Everything Conroe Residents Need To Know About Rodents
A lot of people don't give much thought to rodents. We know they exist, and we occasionally see them running around outside, but we don't consider what will happen if they end up in our homes. Unfortunately, rodents are pests that we should give a little more attention to. They are one of the most common home invaders in Conroe, and they are also one of the most dangerous pests to have in your home. Find everything you need to know about rodents below, including the most common species, what problems they cause, how to prevent them, and where to find the best rodent control in Conroe.
Rodents 101: Species To Watch For In Conroe
If you had to make a list of all the rodent species in the world, you'd need a paper with over 2000 lines. From the tiny pygmy mouse that can weigh less than a nickel to the giant capybara that can grow to the weight of the average woman, rodents come in all shapes and sizes. Luckily, the list of common rodents that get into homes in the Conroe area is much shorter. Knowing which rodent species to watch for around your Conroe home is good information to have because being able to quickly identify a problem allows you to make sure you get rid of that problem faster and with fewer repercussions.
Do you know what sets rodents apart from other animal orders? All rodents share one common characteristic. In their mouths are two pairs of continuously growing incisors – one pair on the upper jaw and one pair on the lower jaw. As you can imagine, having four teeth that never stop growing would be an issue for the human population, but rodents know how to manage these teeth well. If they didn't, you'd see mice running around with their teeth dragging along the ground or squirrels looking like miniature sabertooth tigers. In order to keep their incisors short enough to be manageable, rodents gnaw on items to wear those teeth down. This is something they learn to do early on that continues throughout their entire lives.
There is just a small list of rodents that you're most likely to see around your home. Learn more about them below so that you can easily identify which ones are present if you see them in or around your house.
There are plenty of different species of mice in our area, but if you find a mouse in your house, it's likely a house mouse. These mice are aptly named for their penchant for taking up residence in homes.
House mice can range in color from light brown to dark gray, and they usually have cream-colored bellies. With little, rounded bodies, big ears, and pointy noses, many people consider house mice quite cute. They can grow anywhere from 2 ½ to 3 ¾ inches long, with fur-covered tails that double their length.
House mice are social creatures that live in hierarchies made up of one dominant male, other lower-ranking males, and a lot of females. The adult female mice can give birth every three weeks, having up to 35 babies a year. Since it takes less than two months for a young female mouse to reach maturity, you can imagine how quickly a mouse colony is likely to grow.
The preferred food group of mice is grains, but they'll eat almost anything, from insects to fruit to any food they can find in your house. Nuts, seeds, and cereals are some of the foods that mice enjoy the most.
The Norway rat goes by several other names. You may have heard these rats called sewer rats, brown rats, or street rats, to name just a few. They got the name of Norway rat because they were originally thought to have been brought to the United States from Norway, but they are actually of Asian origin.
Norway rats are brown with darker, black fur mixed into their coats. They have bellies that range in color from gray to white. With big, heavy bodies, small ears, and blunt noses, Norway rats look like an animal that stays close to the ground, and this is accurate. While they can climb if they need to, they aren't particularly nimble, so they're typically found in the lower levels of homes. Their eyesight is very poor, and they are colorblind, but they make up for these deficits in sight by using their other, keener senses. Norway rats typically grow to around seven to nine inches long with bare tails that don't quite double their length.
As social creatures, Norway rats like to live near each other but build separate burrows close together instead of all nesting in the same burrow. Adult female Norway rats can have anywhere from three to six litters each year, reaching maturity at three months of age.
Norway rats enjoy their proteins. Their foods of choice include meat and fish, but like other rodents, when it comes down to it, they're not very picky. They'll eat almost anything they can get their paws on.
As you might imagine, roof rats get their name from their tendency to shelter in the upper levels of buildings. They are also known as ship rats and black rats.
Roof rats are brown with black fur mixed into their coats. Their underbellies can be black, white, or gray. With long, thin bodies, large ears, and pointed noses, roof rats are built for climbing, which is why they are often found far above the ground in attics and the upper levels of buildings. They are usually between six and eight inches long, and their bare tails more than double their body length.
