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!

Differences Between Rats and Mice

Differences between rats and mice in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

Mice versus rats in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsMice and rats are often talked about like they are the exact same animal. But, in reality, they are quite different; from their appearances to their eating habits, rats and mice are very distinct rodents with their own sets of characteristics.

Why is it Important to Know if I Have Rats or Mice?

Both mice and rats are dangerous pests that can spread diseases and cause considerable damage to homes. They look fairly similar, and their infestations often have the same signs – such as gnawing marks, droppings, or scratching noises. So, why is it important to know the difference between the two rodents?

Taking the time to understand rats and mice can help you better protect your home from these pests. A good pest control plan will take into consideration what type of rodent you are facing; after all, what works to deter mice will not necessarily work against rats. To help you tell these animals apart, we’ve outlined some of the main differences between rats and mice.

Characteristics of Rats

  • Large body size
  • Tend to be shy of new objects
  • Can travel long distances for food
  • Needs 1/2 “ to get through
  • Droppings cylindrical and ½” long
  • Requires water daily
  • Reproduces at a slower rate

Characteristics of Mice

  • Smaller body size
  • Tend to be curious of new objects
  • Usually travel short distances
  • Need ¼” to get through
  • Droppings size of rice
  • Needs no water source
  • Reproduces at a faster rate

Mice are much smaller than rats, typically growing up to 7 inches. Their ears and eyes are much larger in comparison to their body size. Mice require around 3g of food per day and usually feed within a few feet of the nest . They are usually easier to trap, but harder to seal out (due to small size). Mice are capable of leaving behind over 80 droppings in a single day, which are about 1-2 mm in size. Throughout a year, a single mouse can have 100+ pups per year.

Meanwhile, rats are much larger and can grow up to 20 inches. Rats require between 15 and 30g of food per day, and tend to travel farther from the nest for food. They are typically harder to trap but easier to seal out (due to large size). They generally only leave behind about 40 droppings per day. These droppings are about 10-20 mm in size. Throughout the year, a single rat can have dozens of pups.

When dealing with a rodent infestation, it can be helpful to identify what type of pest you are up against. If you are struggling to get rid of rodents in your home or building, it can also be helpful to call a pest control expert. With rats and mice, it is important to eliminate infestations as quickly as possible to avoid health issues or property damage.

Why Do Rodents Enter Homes?

Rodent in a home in Seattle WA - United Pest Solutions

Rodent in a home in Seattle WA - United Pest SolutionsRodents are pesky creatures that can cause all sorts of problems. Bite marks on your walls, chewed-up wires, germ-ridden droppings, and the risk of disease are just a few of the issues rodents can cause if they get inside your home.

Even worse is how resilient these creatures can be; they can fit into tiny spaces, survive off of strange food sources, and withstand some pretty harsh conditions, which makes it difficult to stop an infestation once it’s started.

But, if rodents are so hardy and equipped to survive outdoors, why are they so determined to get inside your home in the first place? Well, similar to you, they want to live somewhere comfortable and convenient. Here are some of the main reasons why rodents are attracted to your home:

  • It’s warm and cozy. Especially when the winter chill sets in, rodents will begin to look for a warm place to stay. Because they’re warm-blooded animals, rodents need shelter when it’s freezing out. For that reason, your home may seem like the perfect place for them to get away from the cold.
  • There’s plenty of food sources. Food out in the open is like a free buffet for rodents. But, even if you properly store your food, these pests may still find strange things to snack on. Rats in particular will eat all sorts of things we wouldn’t consider edible, from compost material and garbage to pet waste and bar soap.
  • There’s moisture all around. Rodents need constant moisture to drink from, and your home likely has plenty of sources for them to choose from. Leaking pipes, pet bowls, dripping faucets, or a damp basement are all places that a rodent may be drawn to.

