Five Tips to Identify a Rat Infestation
The idea of having a large group of rats living in your home is frightening, and for good reasons. Rats and mice are responsible, both directly and indirectly, for spreading around thirty five diseases around the world. It is close to impossible to figure out how many rats are actually there in the United States, but it can range anywhere from two to tens of millions in New York alone. Keeping that in mind, it is crucial to be on the lookout for a rat infestation in your home, so that they can be prevented before they cause any harm. There is no need to worry though, since there are mainly five ways in which you can identify a rat infestation:
The best way to identify the presence of rats is to look for their droppings. As disgusting as it sounds, they are most commonly found in food storage areas, such as your kitchen cabinets, cupboards, pantry and so on. They can also be found in commonly unnoticed places such as under your kitchen sink, old boxes and so on. The droppings will likely be found altogether in a concentrated area as rats have the capacity to produce around forty droppings in a night. Though the last thing you probably want to do is look for rat droppings and worse, clean them up, it will let you know if you have to put your pest spray to use yet.
Rats like to scurry around your attic and basement more than anywhere at night and the sounds of their movements can be heard if there is actually an infestation. You can also hear them through your walls, through pipes. Rats keep moving their mouths in one way or the other most of the time, and the sounds that seem similar to grinding of teeth or gnawing can be taken as signs of the tiny creatures infesting your home.
Rats have incredibly strong teeth, which they can use to chew through food containers, wood, plastic and even lead. Some rats also cause damage by chewing at wires behind your walls and leading to risks of putting the house on fire. A report states that around twenty five percentage of unexplained cases of fire were started by rats, especially when they gnawed their way through gas lines, You can check around the house to see if there are gnaw marks on your belongings, especially on wires and cables. If it is a roof rat, you can check for gnaw marks on the roofs and eaves. Successful identification of gnaw marks inside the house is, in most cases, a clear sign that you have a rat infestation in your home.
A rat can’t see things like humans can; their eyesight is actually pretty weak. They tend to take the commonly used route to and from the food source in your home and their dwelling area. Since it is a regular path, there could be marks made by the dirty rats along the way. The marks will generally be dark and greyish in colour, and you might even be able to spot rat fur stuck to the matter. This happens due to frequent contact of the oil in the rat’s fur coat with the surfaces in your home as it scurries around. If the surface is dusty, you can even spot the footprints of the rats, as well as marks made by their tails in the dust. In case you want to test this out, you can sprinkle flour or talcum powder in areas where rat activity is suspected, just to make sure.
A single mouse or rat that you might find in your kitchen cabinet unexpectedly can cause you to scream or run in panic, but you might still be unsure if it actually is a sign of a complete infestation as such. The bad news is that a female rat can give birth to around six litters per year, with each containing twelve rat pups. A couple of rats alone can produce fifteen thousand descendants a year. At this alarming rate at which rats can multiply, spotting a rat in your home can indeed point towards an infestation and isn’t something to let go of lightly.
In case you clearly identify a rat infestation in your home, it is best to quickly take measures to prevent rats from entering your home anymore. The rats that have made your home their home should be kicked out immediately using suitable pest control methods.