How Rodents Break into North Carolina Homes

If you've caught a rodent scurrying across the floor and disappearing under something in your home, you probably have questions. Many of those questions are likely to be related to how you can get rid of it. But, if you've never had the displeasure of having a rodent infestation or you need some tips on how to exclude rodents once they've been completely eliminated from your home, you've come to the right article.

mouse hiding in basement
rat in bathroom

When it comes to rodent infestation, there are many factors to consider:

  • Why rodents come into your yard.
  • Why rodents explore your foundation perimeter.
  • Why rodents get in.

If there were no rodents in your yard, you would never have to worry about an infestation. Makes sense, right? So why do those rodents come into your yard?

  • Rodents may enter a yard because it feels like nature. Grass that has not been trimmed, bushes that are overgrown, weeds that fill in empty spaces. All of these make a rodent feel at home. Keep things neat and trimmed to resist rodents.
  • Rodents are skittish. Because of this, they will pick yards that have objects they can hide in or under. Remove clutter to make your yard less interesting.
  • Sometimes rodents come into your yard because they are driven in. New construction sites can drive them out of nature and into a neighborhood. Unfavorable conditions in your neighbor's yard can drive them into your yard. Flooding and other challenging weather conditions can drive them out of their holes and into your yard. You can't do much about these factors but being aware of them will help you take extra precautions when it is appropriate. It is also important to consider that cold weather and other bad weather conditions can drive them into your home.

The spots that rodents choose to break in through are usually in areas near your home that they prefer to explore. Here are a few examples:

  • Spots around your home that are hard to get into will be the perfect places for rodents to explore such as under your deck, patio, or porch.
  • Dense landscaping near your foundation wall provides great cover.
  • Underneath or behind stairs is nice and secluded.
  • Roof-soffit intersections give protection from flying predators.

As rodents explore in the ideal locations around and on top of your home, they will find ways in. Mice will typically get into your home from a low location. Norway rats prefer low locations as well. Roof rats, as their name implies, are more likely to get in through high locations. Here are some ways rodents get in. Keep in mind that high locations are entry points used by roof rats.

  • Cracks in your foundation.
  • Gaps around the outside of your window frames, particularly windows in your foundation wall.
  • Broken screens on windows or doors. Once inside, if it is secluded enough or the rodent has the cover of darkness long enough, it will chew through the window frame to gain access to the voids within.
  • Gaps around doors, particularly below-ground-level doors. If damaged weather stripping or door sweeps provide a gap the size of a dime, most mice can squeeze right in. If they provide a gap the size of a quarter, most rats can squeeze in. If a gap isn't quite big enough, rodents are more than capable of making those gaps bigger.
  • Flimsy aluminum soffits can easily be chewed through. These give access to the roof trough and the voids beyond.
  • Gaskets around exhaust pipes. Rubber isn't much of a barrier for a determined rat.
  • Vent covers that are made from plastic.

Some of these entry points can be protected by doing routine inspections and sealing any holes, gaps, or cracks as they develop. Some can be protected by adding stronger building materials.

If you consider and apply measures to make your home less of a target for rodents, you may be able to keep them from getting into your home. Rodents don't know how wonderful it is inside your home until they get in. But, when rodent pressures are high, more control will be necessary. When this is the case, an ongoing rodent control program is the best way to go.
 
Rodents are a serious health threat for a family and they are destructive guests when they get into a home. If you suspect that your efforts to keep them out are falling short, consider investing in a residential pest control plan that has a rodent control program included. No home should be without a pest control plan, especially one that tracks and remove rodents "before" they get in. Contact us today for more information. 

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    [content] => <p>Rats. Rats. Rats! Let&rsquo;s be honest, rats are pretty gnarly creatures. We&rsquo;ll admit that there&rsquo;s some charm in the pet rat, but that isn&rsquo;t what we&rsquo;re talking about here. What we&rsquo;re talking about is something wilder, bigger, and more spine-tingling to see shooting across your basement floor. What we&rsquo;re talking about is Norway Rats. Wait, what the heck is a Norway Rat?!? Let&rsquo;s find out.&nbsp;</p>

