How to Spot Rodent Entry Holes

Rodent entry hole in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions
Rodent entry hole in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions
A mouse hole in a wall.

Though rodents are small creatures, they can wreak havoc on your home and health. From chewing up your walls to spreading diseases, they are not critters you want crawling around your house. However, as winter sets in and temperatures drop, rodents are trying extra hard to get indoors – after all, they don’t like the cold either!

Sealing off rodent entry holes is the first step in preventing an infestation. While this task may seem simple enough, rodents are great at sneaking through even the tiniest of openings. Did you know that a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime? Rats only need a tiny bit more space – an opening the size of a quarter is usually large enough for them to fit through.

Knowing how to identify rodent entry holes is crucial in keeping these pests outside. To help you out, we’ve put together a small guide on how to find and seal rodent entry holes around your home.

What Do Rodent Entry Holes Look Like?

Rodent entry holes usually just look like small cracks or gaps. If the opening is heavily trafficked by pests, there will be signs of greasy-looking marks, gnawing, or fur. It’s important to be able to identify any openings to your home, as they could all be used as entryways by rodents and other pests. Here are some of the most common places that rodents enter homes:

  • Cracks in foundations
  • Holes or gaps around pipes
  • Gaps near windows or doors
  • Broken seals along garage doors
  • Loose shingles on your roof
  • Holes or gaps around gutters
  • Broken window or door screens

How to Seal Rodent Entry Holes

There are a few different ways that you can go about sealing off rodent entry holes, and the method you use will largely depend on what kind of opening you are fixing. Here are a few ways you can seal off rodent entry holes:

  • Caulk for small cracks and gaps: A bit of caulk usually does the trick for very small openings, such as cracks in your foundation or small gaps near windows.
  • Sheet metal for larger holes: If you have a larger hole that can’t be covered by some caulk, you could either perform a full repair, or use some sheet metal and screws to block off the opening.
  • Repairs around your home: Broken screens, loose shingles, gaps around your gutters, and other similar issues are usually best remedied by full-blown repairs. Makeshift coverings could be beneficial in the short term, but to keep pests out for good, we recommend investing the time and effort into formally repairing your home.

Professional Rodent Protection

Meticulously searching for rodent holes and carefully performing repairs are hugely important steps in keeping these pests out of your home. However, these tasks are tedious and can take a lot of time out of your day. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it all alone!

The rodent control experts at United Pest Solutions have years of experience in identifying and sealing off entry holes, and they are prepared to help you protect your home. If you are facing a rodent problem or are worried about entry holes around your house, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to get professional rodent control and protection!

Pest-Proof Your Home for Winter in 6 Steps

Rodent outside next to snow. United Pest Solutions talks about how homeowners in Seattle WA can pest-proof their home for winter in 6 steps.

Rodent outside next to snow. United Pest Solutions talks about how homeowners in Seattle WA can pest-proof their home for winter in 6 steps.Winter is coming and just like us, some pests will want to move indoors where it’s warm. The most common winter invaders are spiders, rats, mice, and cockroaches. Having an infestation by these pests can be damaging to both your health and your home if not properly treated. Rats and mice are destructive. They can also contaminate food and bring ticks, fleas, and lice into your home. Cockroaches carry harmful diseases including Salmonella, and spiders can bite if they feel threatened — which can result in a serious reaction for some people. This is why it’s important to make sure these pests can’t gain access into your home. Read more to learn how to pest-proof your home for winter in 6 easy steps.

6 Steps to Pest-Proof Your Home for Winter

1.Inspect

Walk around the interior and exterior of your home looking for signs of rodents. Inspect wires, walls, and your home’s insulation for gnaw marks.

2. Seal Cracks and Holes

While inspecting your home you’ll also want to be on the lookout for any cracks in your foundation and gaps in windows and doors where pests can easily fit through. You can use caulking to seal small cracks and weather stripping for windows and doors. If you have a chimney or air vents that need covering, use mesh screens to help keep them out.

