Have you ever seen a rat at a pet store? If you have, you might find rats quite cute. Those pet store rats have a beautiful white, black, or brown-colored coats and cute little whiskers. And they look so clean. Well, that's because they are! Rats are relentless groomers. In fact, one of the ways you can tell that your pet rat isn't feeling well is when it stops its frequent grooming activities. But when rats and mice find their way into a home, they aren't likely to be as well groomed. Though wild rats do groom themselves as frequently as their domesticated cousins, they are also prone to hanging out in some seriously filthy places such as dumpsters, sewers, dead animal carcasses, etc. This makes them dirty, bacteria-ridden guests that you definitely don’t want in your Pittsburgh home!
 
When we think of dirty mice and rats, we usually link them to the transmission of diseases and the spread of harmful bacteria. And this is certainly true! Rodents definitely have the potential to make us become very ill. But their filthiness extends beyond their propensity for exposing themselves to decaying organic matter. Rodents also have the bad habit of leaving their waste in the areas where they sleep, which makes their nesting areas very unsanitary and can lead to urine-soaked timbers in your home. While this isn’t necessarily destructive, it is quite gross and it can cost quite a bit to clean these nest areas, especially if they are inside your wall, ceiling, or floor void.

Rodent Damage

When rodents invade a home, they can cause direct damage to the structure as well. Rats and mice are born with continually-growing incisors. In order to maintain them and prevent injury, their front teeth have to be filed down on a regular basis. To accomplish this, rats and mice chew on just about anything they can find. So, you can expect rodents to chew on many things inside your home. 

  • Rodents chew on insulation to gather materials for their nests. This can create gaps and holes for heat to escape.

  • A common material that rodents use for nest building is cardboard. If they find stored cardboard boxes, they can chew through them and damage the items inside.

  • There are many items that we put in storage that rodents can use for their nests, and clothing is on the top of the list. If you have a stored keepsake such as a wedding dress, it is best to put it in a hard plastic tote, especially if you suspect rodent activity.

  • Rodents use paper as a nesting material. If you have books in your home, especially in your attic or basement, they could be at risk.

  • If you have a couch or other piece of upholstered furniture stored in a storage room or attic space, you can expect rats and mice to chew their way inside and establish their nests inside.

  • Most rodents prefer to live as close to a food source as possible and will usually gnaw through sheetrock, wood, and other building materials in order to gain direct access. This also creates a pathway for other pests to get into your pantry or food-storage room.

  • Rodents love wall voids. As they travel through wall voids and chew holes to gain access to food or gnaw on insulation to make their nests, they sometimes chew on wires as well. This can present a serious fire hazard. And a house fire can do more damage in a couple of hours than rodents can do in several years!

  • Another way rodents can cause a house fire is by short-circuiting an appliance. And if rodents find their way into the voids within your kitchen appliances, they will. Rodents are always looking for hiding places.

  • Rodents can get inside the vehicles parked in your garage. When they do, they can burrow into the seats and create their nests. 

External Damage

Did you know that rodents can damage your home before they even get inside? If they find a point of vulnerability such as softened wood or a hole that can be made larger, they'll chew on it to gain access to your home. In the case of softened wood, the external moisture conditions that caused the wood to soften and decay could become internal moisture conditions with the help of rodents. This can lead to mold and other serious issues.

 What Can You Do About Rodents?

Need help controlling mice and rats in your home? Let Pittsburgh's oldest and most advanced pest management company help you! Click here to learn more.