<h3 style="text-align: center;"><br>What is a Norway Rat?&nbsp;</h3>

<p><br>Norway Rats- also known as brown rats- are big. Like, seriously big. These mammoth rodents measure in at about 16 inches long from nose to tail. Despite their name, these beasts tragically aren&rsquo;t native to just Norway; no, these fiends are on every single continent (minus Antarctica), and North Carolina is not exempt. In the good old days, they used to live mostly in forests, living in infamy and spoken about in hushed tones like Bigfoot and the Chupacabra. But no longer. Today you&rsquo;ll find these creatures living basically anywhere you&rsquo;ll find humans, and they can mean trouble for your home.&nbsp;</p>

<h3 style="text-align: center;"><br>Why are Norway Rats a Problem?&nbsp;</h3>

<p><br>Well first of all, look at these things:&nbsp;</p>

<p><br><img alt="Norway rat eating food" height="394" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Rattus_norvegicus_-_Brown_rat_01.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>

<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rattus_norvegicus_-_Brown_rat_01.jpg">Brown Rat</a>" by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Zcebeci">Zeynel Cebeci</a> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)</em></p>

<p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>Do you want this thing sneaking around your house? We didn&rsquo;t think so. But seriously, like any other rats, Norway Rats can cause problems that are relatively minor to pretty major. Like what?&nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li><a href="https://bpca.org.uk/Pest-Aware/brown-rat-control-how-to-get-rid-of-brown-rats-bpca-a-z-of-pests/189176#:~:text=Brown%20Rats%20carry%20many%20nasty,Listeria%2C%20Toxoplasma%20gondii%20and%20Hantavirus.">They can spread diseases to humans</a> including; Leptospirosis or Weil's disease, Salmonella, Listeria, Toxoplasma gondii and Hantavirus.</li>

<li>They have been known to cause electrical fires, floods, and even gas leaks because of their relentless gnawing, which can cause punctured pipes, uninsulated wiring, and chewed-through gas pipes.</li>

<li>These rats can cause additional structural damage to infrastructure, objects, and property, chewing through drywall, gnawing on everything from books to furniture, and burrowing underneath decks, foundations, and sheds.</li>

</ul>

<p>To top it off, Norway Rats are prolific at reproducing: a mother rat can have anywhere between 18 and 96 babies each year. Yikes.&nbsp;</p>

<h3 style="text-align: center;"><br>Signs of Norway Rats</h3>

<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Baby brown rat" height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/rat-1520336_640.jpg" width="550"></p>

<p><br>It might seem super apparent what the signs of a Norway Rat would be, considering their size. See rat and run in the other direction, right? Well as it so happens, rats are actually exceptional shy, skittish creatures -- apparently, they don&rsquo;t know their own size. So how else can you spot signs of these bulbous brutes? There are a few telltale indicators:&nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li>Gnaw marks throughout your house</li>

<li>Finding capsule-shaped droppings with blunt ends</li>

<li>Greasy and/or dark rub marks against walls, doorways, or any other passageways</li>

<li>Burrow holes near decks, foundations, and sheds</li>

<li>Damaged or half-eaten food</li>

</ul>

<h3 style="text-align: center;">Preventing Norway Rats</h3>

<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Brown rat " height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/brown-rat-2115585_640.jpg" width="550"></p>

<p><br>We&rsquo;re guessing the disease, house fires, and poop were enough to want to prevent these repulsive rodents, and luckily there are a few things that you can do to shift the odds in your favor:</p>

<ul>

<li>Seal gaps or holes around pipes, foundations, sheds, and decks. Rats only need about 15mm of space to squeeze their way in, so be thorough.</li>

<li>Keep your yard free of overgrowth and wood/debris piles -- these can act as nesting sites.</li>

<li>Cover up your waste, both indoor and outdoor. Rats have no problem doing a little dumpster diving, and that leftover pizza from the game on</li>

<li>Sunday (after the Panthers lost AGAIN) makes a great Norway Rat dinner.</li>

<li>Place tight-fitting caps on your home&rsquo;s chimneys, make sure vent covers are secure, and repair holes found along the roofline.</li>

<li>Trim tree branches away from the roof so that they cannot provide a bridge to the structure.</li>

