On any given day you most likely don’t think about what is behind the walls of your NYC home, but sometimes a sound will make you wonder if something lives back there. No one wants to have to deal with rats, but the reality is that they sometimes do find their way into a home and need to be removed. Here are answers to some common questions about rodent and pest control.
What’s the Difference Between Rats and Mice?
While neither rats nor mice are welcome in a home, there are differences that you should understand. Mice typically are small, around 6 ounces, and are light brown. Rats are twice the size of mice, around 11 to 12 ounces, and have a heavy, thick body. Mouse droppings are shaped like rods, while rat droppings are like capsules.
Mice are nocturnal and build a nest near a food source, so you can hear them scurrying at night. Rats are also nocturnal and will eat any kind of food. Rats can dig and burrow and swim, and often live in burrows under buildings.
Where Do Rats Nest?
Rats make their nest near someplace that will keep them warm. They seek shelter from the rain and cold, which is why they tend to enter a home during the fall and winter. Seeking easy access to food, rats will eat most anything in the pantry and any meat scraps. This is why they can often be found around dumpsters, as they are opportunistic feeders. To build their nests, rats will use any soft material available, including paper towels, old clothes, and grass. If the nest is inside of a home, it is most likely behind the walls or in the attic.
How Do Rats Enter Homes?
There are a number of ways that rats can enter a home. They can get through a hole as small as a half inch, and some have been known through pipes to enter through a toilet. Cracks in the foundation of the home can allow access. They can even chew through a wall to get to a food source.
Do Rats Cause Health Problems?
Because of the ticks and fleas that rats carry, there are many health and disease risks from rats. These include Lyme disease, salmonella, and other diseases. This risk can be especially dangerous to young children and older adults with weakened immune systems.
How Can You Prevent Rats?
To discourage rats from making their homes in your home, there are specific steps you can take. Get rid of any vegetation that is near the house, including trimming tree branches that might provide access to the roof. Remove any trash, paper, and old construction materials that may be on the property. Keep garbage in tight cans, and seal any pet food into a tight container. You want to limit these opportunistic feeders’ access to any type of food. Also patch up any cracks that may provide access into the home.
Unfortunately, rodents are part of life and removing them is difficult for homeowners to do on their own. For effective pest control, the best solution is to contact a professional exterminator to inspect your home and come up with a plan for removal.