Signs of Rodent Infestations in Attics

A considerable number of people pay little to no attention to their attics. People ignore their attics at their peril. The reality is that a great deal can go awry in an attic if people don’t pay proper attention to their homes’ attics. For example, attics can become the sites of rodent infestations that can cause serious damage to a residence and present health risks to residents. There are a variety of signs you need to be aware of when it comes to rodent infestations in attics.

Rodent Droppings

One of the most obvious, and potentially dangerous, signs of rodent infestations in attics is the presence of rodent droppings. Unlike some animals, rats and mice do not develop what oftentimes are called “feces latrines.” Feces latrines occur when animals defecate in one place on a consistent basis. Rats and mice do not engage in this type of practice. They tend to defecate in an array of different places, particularly along pathways that they utilize when moving about to forage for food, water, and nesting supplies.

Based upon this habit of rats and mice, you are likely to find rodent droppings along walls. You are also likely to find droppings near and around nesting locations.

As mentioned, rodent droppings are potentially dangerous. Rodent droppings can carry hazardous pathogens capable of causing serious disease in humans. This includes dried droppings, which crumble easily. When they crumble, airborne dust is created that contain a dangerous pathogen like hantavirus. If inhaled, a person can become infected with a disease-causing pathogen like hantavirus.

Once a rodent infestation itself is addressed, care must be taken to ensure that all droppings and other waste associated with these varmints are thoroughly and safely eliminated from your residence. Droppings are considered biohazardous material and the cleanup process necessitates the use of appropriate personal protective equipment as well as cleaning and sanitization agents. There can also be odors associated with an infestation that require remediation as well. Due to the complexity associated with cleaning up after a rodent infestation, engaging the services of a rodent dropping cleanup company typically is advisable.

Gnaw and Scratch Marks

Rodents have a number of things in common, including incisors that continue to grow throughout their lives. Thus, when a rodent infestation occurs in your attic, you will see gnaw marks on different items and objects. This includes wood, insulation, and electric wire covering. The fact that rodents gnaw on electric wires underscores the need for timely intervention to eliminate their presence in an attic. Approximately 25 percent of residential fires in California and across the United States can be traced to rodents gnawing on electrical wires and related items.

You will also likely notice scratch and even gnaw marks on insulation. Rodents will scratch and gnaw on insulation to tear off pieces to be used for nesting material. (You will also find droppings in insulation as well.)

Noises and Sounds

The presence of rodent infestations in attics can also be detected through noises and sounds. These include:

  • Scurrying
  • Scratching
  • Gnawing
  • Squealing

You do need to bear in mind that rodents generally are nocturnal animals. Thus, you are most likely to hear these noises and sounds after sunset and before dawn.

Odors and Smells

As a rodent infestation grows in the attic you are also likely to detect odors and smells associated with it. You may begin to detect the smell of urine. In addition, when a rat or mouse dies in your attic, you are also likely to experience the stench of the remains as they decay. Truly, this is a most unpleasant odor. If you were motivated to take definitive action to eliminate a rodent infestation, this issue alone should compel you to do so immediately.

Signs of Rodents Beyond the Attic

Signs of a rodent infestation in your attic are likely to be found beyond your attic. As was noted previously, rodents forage for food and water. As a consequence, they will venture throughout your residence in search of sustenance. Thus, you are apt to find droppings and other evidence of rats and mice elsewhere in your home as well. In addition to the signs mentioned previously, you very well may see what appears to be greasy trails (usually near walls) which are created by rodents as they mark out pathways when foraging for food and water.

Regularly Inspect Your Attic

For a host of reasons, including addressing a rodent infestation, you should take it upon yourself to inspect your attic at regular intervals. An ideal course to take in this regard is to pop into your attic once a month to give it a visual once-over. By being proactive in this manner you will be able to address a rodent infestation when it’s in its earlier stages and hopefully before it has become significantly expansive.