How to Keep Rodents From Getting Inside

Since many rodents would consider your home a paradise, it’s important to take the proper precautions to keep these pests outside. Some ways to keep rodents from entering your home include:

  • Fixing any cracks, holes, or openings. Rodents are small and can fit through surprisingly small spaces. Reducing the number of openings into your home can prevent rodents from crawling indoors.
  • Keep your trash covered – even outdoors. An uncovered trash bin can alert rodents that there’s food nearby, which can attract them into your home. Keeping a secure lid on your bin can keep rodents at bay.
  • Seal off any leaky pipes or faucets. Rodents are also drawn to moisture, so a leaky pipe or faucet can bring them into your home. Preventing rodents from entering your house is just another reason to fix any drips.
  • Keep all of your food carefully stored. Though rodents can eat all sorts of things, they’ll definitely be drawn to food that isn’t properly stored. Placing your snacks in airtight containers can limit the amount of food they have access to inside of your home, which may prompt them to find somewhere else to live.

Expert Rodent Control

If you’ve tried everything and still keep finding signs of rodents inside of your home, it may be time to turn to the experts. That’s where United Pest Solutions can help! Since 1960, our experienced pest control technicians have been keeping homes in the Seattle WA metropolitan area pest-free. We can help identify an infestation and provide effective solutions so you don’t have to worry about a rodent outbreak in your home. Contact us today to schedule an inspection!

Pests that Trigger Allergy Symptoms

Woman sneezing inside home. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the pests that trigger allergy symptoms.

Woman sneezing inside home. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the pests that trigger allergy symptoms.With the temperatures getting warmer and flowers starting to bloom, many people will start to experience the symptoms of seasonal allergies. But what if pollen isn’t the only cause of your sinus problems? Many people don’t know that common household pests such as cockroaches and rodents can also trigger allergy symptoms.

With May being National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, we at United Pest Solutions are sharing the pests that can cause allergies and what you can do to help prevent an infestation.

Cockroaches

Everyone knows cockroaches are disgusting and can spread diseases and bacteria, but few know they can trigger allergy symptoms. Cockroach droppings, shedded skin, saliva, and other body parts from cockroaches contain proteins that can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms, especially in older adults and children. Symptoms may include congestion, coughing, ear infections, and rashes.

Rodents

Like cockroaches, mice and rats are also known to be nasty critters. They can spread diseases and viruses, including salmonellosis, hantavirus, and rat-bite fever. Rodents can also trigger allergy and asthma symptoms through their saliva, skin, urine, and dander–which can get into the air as these pests scurry around.

Top Pest Prevention Tips

Exposure to cockroaches and rodents can be dangerous. But because both of these pests are nocturnal, most homeowners don’t even know they have an infestation. We recommend the following tips for protecting your home against pests that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

  • Seal cracks and crevices around your home, paying attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter
  • Seal holes in screen doors and windows
  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Regularly throw out trash
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Eliminate areas of standing water

Are Pests Causing Your Allergies?

If you’re concerned about pest-related allergies in your Seattle area home, turn to United Pest Solutions to schedule an inspection from our experienced pest control team. We’ve been serving the greater Seattle area for more than 60 years. We treat pest problems and help prevent them from returning using safe and environmentally-friendly solutions.

5 Rodent Control Tips for Winter

Rat in a cupboard. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about 5 rodent control tips for winter.

Rat in a cupboard. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about 5 rodent control tips for winter.Cold weather can cause more than just higher heating bills. Cooler temperatures can also lead to rodent infestations. Rodents can contaminate food and spread potentially harmful diseases to your family such as salmonella and Hantavirus. Plus, rodents can also cause structural damage by chewing on wood, insulation, and electrical wiring.

At United Pest Solutions, we know preventing a rodent infestation is much easier than treating one so we are offering tips to help keep rodents away this winter.

1. Trim Back Shrubbery and Trees

Rodents will climb on tree branches and shrubs to access your home, especially roof rats. Make it harder for rodents to reach your home by cutting tree branches that hang over your home and trimming hedges that hug your home.

2. Secure Windows and Doors

Rodents can squeeze through openings smaller than their bodies. With this in mind, you’ll want to repair or replace any damaged window screens. As for doors, you can install a door sweep to the bottom of your door and add weather stripping to the door frame. This will prevent rodents from gaining access into your home and improve your energy efficiency.

