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Identifying Rat Damage (in your DFW Home)

If you’ve ever had a rat in your home, then you know it is the one thing you NEVER want to have happen again. Besides nearly scaring you to death and making your skin crawl, rats cause millions of dollars in damage to homes across the country each year. Just one rat can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage and pose severe health risks to your family and pets. Spotting the signs of structural damage caused by rats will not only prevent a rat infestation from flourishing, but it can also save you money in the long run in costly repairs and prevent the severe diseases carried by these rodents.

Damage to Physical Structures

Rats are not clean animals. They leave chew marks, tracks, food trails and mark their territory in urine. As a result, you can usually spot where a rat has been before if you know to look for it.

If you suspect a rat infestation, the first place to check for structural damage is the outside of your home. Rats take the same path into, and out of, your home every time. As a result, they will leave a worn path around the outside of the house near their entry point. Check the flower beds that surround your home and areas surrounding shrubs, wood piles and leaves. These make excellent nesting areas for them.

Examine the outside of your house as well. Rats will gnaw on the outside of the home trying to get inside. They will chew on the eaves of roofs to gain entry, causing leaks and allowing other rodents inside.

Burrowing rats will gain entry through your foundation. They can do so much damage trying to gain entry that they undermine the foundation in ways that cause doors, windows and interior walls to shift.

If you notice any of this damage, call a professional immediately. Once inside your home, rats will start to gnaw through electrical wires and insulation to keep their teeth sharp. Not only does this result in costly repairs, but it can lead to house fires as well.

Health Risks

Once a rat has entered your home, it wastes no time making itself at home. It will immediately start to mark its territory in urine, eat your food, and defecate wherever it likes.

In fact, rats may defecate up to 60 times a day and eat 100 pounds of food in a year! Their droppings will attract other rodents and can carry very serious diseases.

The most common diseases are salmonella, tapeworms and the hantavirus. Rats are also responsible for deadly diseases such as Leptospirosis and the bubonic plague. By feeding on pets’ food, they can spread microorganisms and parasites to cats and dogs which are later transferred to humans. Diseases carried by rats can also be spread by simply inhaling the dust of their droppings left over time or attempting to clean up a rat infestation.

Do not attempt to clean up a rat infestation on your own. It is important to make sure the infestation is permanently eradicated and thoroughly cleaned. If done incorrectly, rats can die in the foundation, walls, or attic, leading to the further spread of disease and attracting other, larger pests.

Spot the Signs

Due to the severe structural and health risks rats pose, it’s best to know how to spot the signs early on and eradicate them as soon as possible. In low populations, rats are secretive and usually unseen. Use these tips to spot the signs of a rat in your home before it comes out in the open.

  1. Visible rat droppings in a cabinet, attic, crawlspace or anywhere in or around the house.
  2. Unexplained grease marks along walls and floorboards.
  3. Scratching noises in the walls, ceiling, attic or basement, especially at night.
  4. Your dog or cat is suddenly very interested in a particular area that they have had no interest in before. Cats and dogs often become excited in areas where rodents are present because of their odor.
  5. Use a blacklight to detect tracks and runways. Rats will leave behind smudge marks, footprints, urine stains or droppings that are more easily seen with a black light.
  6. Notice random bits of trash, food, paper or sticks in unexplained places. This is a good indication of a rat’s nest.

If you spot the signs that a rat has entered or attempted to enter your home, do not wait to address the situation. If you think you have just one rat in your home, it may easily be trapped and eradicated with an at-home method. However, if you have seen a rat in your home then it is a good indication there are multiple rats in your home. Once their population starts to grow, they become less secretive and make themselves more visible.

A rat infestation can quickly get out of hand. If you are seeing damage caused by rats in your home, contact ABC Home and Commercial as soon as possible. Not only will we safely eradicate all traces of rats from your home, we will also seal off any possible entry points to prevent a future invasion. Call 469-549-7300 to schedule an appointment today!

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