</ul>

<h3 style="text-align: center;">Getting Rid of Norway Rats</h3>

<p><br>Ok, so you did all that. Never have to worry about a bunch of whacked-out Norway Rats skittering around your home and property again, right? NOPE. Rats are persistent, and if you miss just one little hole or gap, just once forget to cover up your trash, or put off the tree branch trimming, you could easily find yourself with an infestation. But don&rsquo;t worry! A-1 Pest Control can help. <a href="/rodent-control">We&rsquo;ve got rodent control covered</a>, whether you have a Norway Rat problem like, right this second, or if you just want a hand making sure prevention is done right. Whatever problem you&rsquo;re having, <a href="/contact-us#schedule">let&rsquo;s talk</a> and figure out what we can do to fix it!</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
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Rats. Rats. Rats! Let’s be honest, rats are pretty gnarly creatures. We’ll admit that there’s some charm in the pet rat, but that isn’t what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking…

Read More

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    [openingParagraph] => <p>Pest control: it seems like a relatively new invention, especially considering how it&rsquo;s done in the <a href="/home-pest-control">modern day</a>. There&rsquo;s a steady stream of new technologies and new treatment methods that are seemingly always evolving which have kept the industry planted in the now. When you think of pest control, what comes to the top of your mind is probably new pesticides, heat treatments, and traps that have been specifically designed to tackle particular types of infestations.</p>
    [content] => <p>But the truth is, pest control isn&rsquo;t just a modern invention, even though today&rsquo;s iteration is certainly rooted in modern sensibilities. Pest control has actually been around for nearly as long as human civilization! It makes a lot of sense &mdash; pests, after all, have existed as long as people have &mdash; so it&rsquo;s natural that humans through the ages have been looking for ways to combat them.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>Here&rsquo;s how they did it in the olden days.</p>

<h2><br>Pest Control in Ancient Egypt</h2>

<p><br>Controlling invasive pests has been an especially important part of the maintenance of civilization since the birth of agriculture. When dependence on crop farming became integral in the way people ate, the importance of having methods for protecting those crops against pests became incredibly important, and directly linked to the survival of entire cultures. This is something that the famously innovative Ancient Egyptians knew, and they are the earliest recorded civilization to use pest control, starting in around 3000 BC.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>Remember, this was well before the discovery of pesticides &mdash; the Ancient Sumerians wouldn't start using the earliest pesticides until about 500 years later, in 2500 BC. But the Egyptians worked with what they had, and what they had was a wealth of domesticated animals that could be utilized as a fleet of pest hunters.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>The Egyptians famously viewed cats as magical creatures, but felines also had some practical utilization outside of ancient mysticism: being natural rodent hunters, cats would guard grain stores from rodent invaders who could eat and poison food sources. Ancient Egyptians even dabbled in some rudimentary home pest control, domesticating mongooses and using them to take care of <a href="/rodent-control">invasive rodents</a> and snakes that had made their way into homes.&nbsp;</p>

<h2><br>Pest Control in Ancient Sumer&nbsp;</h2>

<p>The Ancient Sumerians were the earliest recorded civilization to reside in Southern Mesopotamia, and among their almost innumerable innovations was the invention most relevant to us: the earliest recorded use of a pesticide. Being a highly agrarian society, the Sumerians were looking for ways to drive away crop-eating pests. Unlike the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Sumerians did not use domesticated animals to protect their crops. They instead used a sulfur compound, an element that they discovered was effective at warding away many crop-eating insects. It was effective enough that it is still used today--even in our own products!</p>

<h2><br>Pest Control in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome&nbsp;</h2>

<p><br>The Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans are two of the most talked-about ancient civilizations, in part because so much of what they did was well-documented by historians and writers of the time. This has allowed for many of their pest control methods to be relatively easy to access today.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>Some of these practices were just not effective&mdash; but they are interesting. As <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1975/12/01/archives/ancient-farmers-knew-pesticides-methods-used-2000-years-ago.html">The New York Times noted in a 1975 article</a>, Greek writers recommended using a crayfish to ward off caterpillars, soaking seeds in olive oil before planting them, and praying to the gods for a blessed harvest &mdash; a practice common in basically all ancient cultures.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>While there were more bizarre pest control practices, the Ancient Greeks and Romans actually used quite a few methods that became the standard practice for centuries afterward. It was in Ancient Rome that the use of amurca &mdash; a substance made out of crushed olives and salt &mdash; began, because of its ability to kill crop-eating ants. Amurca would become a staple baseline ingredient of many pesticides moving forward.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>The Ancient Greeks would also spread wood ash on crop fields, because it was a good pest repellent &mdash; another method that some gardeners still use. They also discovered the value of using smoke to deter insects, which you may have noticed yourself in the summertime. When the mosquitos are out, it usually helps to get a little closer to the campfire.&nbsp;</p>

