Rodents come in many shapes and sizes. Field mice, chipmunks, and voles are tiny rodents. Rats and squirrels are mid-sized rodents. Gophers are large rodents. And beavers are even larger. Fortunately, we don't see many beaver infestations in our neck of the woods. There is an amazing variety of rodents in Birmingham, but when we talk about rodent control, the kinds of rodents we are referring to are rats and mice. They are unique. Let's take a look at why rats and mice stand out from the rest of the rodents in our area, the problems they create, how to prevent a rodent problem, and what works best to control rodents. If you'd like to speak to a pest professional about rodent pest control in Birmingham rather than read an article on the topic, remember that we're always available to answer your questions. Jump to our contact page and connect with us.
The Types Of Rodents That Commonly Invade Birmingham Homes
There are basically three types of rodents. They are house rodents, occasional house rodents, and yard rodents. It is helpful to know what you're dealing with in your home or yard because they require different control strategies.
House Rodents: There are only two rodent pests that get into homes and stay permanently. What we mean by permanently is that these rodents don't need to go back outside to get food and water. The two pests that are able to do this are house mice and house rats. House mice, also referred to as field mice, are gray with a white underbelly. House rats, also referred to as roof rats, are black.
Occasional House Rodents: Some rodents get into your home but are more likely to live in your yard. They are Norway rats, squirrels, and chipmunks. Norway rats are brown. They prefer to live in ground burrows, but sometimes they infest structures and create a population indoors. Squirrels are gray with furry tails. They get into attic spaces but go outside to get food. Chipmunks rarely invade homes but will sometimes get into crawl spaces.
Yard Rodents: These rodents never infest homes, but they are frustrating lawn pests. Gophers damage grass and vegetation. Voles damage grass and chew the bark off trees.
The worst kind of rodent to have in your home is one that stays permanently and feeds on the food resources in your home. Rats and mice do things in your home that present a threat to your health and property. Let's look at a few reasons why you'll want to get rid of these rodent pests.
All The Problems Rodents Can Create In Your House
When you have rodents in your attic, that's bad. When you have rodents exploring every floor of your home, that's worse. A rodent that stays in your attic spaces won't contaminate your food. So it is much better to have a squirrel up there. If you have roof rats, Norway rats, or mice, they're likely to climb down through your walls to get to your kitchen and pantry. Let's begin by looking at why that is not good for your health.
- Rodents explore unsanitary environments, such as trash cans and sewers. They also sleep in their own waste. When they get into stored foods, they contaminate them with bacteria.
- When rodents get into your kitchen, pantry, or storage rooms, they can leave ticks and fleas. These bugs are vectors for human pathogens such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, and bartonellosis.
- When rodents work their way down through your wall voids, they are prone to chew on wires. A cut wire can spark a flame.
- In your attic space, rodents will create nests. They often use materials inside homes to establish these nests. They'll rip up insulation, tear up wallpaper, rip clothing, shred cardboard, and pull the stuffing out of the cushions of stored furniture.
- As rodents move about in your attic, they'll leave droppings and urine, presenting a disease concern.
It is often the bumping and thumping noises rats and mice make that cause people to call a professional, but rodents can live in your home without creating any detectable noises. If they do this, they can impact your health and damage your property without you realizing it.
How To Make Your Property Less Inviting To Rodents
You have many options for keeping rodents out of your home. The first is to put out the unwelcome mat. Let rats and mice know that you don't want them around your exterior. There are a few ways you can go about doing this. Some may surprise you.
- Pick up stuff in your yard. It is not commonly understood that rats and mice use ground objects to navigate, and these objects are often the first reason why rodents enter yards. Rats and mice have poor vision. They have to use their other senses and will navigate in utter darkness using their whiskers to feel their way. If you don't have objects in your yard, that large open space will feel daunting to a rodent.
- Pick up junk. Along with removing objects that rats and mice use for navigation, it is good to remove anything rats or mice can hide under. Norway rats are particularly fond of establishing ground burrows underneath junk piles or pallets of stored objects.
- Clean your trash receptacles. Rats and mice use their noses to help them navigate. They can't see that you have trash cans and that they might find a meal inside. They detect your trash by smelling it from a distance. That smell may provide an incentive for a rodent to enter your large open yard to get to the smell.
- Protect voids underneath structures. When rats and mice come near your home, they will look for places to hide. They'll get underneath your back deck, stairs, shed, or some other structure. If you apply hardware cloth, you keep rodents from using these hiding places.
- Pick up nuts underneath trees. All rodents eat nuts. If you have a tree that produces acorns, do your best to stay on top of raking them up. Along with this, consider refraining from feeding the squirrels. When you feed squirrels, you invite rats and mice in your yard.
- Pick up fruit underneath trees. Rats and mice love fruit and are more likely to eat fruit that is on the ground because it is easy to reach and is ripe and sweet to them.
- Remove bird feeders if you don't mind doing so. All rodents love seeds. Mice live on a strong diet of seeds. If you don't want to remove your feeders, consider hanging them on a tree in your yard, away from your exterior.
- Clear out your gutters and make repairs. A working gutter system is essential for the health of your home. It is also helpful for keeping rodents away from your home. When water spills over or leaks out, it saturates the ground and allows puddles to form. Those puddles provide drinking water for rodents.
Rodents don't choose every property equally. They have preferences. If you make your yard less preferred, they may avoid entering your yard and exploring your exterior. That can help you prevent a rodent infestation inside your home. If rats or mice are persistent, more control is needed. Some residents turn to traps and bait to solve their problems. These often fall short or make rodent problems worse because they require specialized knowledge. Rats and mice are domestic rodents. They have been living in close proximity to humans for centuries. If they were easy to trap and eliminate, they would almost certainly be extinct. So, what can you do about rodent pests? We have an idea.
Professional Rodent Control For Birmingham Residents
When you need a rodent control solution, it pays to hire a professional with the training and experience to get the results you want. Not only is rodent control a chore, there are many ways things can go in an unexpected direction. One of the worst outcomes of DIY rodent control is that rodents remain in a structure and residents have no idea that they still have a problem. A home pest control professional may do some or all of the following:
- Inspect your property, catalog conducive conditions, track the rodents, and consider entry points.
- Share the finding of the inspection with you and offer rodent control options that meet your specific needs.
- Apply appropriate products to remove the rodents and evaluate the success of the rodent control program and achieve the desired results.
- Institute a multi-pronged and complete solution that includes rodent-proofing and other critical measures to fully eliminate and exclude rodents.
- Follow-up to make sure no rodents remain in the structure.
- Provide advice or services to help you prevent future rodent infestations after the rodents are gone.
- Deploy tamper-resistant bait stations to capture rodents and reduce rodent populations around your exterior.
Do you live in Birmingham? If so, consider contacting Harvard Pest Control for assistance with rodents. We can help you remediate a current problem or provide you with proactive rodent protection if you do not have a rodent infestation yet. Navigate to our contact page and reach out to us. We're here to help.