3. Seal Cracks

Seal cracks and holes outside of your home, including areas where pipes and utility lines enter, using caulk, steel wool, or a combination of both. Homeowners with chimneys should also consider a chimney cap.

4. Store Food Properly

Rodents are looking for more than just a warm place to stay–they also need food. Store food, including pet food in airtight plastic storage containers with lids. This will keep curious rodents out as well as keep food fresh. Also, wipe countertops and pantry shelves to remove food residue and sweep up crumbs.

5. Declutter

Eliminate clutter wherever possible to reduce nesting places for rodents. These pests will gnaw on cardboard, newspapers, insulation, and books to create nests so store your belongings in plastic containers with lids.

Need Rodent Control?

We know how troublesome rodents can be, so make sure your Seattle WA area home is protected against rodents by contacting United Pest Solutions. We specialize in rodent control and exclusion so we’ll treat your rodent problem and help prevent it from recurring.

How Rodents Can Destroy Your Home

Rodent in homes. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about how rodents can destroy your home.

Rodent in homes. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about how rodents can destroy your home.Rodents seek warmth, which is why winter is a prime time for rodents to infest homes, outbuildings, and sheds. The rodents that can cause the most damage to your home are small and appear rather innocent. Commonly these are Mice and Rats. Although they aren’t outwardly malicious, they pose very real health and safety risks.

Rodents Cause Damage As They Enter

Like you, rodents want to feel warm and safe. This is why your home is the perfect place for them and they’ll do anything they can to get inside. Some rodents will chew through your roofing to gain access into your home, while others like Norway rats will burrow into your home under your home’s foundation.

Rodents Will Gnaw on Everything

Once a rodent has gained entry into your home, they’ll look for an undisturbed spot to build a nest, such as your basement or attic. To build their nest, they’ll need materials, so they’ll chew on and shred nearly anything in their sight, from insulation and newspapers to boxes and upholstery. Electrical wiring isn’t safe from rodents either, which will not only cause a short circuit but also pose fire risks.

Rodents Can Contaminate Your Food and Surfaces

While those rodents are looking around your home for nesting materials, water, and food, they’ll also leave behind their droppings and urine. This not only contaminates your surfaces but also alerts other rodents that your home is a safe and food-abundant place. And because rodents are equipped with sharp teeth, they can chew through any foods you have stored, contaminating them and potentially spreading disease.

Rodents Spread Diseases

Rats and mice can spread over 35 diseases through direct and indirect contact, including salmonella, tapeworm, hantavirus, and rat-bite fever. People aren’t the only ones at risk either—pets can also become ill from rodent-spread diseases. In fact, pet food is a common treat for rodents.

Rodents are Prolific Breeders

Although a single rodent may not cause reason to be alarmed, populations can grow very quickly. When it comes to rats, females can breed up to 7 litters a year, with around 14 babies in each litter. As for mice, a female house mouse can produce up to 150 young during a single year!

Need Help Protecting Your Home from Rodents?

As you can see, rodents not only threaten your structure, but your health as well. If you have a rodent problem, it’s important to enlist the help of a professional, like United Pest Solutions. Our pest control technicians have the tools, experience, and knowledge to eliminate rodent problems for good.

 

Common Fall Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Rodent inside of home. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about common fall pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely gorgeous. Trees are packed with vibrant colors and lawns are still green, but while you’re admiring all this beautiful change, many pests are looking for a warm safe place to call home.

In this article, we’ll talk about the most common pests you’re likely to encounter this fall.

Rodent outside. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about common fall pests in the Pacific Northwest. Rodents

Rodents are one of the most common pests we see in the fall. Mice and rats will invade homes looking for a reliable source of food and warm shelter. Rodents are not only a nuisance, but they can cause property damage, trigger allergy symptoms, and spread diseases through their urine, saliva, and feces. Rodents are also known to chew on electrical wiring creating safety hazards.

House spider. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about common fall pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Spiders

Autumn is also a time of year when people see an increase in spiders, however, it’s not because they’re trying to get warm. Spiders actually have an “antifreeze” type substance that allows them to withstand temperatures as low as -5°C. Spiders are more active this time of year because males are looking for females to mate with. They may also migrate indoors to follow their prey.