<h2><br>The Blueprint For the Future&nbsp;</h2>

<p><br>There&rsquo;s no doubt that all of these different cultures and civilizations from thousands of years ago are pretty much the forefathers of pest control. These early discoveries and methods not only contributed to the growth and survival of the human race, but also became the blueprint for the model and method of pest control that would follow in the centuries to come, and even forming the bedrock of what pest control is today.</p>

<p><br>While many of these initial methods were quite different &mdash; and sometimes silly! &mdash; when compared to the science and technology-driven treatments that we deploy here at A-1 Pest Control, the purpose is similar: using the best and most modern tools at our disposal to find ways to turn pest problems into pest solutions. We&rsquo;re proud to carry on this tradition.&nbsp;</p>

<p><br>Want to learn about pest treatment that&rsquo;s a little more modern? Check out our blog, &ldquo;<a href="/blog/post/the-bedbug-problem">The Bed Bug Problem</a>&rdquo;!</p>
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Attempts to control pest populations is nearly as old as civilization itself. We educate readers on how some ancient civilizations dealt with pests.

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    [openingParagraph] => <p>Three of the most common perpetrators are Raccoons, Squirrels, and Bats - and while these animals may seem cute and cuddly from afar (yes, even bats), when they&rsquo;re causing damage and making a mess in your home, you soon discover that they can quickly become the kind of nuisance that can ruin the nice weather and make your October stressful.&nbsp;</p>
    [content] => <p>October in North Carolina means that temperature finally starts to cool down to a more manageable level; it also means that specific wildlife become much more active in their attempts to get into your house. <a href="/pest-library/profile/wildlife">W​hich wildlife​</a>, you ask? Three of the most common perpetrators are Raccoons, Squirrels, and Bats - and while these animals may seem cute and cuddly from afar (yes, even bats), when they&rsquo;re causing damage and making a mess in your home, you soon discover that they can quickly become the kind of nuisance that can ruin the nice weather and make your October stressful.&nbsp;</p>

<p>That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re here: to give you information that will act as your first line of defense. Knowing how to protect your home from an infestation OR how to identify an existing one is the first step to keeping a critter-free home through October and beyond!&nbsp;</p>

<h4>Raccoons&nbsp;</h4>

<p><em><strong>What do Raccoons Look Like?&nbsp;</strong></em></p>

<p>Despite the rumors, raccoons are not rodents, but are their own type of carnivore altogether (known as procyonids, if you were curious!). Fully grown raccoons are about the size of a housecat; they measure at between 2 to 3 feet in length, and can weigh anywhere between 10 and 30 pounds. They have bushy tails that measure between 8 and 16 inches long, and fur that is a &ldquo;salt and pepper&rdquo; color. They are also well known for the black &ldquo;mask&rdquo; of fur that covers the area around their eyes - which has given them a reputation for being sneaky. While they typically walk on all 4 legs, they sometimes are also bipedal when they are carrying things.&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong><em>What are Signs of Raccoons?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>Despite their &ldquo;sneaky&rdquo; appearance, raccoons are in reality pretty loud due to their size and distinctive barks and growls. If a raccoon has made its way into your attic, you will likely be able to hear it shuffling about. A raccoon may not have made its way into your home yet, but could very well be lurking around your property to determine if it is a good place to settle down; in this case, you will be able to identify their paw tracks, which are 5 toed and roughy 2X2 inches for the front paws, and 4 inches in length for the back paws. Raccoons will also leave behind scat (or poop) around the yard or around the roof or attic if they are already indoors&nbsp;</p>

<p>Raccoon damage to a yard or home is also distinct: torn up insulation, chewed up wires, bent rain gutters, and damaged siding are all signs of a raccoon presence indoors. Dug out parts of your lawn or garden, torn down bird feeders, and a damaged/knocked over garbage can are also signs of raccoons.&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong><em>Do Raccoons Carry Disease?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>As if you needed another reason to be wary of raccoons, they don&rsquo;t just cause structural and yard damage; they are also the carriers of multiple diseases. Some of these diseases include:&nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li>Racoon Roundworm</li>

