Were you dreaming, or did you just hear a scratching sound in your attic or walls? Can you go back to sleep? Probably not.
And you might not have been dreaming.
Rodents don't mind having human neighbors (even though we're not such big fans of them): they're highly adaptable creatures and can make do with just about any living arrangement, and you have a great supply of food, water, and shelter in your home. That's all they're really looking for when they move in, and if anything gets in their way, they just chew through it! This includes electrical wires, which is only the beginning of the problems a rodent infestation can cause before you get rodent control:
Problem #1: There Are Rodents In Your House
Even without thinking about the problems we're going to talk about next, simply knowing there are rodents in your home is a big enough problem for most people. Hearing scratching or chattering in your walls or above your head is unsettling; it can be hard to sleep or focus on anything inside when you're always wondering if you'll hear another unusual noise or, worse, see a rat or a mouse scurry under the refrigerator or couch. But there's more:
Problem #2: Rodents Carry Diseases
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 11 diseases that are transmitted directly by rodents (and another 15 that are transmitted indirectly by these critters)—some of which can cause serious health complications like kidney failure. While some of these diseases are transmitted via rodent bites, others can spread by having contact with a dead rodent or rodent urine or feces, breathing dust that has been contaminated by urine or feces, or eating foods that have been contaminated by urine or feces.
Those rodents might have been living in a sewer before they upgraded to your house. They may also carry ticks and fleas into the home with them, which causes additional issues for both you and any pets you might have.
Problem #3: Rodents Cause Damage
To start with, they can cause structural damage to your home as they chew through wood, pipes, and insulation. Because of their fondness for electrical wiring, they can actually cause house fires by damaging wires within the walls or even out in plain sight. Since a rat's teeth continue to grow throughout its life, it has to keep chewing on things to keep the teeth at a manageable size, and your home has plenty of stuff to chew on.
Problem #4: Rodents Die
Wait. That sounds like a good thing, right? Sure, unless they happen to do it in your walls where you can't easily find them. Then you'll notice the unfortunate odor of a decaying rodent and you won't be able to pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. If they die in there before you even knew they lived in there, it might take you a long time to realize what is causing that terrible smell.
How Do You Know if There Are Rodents In Your House?
Rats and mice don't tend to keep themselves a secret for long:
You'll hear scratching in the attic or walls at night. (Unfortunately, you're not dreaming!)
You'll hear squeaking.
You'll see damage to wood or electrical wires.
You'll see rodent droppings.
You'll see a real live rodent, or maybe a dead one.
If you happen to have a pet, you might get some additional clues. Remember, your dog or cat hears and smells things you don't. Take note if they look at the wall or seem to be following something you can't see.
How to Get Rid of That Scratching Sound
Close your ears.
(Just kidding. That's not at all effective.)
If you already have rodents in your home, call us. Trying to poison them yourself can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets; furthermore, you might end up with a lot of dead rats in the wall—then what? With 31+ years of experience (and counting!), Cal-Cam Termite & Pest Control can safely and effectively get rid of your rodent problem.
But let's back up a minute. Let's see if we can avoid ever hearing that unsettling scratching sound in the first place.
We also offer rodent proofing services to help you avoid a rodent infestation. Mice and rats can squeeze through tiny holes—they can find access to your home via vents and any gaps you might have around piping or wiring, not to mention cracks around your windows and doors. The first step is thoroughly sealing any potential entry point. Keeping the rodents out is, of course, preferable to having to get rid of them, so this is a worthwhile process for your home and your business. You can also do your part with a few simple housekeeping tips:
Keep your garbage sealed (and remove it regularly).
Keep pet food in sealed containers. Put any uneaten pet food away.
Avoid collecting wood or newspapers in piles outside or in the garage. (These piles make great hiding and nesting places.)
Avoid creating rarely-disturbed piles of papers or clothing inside.
Watch for signs of mice and rats as mentioned above.
Why stay so diligent? Why not just wait until you hear that awful scratching or actually see a rodent so you know for sure they've taken up residence? Check out this fun and totally disturbing fact as told by Discover Magazine:
"...a pair of brown rats can produce as many as 2,000 descendants in a year if left to breed unchecked. (A rat matures sexually at age three to four months.) An average rat's life span is two to three years."
By the time you realize you have one rat, you might have...well, a lot more than one.
Rodent proofing is one of the most important aspects of your rodent control strategy: prevent them from entering your house in the first place. Call Cal-Cam Termite & Pest Control today for a free estimate and evaluation, and we'll help you create a plan to keep your home free from rodents and other unwanted pests.