places that rats or mice are sure to discover it. Depending on your home and where the rats or mice are nesting, this method requires patience to be successful.
- Tracking powder
Another method used for larger rat populations is tracking powders. These powders such as DITRAC are used by professionals. This method works by placing the powder so that it will stick to a rat’s or mouse’s paws and fur. Then when the rat or mouse grooms, they ingest the lethal powder.
When traps and tracking powders have failed, fumigation may be used as a last resort. During the fumigation process, the rat exterminator seals a structure with tent-like material. Once enclosed, the pest control special then pumps the home full of fumigant. Depending on the quality of the chemical used it could cause instantaneous death for both rats and mice. As you can imagine this technique can be hazardous and therefore a pest control professional is a necessity.
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Getting Rid of Rats in Texas Homes
Several types of rats can be found in the U.S. Different species have adapted to different climates and prefer specific native vegetation.
Here are the more common types of rats in Texas:
This is the most common rat type in Texas. The Norway Rat was one of the first rat species to arrive in the U.S. Even though its name disagrees, it’s believed the Norway rat originates from Asia.
This rat is known for creating burrows in the ground and is generally found amidst ground clutter like crates, pallets, and concrete slabs. They also love woodpiles, garbage, piles of debris, and materials that remain undisturbed.
It’s characterized by having a rounded snout, black, beady eyes, and small ears. Norway rats range in size from 7 to 9 and a half inches long, including their long thick hairless tail.
The roof rat is very similar to the Norway rat and therefore is easily mistaken. Their features are nearly identical. As their name describes, the roof rat likes to climb and tends to shelter in the upper parts of homes, including the roof or attic spaces. But really they’ll be found in almost any location that offers food.
They are social animals, which means that if you see a roof rat, it is not likely to be alone.
Roof rats have a round nose, small ears, and a thick tail with no hair, just like the Norway rat. One identifier is that the roof rat tail is much longer than the Norway rat. Some roof rats are as long as 16 inches long. Their color also varies from black to a mixture of brown and black with a gray-white or black underside.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is also true for dealing with rodents. Here are just a few things you can do to make sure your home is uninviting to rats and mice.
Cut their food source
Rodents are very adaptable animals. As long as they have food and water they can survive in almost every environment. So if rats or mice have inhabited your house it is because they can easily access food and water. It’s important to find and make sure to cut their food sources.
Close cabinets where you keep food. Store pantry items on shelves. Don’t leave food sitting out on the counter. Put away groceries right away and take out the garbage frequently. And don’t forget to properly store pet food. Leaving food out for pets may be convenient for Fido, but that’s an open diner sign for rats and mice.
Time to clean
It might be obvious, but keeping your house clean can help to keep rodents away. Even if your house is clean, there may be pockets of clutter that look very attractive to rats and mice. Clear away empty cardboard boxes, paper clutter, and piles of fabric. Rats and mice love to build their nests with these items. So if you store things in your attic or basement, it’s time to start thinking about alternative measures to clean your home. Storage units and plastic totes can help.
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Costly Damage Caused by Rats and Mice
Having a rodent infestation is not only an unwelcome problem, but it might surprise you just how much damage these little creatures cause. From literally eating through walls, leaving droppings everywhere, and carrying diseases – trust us, you want to get rid of rats and mice as soon as possible.
Here are just some of the damage rats and mice can cause in your home if you don’t call a pest control professional:
Visible structural damage is a true sign there is a rat infestation. These can occur inside or outside of the home.
- Rats love chewing on anything that they see as useful in building their nests. They are particularly attracted to wood, paper, cloth, books, and cardboard
- Mice and rats are nocturnal animals and are drawn to the darkest parts of your home. They will tunnel into pipes in order to get inside your house to find a cooler and darker place to stay.
- Once rodents are inside your house they will demolish just about anything that stands in their way. They’ve also been known to chew on electrical wires. This is not only extremely inconvenient but dangerous as well.
- Since rats are bigger they can do even more damage. Their large teeth allow them to gnaw on and into just about any chewable item. If they are determined they’ve been known to make their way through wood, plastic, and fabric.
Keep an eye on your food
- Rats and mice are not particularly choosy when it comes to food. They will feed on a vast array of stored food items, even pet foods.
- If a food item comes in a cardboard box or paper wrapping, they will likely chew the package to eat the remnants of food and then use the rest of the package to build their nest
- Even when they don’t directly eat certain food items they can still contaminate them with their hairs and droppings
- Rats eat about three grams per day but they destroy 10 times more food than they eat. Besides rat droppings, they nibble on packages and leave numerous partially eaten foods behind. Unfortunately, leaving all of it inedible and unfit for humans or pets
- Rats will even pick clean a fruit and vegetable garden. And what they won’t eat they will likely destroy and or contaminate what’s left behind
What To Do If You Have a Rat Infestation?
We hope that you recognize by now that a rat or mice infestation is a very serious issue. Every day that passes, more and more damage is being done to your home. The quicker you act, the better.
Unfortunately, not every pest problem is the same so there is not a universal solution to ridding your home of rodents. What worked for your neighbor, may not work for you. That’s where a professional rat exterminator comes in. Their specialized expertise will determine the best solution to help you get rid of rats and protect your family from damages and diseases.
So when should you call a rat exterminator? At the very first sign of rodents!
Look for droppings left behind in corners or behind furniture. If you see evidence of chew marks in boxes in the attic or basement, that’s a telltale sign of a rodent problem. Even scratching noises at night could be an indication that rats or mice are scurrying around in your walls.
Don’t take matters into your own hands. Poisons and traps can be dangerous to you and your family. A professional exterminator will inspect your home and determine the best course of action to take. A pest control specialist will be open to answering your questions and concerns to keep you and your family safe.
Contact a reputable pest control company that specializes in rats and mice. Choose an extermination company that is certified and qualified to eradicate pests in your home. Make sure that they are licensed and insured and hire qualified pest control specialists. Don’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to protecting your home and your family from destructive rats and mice.