<li>Leptospirosis</li>

<li>Salmonella</li>

<li>Rabies&nbsp;</li>

</ul>

<p>Each of these diseases are transmittable to humans and pets alike, and can cause a wide-ranging severity of symptoms - from fever and nausea to kidney failure and vision loss. In other words, a raccoon infestation is nothing to play around with.&nbsp;</p>

<h4>Squirrels&nbsp;</h4>

<p><strong><em>What do Squirrels Look Like?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>Eastern grey squirrels are the most common type of squirrel found in North Carolina, and they are known to spend most of their time in trees. Grey in color, as their name implies, these squirrels can grow to 14 inches in length.&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong><em>What are Signs of Eastern Grey Squirrels?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>While typically confined to the outdoors, these squirrels have also been known to invade attics and even walls in search of nesting material and warm, safe shelter. Similar to a raccoon, they will cause damage to insulation, and will also go after bird feeders. If you have a garden or a fruit tree, this will also quickly become a target if you have these nuisance squirrels in or on your property, and they can cause serious damage to any crops you may be growing. You may also be able to identify them through sound, recognizable for their mouse-like squeak and chatter.&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong><em>Do Eastern Grey Squirrels Carry Disease?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>These critters do carry diseases transmittable to humans, most notably tularemia and ringworm. On top of that, they are also known to be carriers of other undesirable creatures, like fleas, mites, and other parasites.&nbsp;</p>

<h4>Bats&nbsp;</h4>

<p><em><strong>What do Bats Look Like?&nbsp;</strong></em></p>

<p>There are two especially frequent types of bats that are present in North Carolina:&nbsp;</p>

<p style="padding-left: 40px;"><strong>Little Brown Bats- </strong>T​hese bats are very small: they grow to 3 3&frasl;4 inches at full size, although they do have leathery wings that can give them up to an 11-inch wingspan. Fur color is a dark brown with a touch of gray here and there, while their ears are round with a black hue.&nbsp;</p>

<p style="padding-left: 40px;"><strong>Big Brown Bats- </strong>T​hese bats can grow up to 5 inches in length with a 14 inch wingspan; they have a body shade that ranges between light brown and darker brown, with ears, feet and faces that are a consistent dark brown.&nbsp;</p>

<p><em><strong>What are the Signs of Bats?&nbsp;</strong></em></p>

<p>Signs of bats are relatively easy to spot, once you know what to look for. Bats are well known to roost in attics, so if you suspect a bat infestation, that&rsquo;s the first place to investigate. Stains on your ceiling, squeaking sounds, and a pungent odor comparable to ammonia are all signs of the presence of a bat colony. In addition to those, there are a few other visible signs:&nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li>Dark, pebbly droppings around your home.</li>

<li>Black, oily streaks near small entrance holes.</li>

<li>Piles of bat droppings in the attic.&nbsp;</li>

</ul>

<p><strong><em>Do Bats Carry Disease?&nbsp;</em></strong></p>

<p>Of these three creatures, bats are the most significant carriers of disease and viruses, including Rabies, Ebola, Marburg and Nipah, just to name a few. While bats also do some positive things- they are great for mosquito control- they are definitely not the sort of pest that you want to take lightly if they have begun roosting in your home.&nbsp;</p>

<h4>What Should I Do If Wildlife is in My Home?&nbsp;</h4>

<p>If you suspect any of these creatures are present on or in your property, it&rsquo;s something you&rsquo;ll want to have taken care of before they buckle down and try making your home a permanent nesting ground. Our staff at A1 Pest Control has expertise in <a href="/wildlife-control">t​rapping and removing​</a> raccoons, squirrels ​and ​bats safely and humanely. After inspecting your property and giving a quote for removal, our pest tech will then trap and remove the offending pest.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Once the infestation is taken care of, we will also take ​exclusionary m​easures to make sure that the pest presence doesn&rsquo;t return. Exclusion means finding places in your home or business that could act as entry points for pest access and sealing them; this will not only prevent your home from being re-invaded, but also act as a signal to other pests that your property is not accessible, which will discourage them from sticking around.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Concerned about other wildlife invaders? Learn about other threats in our blog &ldquo;<a href="/blog/post/wildlife-to-watch-out-for">W​ildlife to Watch Out For​</a>&rdquo;.&nbsp;</p>
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Knowing how to protect your home from an infestation OR how to identify an existing one is the first step to keeping a critter-free home through October and beyond! 

Read More

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