Rodents cause damage due to several factors including their natural behaviours, biological traits, and environmental factors. Besides, rodents are extremely agile and flexible, hence, can be difficult to elimite. They are pests that require effective control measures to mitigate the damage they can cause. It is important to address a rodent infestation promptly and take preventive rodent control actions to minimise their impact on human health and safety, as well as the continuity of business.
In this article, Bingo Pest shares common signs of a rodent infestation and where to find them.
What are Rodents?
Rodents are a diverse group of mammals that are characterised by a set of specialised teeth. This includes a pair of continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws, which are used for gnawing and chewing on various materials. Some well-known examples of rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, porcupines, and chipmunks. Amongst them, rats and mice cause the most significant impact to our health and environment negatively.
Rats and mice are highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments, including urban areas in Singapore. They have the ability to exploit a wide range of food sources and exhibit diverse feeding habits. They can infest food and cause a variety of damage to the structural, electrical and landscape of our living environment.
Signs of a Rodent Infestation
Most rodent species are nocturnal creatures, meaning that they are primarily active during the night. While rodents are predominantly nocturnal, they may exhibit occasional activity during the day, particularly if food sources are scarce or environmental conditions require adaptation. For example, rodents may appear in the day to scavenge for food if an establishment only operates during night time.
There are several signs that can indicate the presence of rodents in and around your property. Being able to identify these signs can help you take appropriate measures for rodent control. Here are some common signs of rodents:
Sighting of rodent droppings is one of the most common signs of a rodent infestation. Rodent droppings can vary in size, shape and colour depending on the species of rodent. Generally, mouse droppings are about 0.3cm to 0.6cm in length, and have a cylindrical shape with pointed ends. Rat droppings are usually larger, about 0.6cm to 1.3cm inch in length, and have a more capsule-like shape.
The colour of rodent droppings depends on the diet of the rodents. In general, mouse droppings are dark brown or black, while rat droppings tend to be darker, often black. Fresh rodent droppings are usually moist and soft, but they dry out and harden over time, and become granular or pellet-like.
In addition, rodents poop consistently, hence, multiple droppings may be found cluttered together in a specific area, typically along their travel paths, near nesting areas, and close to food sources. Spotting more droppings may indicate a higher level of rodent infestation.
2. Gnaw marks
Rodents have incisor teeth that grow continuously. As part of their grooming and survival behaviour, they keep their teeth trimmed by gnawing on various materials. Did you know? Without gnawing activities, rodent teeth can become excessively long, leading to malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) or elongation. Overgrown teeth can cause discomfort, pain and difficulty in feeding, which can result in weight loss, malnutrition or even death. Identifying rodent gnaw marks can help confirm the presence of rodents and determine the extent of their activity.
Gnaw marks often appear as parallel grooves or indentations left by the rodents' teeth. Wooden structures, plastic pipes, electrical wiring, furniture and cardboard are common examples of materials that rodents gnaw on.
Rodent burrows are tunnels created underground, typically found on landscape areas including grass patches, gardens and lawns. These burrows serve various purposes, including offering shelter, protection from predators and extreme weather, nesting, raising their young and food storage. The complexity and extent of burrow systems can depend on factors such as the species of rodent, environmental conditions, and available resources including dried leaves or fabric. Burrows often have multiple openings to provide ventilation and alternative escape routes in case of danger. These escape routes enable rodents to quickly flee and avoid predators or other threats.
4. Smear marks
Rodent smear marks are dark, greasy, or dirty streaks left behind by the rodents' fur as they repeatedly brush against surfaces. The marks are often visible as smudges or streaks and can vary in size and length. They can be commonly found on routes they frequently travelled on especially along walls, baseboards, pipes, or other surfaces as they navigate through an area.
While smear marks alone may not indicate the extent of a rodent infestation, they can help confirm their presence and provide additional clues about their movement patterns.
5. Urine and odour
Rodents, like many other animals, use urine as a means of communication and scent marking. They mark their territories, paths, and nesting areas with their urine to communicate with other rodents and establish their presence.
Rodent’s urine has a distinctive, strong, and pungent odour. The smell can vary depending on the species of rodent and other factors such as their diet and hydration levels. Furthermore, their urine can leave visible stains on various surfaces. The stains are typically yellowish or brownish in colour and may appear as small droplets or larger puddles, depending on the amount of urine released.
In addition, rodent urine can carry bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that may pose health risks to humans. Therefore, it is important to handle rodent urine with caution to avoid exposure and potential transmission of diseases. It is recommended to use protective gloves and a mask before handling rodent urine and use appropriate cleaning agents such as bleach to disinfect the affected areas thoroughly.
6. Scratching and squeaking sound
When rats and mice move or dig through materials like walls, ceilings, or floors, their sharp claws can produce scratching sounds. These sounds may be more noticeable when rodents are most active.
Furthermore, rodents can emit high-pitched squeaking sounds as a form of communication. These sounds can serve various purposes, including signalling danger, expressing distress or discomfort, or communicating with other rodents.
If you hear scratching and squeaking sounds in your property, it is important to investigate the source. These sounds can be a sign of a rodent infestation, and prompt action should be taken to address the issue.
7. Nesting materials
Rodents use various materials to create their nests, which serve as sheltered and secure spaces for breeding, resting, and raising their young. They are opportunistic creatures and will use any materials available to them for their nesting activities. These materials include food packaging, boxes, fabric, shredded paper, plants and plastic.
8. Damaged wire, boxes or food packaging
Rodents can leave behind a variety of damaged items as they gnaw and search for food, nesting materials and harbourage areas. They may create holes, tears, or even completely remove portions of the packaging.
It is important to note that when rodents damage food packaging, it poses a significant risk of food contamination as they leave behind droppings, urine, saliva, or fur. Therefore, it is recommended to safely discard any food items that have been compromised by rodents by sealing them in a plastic bag and disposing of them in an outdoor trash bin to prevent any further cross contamination.
9. Live or dead rodent
Last but not least, spotting live rodents is the most obvious sign of their presence. If you see mice or rats during the day, it may indicate a significant infestation, since rodents are typically more active at night.
Read also: 8 things that pests are attracted to at home
Seek Professional Rodent Control to Get Rid of a Rodent Infestation
It's important to take immediate action as soon as you notice any signs of rodent activity in property. Implementing rodent control measures, such as sealing entry points, removing food sources, and employing traps or baits, can help address the infestation. If the infestation is severe or persistent, it is advisable to seek professional assistance from a pest control company to eliminate the rodent infestation.
At Bingo Pest, we offer a wide range of rodent control treatments and techniques to target the root cause of the rodent infestation. Speak to our experienced pest control specialists to find out more about rodent control in Singapore and discuss a plan that best suits your needs and requirements. Call us at 65179989.