When the Potential Buyer is Away, the Mice will Play
Whether you currently own a home or are considering purchasing one, knowing the signs of a rodent infestation can save you from gaining a group of new furry roommates. As the weather cools in Kelowna, mice and rats will begin searching for warm places to nest that offer ample amounts of food. Unfortunately for us, a modern family home in the Okanagan is the perfect place for a rodent to brave the winter months and raise a plethora of new babies.
A rodent infestation can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars while also endangering the safety of the residences as rodents are known to carry a wide range of diseases. If you are looking to purchase a home and come across any of these common signs, you might want to head out the door and search for a new property.
1. Nests and Burrows:
Certain rats and mice will create complex networks of tunnels and burrows around a home. This can cause immense damage to drainage systems and the foundation of a structure. A quick walk around of a home will usually reveal if there are rats burrowing nearby or not. Make sure you take time to look in and behind flower gardens and bushes, as rodents will often stay in these concealed locations to avoid predators.
Inside the home, look for evidence of nests. Rodents typically choose quiet, dark locations to raise their family. Inspect basements, attics, and behind appliances. Telltale signs of rodent nests are shredded paper, insulation and plastic that has been gnawed or chewed on. Use a flashlight if possible to search in the hard to reach, dark areas of a home.
Rats leave anywhere between 30 and 180 droppings in their wake every single day. Rodent droppings are typically cylindrical and range from 0.5 to 2 centimetres in length. The detection of droppings should raise red flags immediately, as it proves that there are rodents in the vicinity, but also alerts you to the possible presence of dangerous pathogens in the environment. Rodents and mice are notorious for urinating on food sources they discover which can leave you with a pantry full of bacteria and viruses.
3. Pest Control Products:
This sign is more for potential home buyers that are scoping out a property. It is always a good idea to have a look under sinks and through the garage for any pest control products. If the current owner has a large collection of mouse traps and rat poison, it’s safe to say that they currently have rodent issues, or have had a serious infestation in the past.
Remember, even if rodents have been removed, their damage can still remain on the property. Foundation damage from burrowing could still exist, or mouse-chewed wires in the attic could cause an electrical fire in the next few months.
4. Damaged Wires and Gnaw Marks:
The teeth of most rodents continuously grow at a rapid pace. As they grow, rats and mice alike will gnaw at hard surfaces to reduce the size of these growing teeth. Keep your eyes open for frayed electric wires and teeth marks or holes in plastic and wood items. Some of a growing rat’s favourite chew toys are wooden chair legs, baseboards and insulation.
Rodents are master illusionists and can hide their presence easily, especially if you make a lot of noise on arrival. One thing that can’t hide is their smell. If you notice a “musky” odour, you need to investigate the area further. Many pest control experts describe the smell of a rodent infestation to be similar to that of an unclean rabbit cage. The distinct note of ammonia is another telltale sign that something is amiss. Follow your nose and you are bound to find other signs of unwanted tenants.
6. Trails and Rub Marks:
Due to the fact that rats and mice spend a lot of their time rooting around in the earth and through garbage, their feet and bodies are typically quite dirty. Rodents tend to use the same routes and entry holes day after day, which will become evident with “grease” trails. Their dirty bodies will leave marks against the walls and on the floors. If a rodent has recently trekked through a particularly dirty area, you can even detect individual footprints at times.
When it comes to home inspections, the Building Pro team is always on the lookout for signs of pest infestations. Having your home properly inspected could save you thousands of dollars down the road- book with us today and gain confidence in all of your real estate transactions!