3. Trim Tree Branches and Shrubs

Keep your trees and shrubs well-trimmed away from your home. Roof rats are highly-skilled climbers and will scale across branches to gain access to your roof and into your home.

4. Store Your Food in Airtight Containers

Left out food attracts rodents and cockroaches. So use airtight containers to store your food. Also, throw out the trash regularly.

5. Store Your Firewood High and Away From Your Home

If you keep firewood on your property, we recommend you store it at least 2 feet off the ground and at least 20 feet away from your home. Rats and mice are attracted to woodpiles and debris.

6. Keep Storage Boxes Off the Floor

Rodents and spiders like to live in areas that are undisturbed. So use sealed boxes and store them off the floor and on shelves to help prevent pests.

Whether you’ve tried these methods or believe you already have a pest infestation, it’s important to contact a professional like United Pest Solutions before it spreads. We’ll inspect your home, diagnose the problem, and eliminate your pest problem for good!

Roof Rats vs Norway Rats

Roof Rat on leaves. United Pest Solutions talks about the differences between Roof Rats and Norway Rats which are both common in the Pacific Northwest.

Roof Rat on leaves. United Pest Solutions talks about the differences between Roof Rats and Norway Rats which are both common in the Pacific Northwest.

Great, you’ve spotted a rat on your property, now what!? First of all, rat problems don’t necessarily mean you aren’t tidy. Rats are just a byproduct of living in the Pacific Northwest. Second of all, you aren’t alone. The United States is seeing a resurgence of rodents, especially in urban areas. Norway rats and Roof rats are common rodents in the Pacific Northwest and they are very different species.

How to Distinguish a Norway Rat from a Roof Rat

Next time you see a rat on your property, try to remember what it looked like. While it may be difficult to correctly identify a rat species, Roof rats and Norway rats generally have distinct characteristics.

  • Roof rats, also known as ship rats and black rats are smaller than Norway rats and lighter in color– usually a light gray. They are typically no longer than 7 inches, not including their tail. Roof rats also have a longer tail, a pointy snout, and longer ears than Norway rats.
  • Norway rats, also called sewer rats, brown rats, and wharf rats are much larger, and darker in color– which ranges from a grayish brown to reddish-brown. Norway rats can also weigh over one pound, which is twice as heavy as a Roof rat. They also have shorter tails.

That’s quite the difference in characteristics, especially size! If you are unable to spot the rodent again, another useful trait to help determine which species you are dealing with are their habits.

Norway Rat Habits Vs Roof Rat Habits

Just like everything else, location is everything when it comes to identifying a Roof rat from a Norway rat.

  • Roof rats, like their name, love roofs and anywhere else high. They’ll crawl across tree branches that hang above roofs and sneak in through windows or attics.
  • Norway rats nest in the ground or near it. They like to stay low. You’ll commonly see Norway rats in garages, sewers, and crawlspaces. These are typical ways they gain access to homes.

How Does This Help For Rat Control?

If we are able to determine which type of rat you have, we can focus our pest control techniques accordingly. For example, if you have Roof rats, we will want to treat areas like your attic, not your basement or crawl space.

Effective Pest Control for Norway Rats vs Roof Rats

Both species of rats are problematic. Rodents are not only vectors for various diseases, but they can also cause significant damage to your home and belongings, which is why a rodent infestation should be addressed sooner, rather than later. If you have a rodent problem or any other pest issue, contact United Pest Solutions, we’ll take care of your pest problem quickly, efficiently, and most importantly successfully!

Your Ghoulish Guide to Halloween Pests

Fake spiders next to fake pumpkin. United Pest Solutions talks about pests common in October and what homeowners can do to deter them.

Fake spiders next to fake pumpkin. United Pest Solutions talks about pests common in October and what homeowners can do to deter them.

It’s common this time of year to see fake spiders, cobwebs, and rats on people’s porches as Halloween approaches, but there are some real-life spooky pests that are common in the Pacific Northwest. Read more to learn about pests you’ll typically find in our area.