Stink bug on a window. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about common fall pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are known for emitting a very foul odor when they’re squished or feel threatened. These pests don’t bite, but they can damage your plants. If you find one inside of your home, suck them up with a vacuum cleaner then toss it outside immediately.

 

Cockroach outside. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about common fall pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most disgusting pests on our list. They have been around for millions of years and are very adaptable, but they cannot survive extreme temperatures. They’re commonly found in pipes and drains. Cockroaches can trigger allergy symptoms and spread various diseases including Salmonellosis.

Experts in Pest Control

Given the fact these pests can squeeze through the smallest of openings, you’ll want to work with a professional, like United Pest Solutions when it comes to protecting your home against these pests. We’ve been providing environmentally-responsible pest control to homeowners in the Seattle and greater Eastside area of WA for over 60 years. Don’t let your home get overtaken by pests this fall, contact us instead!

How do Rodents Get Inside Homes?

Rodent outside near building. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about how rodents get into homes.

Rodent outside near building. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about how rodents get into homes.Rodents are one of the most common fall pests. When the temperatures dip and food becomes scarce, rats and mice will begin to look for reliable sources of food and warm shelter. And if your home has just what they need, these small pests will do whatever it takes to get inside.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t stop them. In this article, we’ll talk about the areas you should keep a close eye on as you work to pest-proof your home.

Rodent Entry Points

When trying to protect your home against rodents, you’ll want to identify entry points and block them. Common rodent entry points include:

  • Drain pipes
  • Vents, including crawlspace vents and soffit vents
  • Crevices and cracks in your home’s foundation
  • Areas where utilities enter the home
  • Behind fascia boards
  • Eave gaps
  • Windows and doors

Rats and mice can squeeze into the smallest of spaces. They’re also great swimmers and climbers. These are just some facts you’ll want to keep in mind as you identify potential entry points.

Preventing Rodents

Rodents are armed with amazingly strong teeth that never stop growing. They can chew through cement, stucco, wood, and even steel. In addition to making your home uninviting to rodents, you’ll also want to make it harder for these small pests to gain entry into your home.

  • Remove clutter and debris outside of your home
  • Keep your grass well-trimmed
  • Trim shrubbery around your home
  • Prune tree branches so they aren’t touching the roofline
  • Ensure your outside trash cans have tightly sealed lids
  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Maintain cleanliness, picking up after meals
  • Repair leaky plumbing fixtures
  • Seal cracks and crevices outside of your home with 1/4” wire mesh and galvanized screws
  • Remove pet food
  • Screen your chimney and vents

Experts in Rodent Control

If you do end up with a rodent infestation, don’t panic. That’s what we’re here for. The technicians at United Pest Solutions are trained and experienced in rodent control. We’ll treat your home and help prevent future infestations from occurring using safe and effective IPM techniques. So contact us today for fast and reliable rodent control.

5 Tips to Help Keep Rodents Away this Fall

Rodent eating. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about 5 tips to help keep rodents away this fall.

Rodent eating. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about 5 tips to help keep rodents away this fall.Jack-o’-lanterns are being carved, apples are being bobbed for, and families are excitedly walking their neighborhoods in search of sweet treats. Meanwhile, small, hairy, disease-ridden creatures are lurking in the shadows also looking for a treat.

While this sounds like the premise of a horror film, it isn’t. This time of year as the temperature drops, rats and mice are looking for a warm, safe place to call home … and unfortunately, this sometimes means your home.

Rodents can fit into the smallest of spaces and if you have a reliable source of food and water, they’ll do whatever it takes to get inside of your home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help keep them out. Keep reading to learn them now!

1. Seal Cracks and Holes

Rats and mice often get inside of homes through cracks in the home’s foundation. If it’s big enough to see, it’s big enough for a mouse to get in. Use a combination of steel mesh or steel wool along with a silicone-based caulk to seal all of these potential entry points to make it harder for these pests to get inside. Don’t forget those small gaps where utility lines enter your home!

