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How Mice & Rats Invade Area Homes

Identifying A Rodent Problem

If you are seeing signs that mice or rats have invaded your Pennsylvania home or worse, have seen the rodents themselves inside your home, then you may be scratching your head as to how they are getting in. In today's article, we are going to take a look at some of the common ways rats and mice find their way into our homes, why it is a bad idea to let them stay, and some ways to prevent them from coming in.

a rat emerging from the exterior of a home in pennsylvania

Rodent Identification

Although there are several types of rodents that can plague homeowners such as squirrels, moles, voles, and gophers, the most common rodents that invade our homes are mice and rats.

House Mice

These tiny rodents have pointed noses, large ears, and small, black, slightly-protruding eyes. They are typically grayish-brown with a gray or buff-colored underside. House mice typically measure around 7.5 inches from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail.

Norway Rats

These rats look quite similar to mice, only they are larger and more robust. Norway rats, also called common rats, street rats, water rats, and wharf rats, are rather large home-invading rodents. These rats have grayish or brownish colored coarse fur and long, sparsely-haired, scaly tails. Norway rats grow to be around 18 inches long from their nose to the end of their tail.

How Rodents Get Into Pennsylvania Homes

The most common things that attract rats and mice to our homes are sources of food and water, and hiding places. And once rodents are drawn in due to the food, water, and hiding places, they will begin to explore the outside of your home further, especially as temperatures begin to drop. If they find the following, they may be able to get inside and find their way into wall voids, attic areas, basements, and living spaces.

  • Holes, gaps, and cracks. A mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime. A slightly larger hole will also allow for small rats to squeeze in. Areas around pipes, wires, and other objects that pass through walls are especially susceptible to developing gaps around them.

  • Open cellar windows. Any kind of pest will take advantage of this opportunity.

  • Open doors. Again, this is an open invitation to all types of pests.

  • Damaged screens. This is especially true of screens on cellar windows.

Why Rodents Inside Homes Are Harmful

Once they have invaded your home, rodents can be harmful in a multitude of ways; here are several problems these pests will create:

  • Rodents chew: When mice and rats get into homes, they chew on walls, stored items, plastic, sheetrock, metal, and even the wiring inside walls.

  • Rodents spread illness: Mice and rats can carry a variety of harmful microorganisms and bacteria from trash cans, dumpsters, dead animals, and other unsanitary locations into kitchen and pantry areas, introducing sicknesses that often mimic the flu.

  • Rodents are carriers of diseases: Rats and mice are linked to several illnesses including salmonellosis, leptospirosis, Lassa fever, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), hemorrhagic fever, tularemia, and more.

  • Rodents carry parasites: A few of the parasites mice and rats are known to carry include mites, lice, ticks, and fleas. These secondary pests each come with their own list of issues and dangers, particularly ticks.

Rodent Prevention Tips

If you would rather not have to deal with rodents in your home this fall and winter, consider the following prevention tips:

  • Make sure all leaf litter and other debris is raked up and removed from your property. In addition, remove any unnecessary items where pests could hide.

  • Remove food and water sources from around your property and near your home.

  • Trim back any vegetation from around the perimeter of your foundation so that rodents cannot hide close to your walls.

  • Examine the outside of your foundation and walls for gaps, cracks, or holes. Seal up any entry points you find.

Why Professional Rodent Control Is Essential 

Mice and rats will always be a problem for homeowners, no matter what time of year it is. However, the fall is a particularly challenging season for dealing with these rodents since many pests are trying to find sufficient food and shelter to spend the cold winter months, mice and rats included.

Removing a rodent infestation can be dangerous as they are wild animals and will bite or scratch if they feel threatened. And even cleaning up rodent urine and feces can be harmful as disturbing them could cause harmful pathogens and diseases to become airborne. If you need help sealing up your home for the cold season or if you already have rodents inside your home and need them removed, consider professional pest control services for your home. Don't take chances with your health and home; contact Moyer and schedule a residential pest control plan today!

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