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Jamaica Health Tips Blog

April 2012

Ever wonder if you are sharing your home with rodents?

Rats are one of themost famous rodents known to man; their skilful and unique characteristics makethem even harder to control. Nevertheless rodents are prolific poopers, hencethis makes it quiet easy to identify an infestation. The signs of rodentinfestation will indicate four things;
 
1.      Species ( Norway Rat, Roof Rat and House Mouse.)
 
2.      Currency of infestation
 
3.      Level of infestation
 
4.      Location
 
 
Here aresome signs of rodent infestation
 
  • Droppings – are usually soft and shiny when fresh, but they become crumbly and matt black or grey in colour after 2-3 days. They are sometimes left behind in pantries, in stove ovens cupboards, drawers, bins, and anywhere else they think they might find food, or where they scurry to avoid predators. It's also not uncommon to see droppings along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, near nests, and in boxes, bags, old furniture, and other objects. The state of the droppings can tell whether or not the rats and mice might still be around.
 
  • Noises – rustling, squeaking noise are what you will hear when rodents are around. Noises are often more apparent at night as you're going to bed and they're waking up.
 
  • Urine pools or trails. Rodents are notorious for having weak bladders, and they'll dribble all over the place. House mice sometimes make things called "urinating pillars," which are small mounds consisting of grease, dirt, and yes, urine. Sometimes you'll see tiny drops of urine leading to a mound.
 
  • Odor – When rats are present they emit a particular characteristic odor. This type of odor is characteristically musty.
 
  • Nests/Burrows - rodents build nests from soft, fuzzy, or warm materials, such as fabric, furniture stuffing, quilt batting, shredded paper, grass, and twigs, and will typically stuff them into sheltered, out-of-the-way places like boxes, cabinets and closets, walls, even the subspace between ceilings and floors. Other possible mouse nest sites include dressers, behind and inside appliances, and machinery, even computer cases -- basically, anywhere it's cozy and warm. Look for newly excavated dirt. Tunnels are usually 12 to 18 inches deep and several feet long.
 
  • Grease marks. Mice can wedge through openings as small as a quarter of an inch in size. As they do, they often leave greasy smears — caused by oil and dirt in their coats — behind. The marks left by mice are fainter than those left by rats. If you find large greasy smears, you should suspect a rat infestation instead.
 
  • Gnaw marks - gnawing is a defining characteristic of all rodents. They do it to keep their incisor teeth, which grow continually, in check. Wood is a favorite,but they'll pretty much chew on whatever suits them. This includes electrical wire, which, as noted in Electrical fires, makes them a leading cause of structural fires. On wood, newer gnaws are light colored. They turn darker with age. Sometimes you won't see gnaw marks, but you'll see what looks like fine wood chips or coarse sawdust, especially along baseboards, door and window frames, and cabinets. Gnawing is use to limit tooth growth in rodent.
 
  • Holes in food packaging. Rodents will nibble into anything they can smell, including boxes and bags of pasta, rice, beans, and grain products. Dog food bags are also prime-time rodent magnets, and especially so for rats, who like the meaty smell as much as canines do. Another popular nibble, although not a food product: soap
.
  • Live and Dead Rats – One rat seen in the daytime represents nine unseen. In addition if you see rats scampering around during the daytime it means that there is a large infestation and that there is high completion for food and space because there are so many of them. A dead rat concerns of an infestation or a disease 9plague) which may decimating the population.
 
  • Tracks. Look for footprints or tail marks in dusty spots. The type of track and tail marks can tell you what kind of rodent you're battling. Mice have the smallest feet, measuring 3/8 inch or less. Rat tracks average between 3/4 to 1 inch. Rats also drag their tails, which leaves a mark between their feet tracks. If tracks are hard to spot, shining a flashlight across a suspicious area can help illuminate them.
Do you currently have rat problems in your home?
Some information sourced from www.life.familyeducation.com