2. Install Door Sweeps

Rats can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter, and mice even smaller. Install door sweeps to the bottoms of your doors to block that gap between the door frame and the door.

3. Replace Weatherstripping

Your weatherstripping are those black-colored strips that run along your door and window frames. Over time they can become damaged or worn. If you close the door and light seeps through, it’s probably time to replace it. Weatherstripping will not only help keep rodents out, but it will also improve your heating and cooling.

4. Trim Shrubs and Eliminate Debris

Make your home look less appealing from the get-go! Rodents are attracted to shrubs, vegetation, stacked firewood, and anything else nestled near your home because they act as harborages. Rodents, particularly roof rats are skilled climbers. They often climb trees, scurry across branches, and leap off to gain access onto your roof and then in your home. Clean up outside and prune your landscaping to help deter these small pests.

5. Cover Vents and Downspouts

Rats and mice may climb up your downspouts to gain access to vents or other openings near the roof of your home. To help prevent this from happening, cover your vents and downspouts with ¼ inch mesh screens. Make sure to inspect them regularly because rodents might chew on them.

Rodents can spread harmful bacteria and diseases, contaminate your food, and damage your home and personal belongings so if you feel your home is vulnerable, give Pioneer Pest Management a call. We use Integrated Pest Management practices which are environmentally sensitive and effective.

Keeping Rodents Away this Fall

Mouse on pile of leaves. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about keeping rodents away this fall.

Mouse on pile of leaves. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA talks about keeping rodents away this fall.Fall is a great time of year. The weather is mild and the leaves are changing colors but don’t get caught basking in the ambiance for too long, because it’s during this time of year when rodents are scouting for a nice warm place to spend winter. And if you aren’t prepared, these pests could be the visitors you never wanted.

Fortunately, United Pest Solutions is here for you. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the dangers of rodents, and how you can help prevent an infestation.

Common Rodents in Seattle WA

Curious what kind of rodents we have? Below is a list of the most common rodents you may encounter in the Seattle area.

Deer mice: Deer mice are about 7 inches in length and typically two-toned. They’re also skilled at running and jumping.
House mice: House mice are generally gray or light brown and about 5 inches in length. They’re not skilled at running and jumping
Norway rats: Norway rats are the largest rats in the Pacific Northwest. Their color can range from grayish-brown to reddish-brown. They’re mostly active at night and commonly found in crawlspaces.
Roof rats: Roof rats have a longer tail than the Norway rat. They’re also more agile. Roof rats are skilled climbers that are also nocturnal. They commonly nest in attics, ceilings, trees, and along rooflines.
Squirrels: Squirrels are a very common wildlife animal but they can be a nuisance if they get stuck in your attic or walls. Like their rodent cousins, squirrels can also damage your property.

The Dangers of Rodents

Rodents can present several issues for homeowners and businesses. They can damage your property and belongings, burrow in furniture and walls, and even cause water leaks. Rodents can also cause safety concerns if they chew through electrical wires. In fact, about 25 percent of house fires with undetermined causes are presumed to be from rodents.

There are also health concerns with rodents. In addition to triggering allergy symptoms and spreading fleas, rodents can also transmit Salmonella, Rate Bite Fever, Hantavirus, Bubonic Plague, and more.

Preventing Rodents

Rodents are small and very clever. Plus they can fit into the smallest of openings. So how do you prevent them? Begin outside of your home.

  • Seal cracks and holes outside of your home, including where utilities enter
  • Maintain lawn and landscaping
  • Ensure tree branches aren’t touching your roof
  • Keep your trash cans tightly closed
  • Store pet food properly
  • Add door sweeps to the bottom of your doors
  • Screen your chimney
  • Screen vents
  • Repair damaged window screens
  • Eliminate clutter
  • Perform rodent inspections

Have a Rodent Problem?

These tips should help prevent a rodent infestation, but if you do find a rodent in your home, or want help deterring pests, contact United Pest Solutions. We’re experts in all pests including rodents. We’ll help you with any pest issues you’re having so you can get back to enjoying life pest-free!