Why Rodents Are Such a Destructive Pest in North Carolina Homes

They scurry along our foundation walls and gnaw on the weather stripping around our basement doors. They explore our landscaping and chew on the corners of our window panes. They run down tree branches and jump onto the roofs of our homes to nibble at vent gaskets and chew through building materials to gain access into our eavestroughs. There are many locations of vulnerability in the exterior of our North Carolina homes and rodents can exploit these vulnerable spots to gain access into our homes. And when they get in, these rodents create holes that allow the heat to escape, resulting in higher heat bills. But that is only the beginning of how destructive mice and rats can be!

mouse hiding in corner of kitchen
rats in basement

Once inside a home, mice and rats will work to establish nests. In their search for building materials, they'll tear apart insulation, rip wallpaper off walls, chew fabric off of furniture, chew holes in clothing items, shred books, and more.
 
Rodents like to be close to their food source. This will have them chewing holes through sheetrock, insulation, baseboards, and walls to create pathways from their hidden nests in your walls to your kitchen, pantry, and other food storage areas. As they make these holes, they sometimes chew through wires. If they sever a live wire, it could cause a fire to break out in your home, leading to extreme property damage and even the loss of life.
 
Inside food storage areas, mice and rats can damage food packages and contaminate the foods inside. Since rats are larger than mice, they can do more damage. These larger rodents can easily chew through thick packaging to gain access to the food inside. But, while they can chew into a sealed plastic container that has food inside, they typically don't because they can't smell the food and, therefore, have no motivation to get in.
 
In attic spaces, mice and rats can damage boxes and the items stored inside. And they don't need the aroma of food to be motivated to chew their way inside. Cardboard boxes provide these rodents with potential harborage spaces which is reason enough for them to want to invade. And even after they’ve found their way into your home, they'll continue looking for safe places to hide and raise their young.
 
When rodents seek harborage inside storage boxes, the items inside can be damaged as they chew their way in. Those stored items can be damaged further as those rodents chew and tear at them for materials to use for their nests. Not only will mice and rats chew and tear your stored items, but they'll also soak them with urine and speckle them with feces.
 
Another common location rodents will find harborage inside is furniture. They love the hollow voids inside couches and recliners. If you have furniture in storage, those items could be ruined by invading rodents looking to create their nests inside. And though it is less common, some rodents are even bold enough to infest the furniture right in your living room!
 
Kitchens are a favorite hangout spot for rodents. They chew their way through the wall voids of your home and get in behind your cabinets. From this location, they are able to access your kitchen drawers from behind. That is why rodent droppings are commonly found in the backs of drawers. And if they get into your drawers, they can contaminate the items inside with their urine and droppings.
 
Mice sometimes find their way into our appliances, especially appliances that have insulation inside such an electric range. If they choose to nest in your stove, you may start to notice the smell of urine in your kitchen as the smell of rodent urine can be quite strong. In addition, once the infestation has been corrected, you'll be left with an appliance that needs to be extensively cleaned. But for some people, there is no amount of cleaning and bleaching that will make them use that appliance again and they’ll have to replace it completely. So, while it doesn't apply to everyone, it’s still important to consider this as a way mice and rats can be destructive.
 
It is never a good thing when rodents find their way into a home. While the amount of damage done may vary, the kinds of damages caused by rodents are difficult to correct. These damages can be done in tight attic spaces, eavestroughs, wall voids, ceiling voids, appliances, furniture, stored boxes, and more and can go on for a long time without you even knowing! So, before mice have a chance to invade your home, we strongly recommend investing in an ongoing, year-round pest control service that includes rodent monitoring and control services. Pests can destroy your belongings, damage your home, and contaminate your food, not to mention lead to diseases, allergies, and bacterial sickness! Don’t let your home fall victim to a rodent infestation; partner with us at A-1 Pest Control instead! No home should be without a pest control plan. If you need assistance developing one and you live in our North Carolina service area, we're here to help. Protecting homes and businesses from pest threats is what we do!

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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…

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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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