Like most rodents, roof rats are social creatures that prefer to live in colonies. They even forage for food in small groups instead of going it alone. While they only have a lifespan of about a year, roof rats can produce up to 40 babies in their lifetime.
Roof rats will eat whatever they can find, but their preference is for fruits. Seeds and nuts are also favorite foods of roof rats. However, they will also eat fish, meats, and other foods. Roof rats are known for hoarding and stashing food.
Gray squirrels are aptly named for their coloring. They are a type of tree squirrel that is very common in the Conroe area and can occasionally end up in homes.
Gray squirrels have gray fur with brown mixed in, especially on their backs and tails. Their bellies are typically white. They grow to about a foot in length, with bushy tails that add another eight to ten inches to their overall length.
Though not as social as mice or rats, gray squirrels don't mind being in the presence of other gray squirrels and will occasionally nest together if needed, although they prefer to nest alone. Adult female gray squirrels typically have two litters of babies a year and don't usually begin to reproduce until they are about a year and a half old.
If you've ever watched gray squirrels run around your yard, you likely know that they enjoy eating acorns, beechnuts, and other similar foods. They'll also eat flowers, fruits, insects, and even frogs.
Fox squirrels also get their name from their coloring, which closely resembles foxes. They are the largest species of tree squirrel in North America.
With grayish-black fur on their backs, fox squirrels in our area have reddish-orange fur on their underbellies. Their bushy tails are a mixture of reddish-brown and black. Fox squirrels have bodies that grow up to 15 inches long and tails that double their length.
Although they'll share feeding areas, fox squirrels are not social animals. They prefer to spend their time by themselves, and they nest alone as well. Adult female fox squirrels will breed one to two times per year. They can begin to breed shortly before they become a year old.
Fox squirrels have similar diets to gray squirrels. They prefer acorns, nuts, and seeds but will also eat insects, mushrooms, fruits, and even bird eggs.
Rodent Dangers, Destruction, And Warning Signs
Knowing what you already know about rodents, especially in regards to their ever-growing teeth, you can likely guess what kinds of problems they cause when they get into Conroe homes. From rodents in your attic to rodents in your basement to rodents anywhere at all in your home, they will present danger and destruction you don't want to deal with.
Rodents are dangerous to the health of your family. They leave their droppings everywhere they go, and these droppings are often contaminated with pathogens that can make your family sick. When rodents get into your food, they'll contaminate that as well. Some of the common diseases that rodents spread through their droppings include salmonellosis and leptospirosis. Hantavirus is another dangerous disease that is contracted when humans breathe in particles from rodent feces, urine, or saliva.
If you come into direct contact with a rodent, you could be bitten or scratched. This carries its own set of dangers. Rat-bite fever is the most well-known of the illnesses spread by direct contact with rodents.
Additionally, rodents often carry parasites around with them. If these parasites get into your house, they can cause problems for you and your family. Mites, fleas, ticks, and lice can all end up in your home because of a rodent infestation.
Finally, much of the destruction caused by rodents can put your family's safety at risk. Learn more about the dangers caused by rodent destruction below.
With their constant need to chew, rodents are very good at destroying things. While no one wants their belongings to get ruined by rodents, if you end up with rodents in your house, the least of your worries will be your damaged clothing or books.
When it comes to rodent destruction, the real problems come when they start to rip out chunks of insulation, chew through electrical wires, gnaw holes in water pipes, and leave piles of waste in their nesting areas.
Damaged insulation causes your house to be less energy efficient than it should be, which costs you more money in cooling and heating. If insulation becomes wet, it can grow mold and mildew, which puts your family at risk of respiratory illnesses.
Damaged electrical wires will not only cause your lights to stop working correctly but will also put your home at immediate risk of fire.
Damage to your pipes will cause flooding, which in and of itself is a problem. However, that problem can also lead to other issues, such as mold and mildew, if not quickly resolved.
The waste left behind by rodents can damage your structure over time. It also carries diseases that are harmful to your family.