Spiders

While spiders are a commonly feared pest, only a few species in our area are actually dangerous. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Black Widows, and Hobo spiders are the ones you should be worried about. These spiders typically hang out in dark cooler areas where they will go undisturbed, like garages and sheds. It’s rare to be bitten by one of these spiders, but if you do get bit and you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should see a doctor immediately.

Brown Recluse spiders are another venomous spider, but contrary to belief, they aren’t native to our area. The only way you may see a brown recluse is if it traveled here from another part of the country.

If you have a spider in your home you’d like to identify, we have a helpful spider informational page. There are nearly a dozen species you can learn more about.

Rodents

The sight of a rat or mouse scurrying across your living room floor may cause you, and anyone else at that matter, to jump and shriek. The rodents common in the Pacific Northwest are the Norway rat, Roof rat, house mouse, and deer mouse. These rodents are nocturnal and are perfectly adapted to life in the Seattle area.

These rodents can be quite destructive. Not only will they chew through your belongings, electrical wires, and wood inside your homes, they can contaminate your home with their urine and droppings. And they can transmit diseases.

If you have fall decor in cardboard boxes, it may be a good idea to inspect it for any signs of rodent activity. This includes gnawing marks or droppings. And when you want to store it again, we recommend putting your decor in plastic boxes with sealed lids. If you’d like to learn more about each rodent species in our area, take a look at our rodent informational page.

Bed Bugs

Like rodents, bed bugs are most active at night. However, they will adjust to the sleeping pattern of their host– which are humans. They will live in box springs, mattresses, couches, baseboards, and anywhere else their host stays for long periods of time. Bed bugs can travel in backpacks, purses, or clothing and then infest another location.

While their bites don’t transmit diseases to humans, they will leave you itchy, and damage your peace of mind. If you plan on buying a Halloween costume from a yard sale or thrift shop, it may be a good idea to inspect it for bed bugs or eggs and wash it prior to wearing it. You can learn more about bed bugs in our bed bug informational page.

Experts in Pest Control

If you have spiders, rodents, bed bugs or any other creepy crawler infestation contact United Pest Solutions. We have been providing environmentally responsible pest control to the Seattle area since 1967 so we are highly knowledgeable about the pests that live here and we know how to properly remove them. We’ll also ensure your family and pets are cared for in the process. So contact United Pest Solutions for quick and reliable pest control services in the Seattle area!

It’s Almost Rodent Season: 10 Ways to Keep Rodents At Bay This Winter

United Pest Solutions reveals ways to keep rodents away this winter.

United Pest Solutions reveals ways to keep rodents away this winter.

In just a few weeks fall will be upon us and as soon as that temperature drops, rodents like Norway rats and Roof rats will be looking for a warm place to shelter. Don’t make your property appealing to them. At United Pest Solutions, we understand how important it is to protect your home from these pests, especially since some can transmit harmful diseases to humans. We’ve compiled 10 ways you can protect your home from rodents this winter.

How to Deter Rats

Fix or Replace Pipes

Rats are great swimmers. Fixing any broken pipes you may have can help prevent them from gaining access to your home through your plumbing.

Install Screens to Chimneys and Exterior Vents

Roof rats, Norway rats, and mice can wiggle their way into spaces much smaller than it may appear and they’ve been known to scale chimneys and siding. Screening vents and chimney openings will help keep them out.

Seal the Exterior of Your Home

As previously mentioned Roof rats, Norway rats, and mice will squeeze into tiny spaces. So, ensuring any cracks or holes on the side of your home and foundation are sealed will help keep them out.

Seal Your Doors, Garage Doors, and Windows

If your exterior door or garage door is uneven at the bottom, a rodent will easily squirm its way in. You can add door sweeps to the bottoms of doors and garage doors to keep them out. As for windows, use weather stripping or caulk.

Ventilate

Basements, attics, and crawl spaces provide rodents access to food and moisture. Keep these spaces dry and ventilated.

Store Food Properly

Use airtight containers for food as leaving food out attracts rodents.

