How to Identify a Rodent Problem Before it Gets out of Hand

Views: 25688 | Last Update: 2009-04-30
To identify a rodent problem before it gets out of hand, look for chewed up fruit in the yard, identify signs of chewing on wires and wood, and listen for scurrying sounds at night. Keep rats from entering a house by closing up small holes and unused... View Video Transcript

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Jim Harmon

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jim Harmon, California Pest Management. We're here today, to talk a little bit about rat control, how to keep rodents out of your house, and recognize when you've got a problem, that's getting out of control. Well, first off, we need to evaluate the house, evaluate the building. What are they eating? Let's look at this one for example, on the outside. We have neglected orange trees, that the oranges are just rotting on the vine. They're all over the ground, right below these trees. This is a good example of food, just asking to be eaten by the rats, and you can always tell if an orange or other fruit has been eaten by a rat, because there will be a small hole, and then they start pulling in and scooping it out, and it will be hollowed out in the side. It's pretty neat, actually. Now, how to tell if you're having problems? Well, if you see a lot of those that are eaten up, you may have a bit of a problem. Now, one of the other areas that you have to worry about, is how are they getting in to my house? One of the things I always look at, is you look where the holes are, in your crawl spaces, where your pipes enter into the house, more than likely, you can see how this is wide open. That's asking for them to get underneath, and you'll hear pitter patter under, and don't forget, rats love to chew wires. In nature, they're going to be chewing on twigs, to grind down their teeth, because their teeth always grow, so we've supplied wires, which are very similar to twigs. Now, a lot of times, how rats will get into your house, is through unused doors, doors and openings in the outside, that you don't normally open, and get into, like your outside water heaters. If you have a built in closet like this one, or a water heater that has a closet built around it, on the outside of the house, those pipes go into the walls. They go into the attic, easy access for a rat to get in. You'll never know they're there. These things should be checked on a routine basis. One of the other ways rats will get into your house, is when you have plants, hanging plants, bushes that are growing up to the roof line, and especially any areas, where the roof overhang, two different pieces cover each other. That is an area where rats will get in. This is easy access. They're already in the bushes, they can pop right over. You'll see them a lot of times, crawling also on power lines, coming across on the back of the properties. They'll take the power lines, and then come right into the house. Now, one of the other areas that rats typically will get into a house, as I mentioned, is going to be in the eaves, where there's overhangs. If you look right up here, we've already screened this. This is a good example of an overhang, where rats were getting into the house, and causing all kinds of problems. Now, how do you know if the problem has gotten out of control, or if they're in the attic space? You'll hear them galloping back and forth, making all kinds of noise, especially when you turn lights on and off. You come into a room, and it's quiet. Rats are active typically, from dusk until dawn, so that's the time to be listening, and you'll hear very faint scratching, and that's typically where you'll start hearing that above you, and you may start hearing wiring shorts. You name it, theres' a lot of potential problems that rats can cause. If we do see that we've got a problem with rodents, make sure you choose the appropriate materials for the job. There's a lot of stuff out there. Make sure you use the right materials, and use the right attracting bait. Cheese, you don't want to use. Peanut butter is a very good product, because the animal has to get up, and get on the glue board, and has a lot of odor, but if you're going to use something on a snap trap, for mice or for rats, make sure you use something like bacon, or nut meat, that you can shove underneath the trigger, and they have to pull on and gnaw on it, to get it out, that way it sets it off. Peanut butter, they might lick off the peanut butter, and it will never set off. Another type of trap you can buy over the counter, especially if you have kids or pets, for mice is called a Tin Cat. This trap has a teeter totter mechanism in it. It allows a mouse to go inside through the holes, and he gets tipped into the holding pen, and they stay there, until you come and rescue them, and if you really don't want to hurt the mice, this is the best way to go. If you can take them outside, take them along ways away mind you, probably the in-laws house, and then let them go there. Good luck.