It is essential that you know what warning signs to look for to identify a rodent infestation. The sooner you realize that rodents are in your house, the sooner you can take care of the problem. Early detection helps you minimize the dangers and damage that rodents cause. Look for any of the following warning signs when determining if rodents have gotten into your house.
- Droppings. Seeing mouse or rat droppings is often the first sign people find when rodents have gotten into their house. Although the size, color, and shape vary slightly from species to species, in general, rodent droppings are dark in color and similar in size and shape to a grain of rice. Depending on the species, some droppings have pointed ends, and some have blunt ends.
- Damaged food items. If the food in your pantry, cupboards, or countertops seems to have been disturbed or has holes or tears in their containers, it could be from rodents. Additionally, if you find piles of food where they don't belong, rodents could be responsible.
- Rub marks and runways. Rodents often use the same pathways when they move around. Since they are cautious, they prefer to stay along the edges of rooms, which means they often leave greasy rub marks along baseboards and walls as they pass. Other signs of rodent runways include seeing droppings and tracks in these areas.
- Nests. Finding nesting materials is a good clue that rodents are in your house. They'll take a variety of materials, such as fabric, cotton, and insulation, to use for their nests. You'll often find these nests in out-of-the-way locations, such as in attics or basements and under or behind appliances.
- Odor. If rodents have been in your home for a long time, you might start to smell their urine, which has a distinct and strong odor. Furthermore, if any rodents have died within your house, you'll likely start to smell that as well.
- Sounds. Rodents most often move around at night, but they can be active at any time. If you hear scratching, squeaking, or thumping sounds in your walls or ceilings, it's likely from a rodent infestation.
If you discover any of these warning signs in your home, you should take action quickly to get rid of your rodent problem.
Tips To Rodent-Proof Your Conroe Home
Knowing how to keep rodents away from your Conroe home is essential for the health and safety of your family and for the protection of your house. The following tips will help you protect your home from rodents before they have a chance to get inside.
- Keep your lawn tidy. Rodent-proofing your house begins outside. Make sure your grass is trimmed, and your lawn is free of debris, including leaf litter.
- Get rid of outdoor food sources. Pick up fallen fruit, remove bird seed, and don't leave pet food outside.
- Remove outdoor water sources. Eliminate any areas where rainwater can collect, make sure your gutters are clear of debris, and fix any leaks and areas of poor drainage.
- Cut back foliage. If tree branches, shrubs, bushes, or other landscape vegetation are touching the sides or roof of your home, it makes it easier for rodents to access your house. Cut them back so they don't come in contact with your exterior walls.
- Seal all entry points, no matter how small. Mice only need an opening the size of a dime to get into your home. Even larger rodents can often gain access to your house through a quarter-sized hole. Since they can chew away at a small opening to make it larger, it's essential to make sure you don't have any cracks or gaps that rodents could exploit.
- Inside your house, keep all food in storage containers that are hard-sided and tightly sealed.
- Dispose of your trash on a regular basis and clean up your kitchen after each meal.
- Remove excess clutter from your house, especially in out-of-the-way areas like attics and basements.
By taking the precautions above, you can help prevent a rodent infestation before it has a chance to start.
What To Do If You Think You Have Rodents
While knowing how to prevent rodents is essential, you also need to know what to do if rodents do find their way inside your house. Because of all the problems they can cause, at the first signs of an infestation, you have to take action. Effective rodent control is best done by professional Conroe pest control experts. While DIY rodent control methods abound, they rarely result in the solutions you want for your Conroe home. While they may provide temporary relief, DIY rodent control usually results in a recurrence.
Instead, you need the experienced service of Modern Pest Control. We follow a proven three-step system to not only ensure every last rodent is removed from your house but also ensure that rodents don't return to your house. After a thorough inspection, we'll provide the trapping and exclusion services you need to make sure your house is fully rodent-free.
With over 65 years of rodent control experience, Modern Pest Control is your best choice for all your rodent control needs. We are licensed and certified and warranty our work for your peace of mind. Reach out to Modern Pest Control today for help with rodents and to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Conroe!