Clean Up

In addition to properly storing your food, keep your property clean as well. Throw debris and trash away in sealed receptacles.

Keep Firewood Away From Your Home

Like debris, stacks of firewood can also attract Roof rats and Norway rats. So keep your firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and if possible, keep the wood elevated.

Check Your Vehicles Regularly

Rodents may find shelter in your vehicle like underneath your hood. Check your vehicles regularly looking for any droppings, chewed wires, or nests.

Regularly Inspect Items Being Brought into the Home

Inspecting also goes for anything that is taken from the outside and being brought in. This can include groceries, packages, boxes, etc. If it’s been out for a while, a rodent may have snuck its way in.

Experts in Rodent Control and Removal

Rodents like rats and mice can cause damage to your home and transmit diseases. So if you believe you have a rodent problem it’s important to take care of the issue immediately. At United Pest Solutions, our highly trained technicians will inspect your home and determine the most effective treatment to eliminate rodents from your home in the long term.

Overwintering Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Rat peeking out of hole. United Pest Solutions talks about what you can do to keep overwinter pests out of your home during the winter months.

Rat peeking out of hole. United Pest Solutions talks about what you can do to keep overwinter pests out of your home during the winter months.

It’s the middle of winter, and pests that don’t like the cold, seek shelter, food and water in your home, where it’s nice and warm.  When insects come inside for the winter, there is a term you may hear called  “overwintering.”   Learn what overwintering means, which pests overwinter in the Pacific Northwest, and ways you can prevent them from invading your home.

What Does Overwintering Mean?

Overwinter is a term used to describe organisms, whether plants or animals, that wait out winter. So in regards to pests, an overwintering pest is one that lives through the cold temperatures of winter. They typically find a warm, safe place and stay put until winter passes. Kind of like how a bear hibernates in the winter.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are larger than most ants here in the Pacific Northwest. They can be black, brown or red. Carpenter ant colonies will typically remain dormant in the winter. But if carpenter ants have found a place to stay warm, say your house or a shed, they may forgo hibernating.

Carpenter ants are one of the most structurally damaging in the Pacific Northwest. They’ll destroy sheds, furniture, and even structural beams. So if you have a carpenter ant infestation, it’s important you contact a pest control technician immediately. You can learn more about carpenter ants in our helpful Carpenter Ants information page.

Spiders

Spiders are cold-blooded. They can survive cold temperatures because their bodies adapt to keep them from freezing. Think antifreeze in a car. Many spiders will take shelter in sheds, leaf or rock piles, and in tree bark. They are not drawn to a warm home and typically don’t try to get inside of it for the winter. This is a myth. However, if you do see spiders in your home, it’s likely they were already there. You just didn’t see them before.

Spiders like areas that go undisturbed like cluttered areas in garages and basements or underneath furniture. So to prevent spiders from getting inside your home seal up any potential entry points and keep your home clutter-free. Our Spider information page goes more in-depth about which spider species are native to the Pacific Northwest.

Rodents

Our homes have everything rodents, like rats and mice, need to live comfortably through the winter; food and warm shelter. And because they can fit into such tiny spaces, they can easily infiltrate your home. Not only are these overwintering pests a nuisance but they also pose health hazards as they carry various bacteria and diseases like Salmonella. Rats and mice can also cause significant damage to your home. They will leave their droppings and urine throughout your home, get into your food, and even chew through electrical wires and wood. You can read more about the various types of rodents we have here in the Puget Sound area in our rodent informational page.

Once a rodent has infiltrated your home for the winter, they’re likely going to stay even when spring emerges. Rats and mice are intelligent so these pests are not easy to remove. That’s why it’s important to find a technician who’s highly-experienced in rodent control.

If you are experiencing a pest problem, contact United Pest Solutions. Our certified pest control technicians are trained to deal with a wide range of pests. We’ll ensure your home or business is well protected. We also offer an Enhanced All Seasons Plan, to keep your home pest-free all year round. So contact us today for all your pest control needs!