Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Successfully Navigating a Household Rodent Problem When On a Budget

I am not scared of bugs. I don't freak out when I see one scuttling across my house. But while I am not scared of mice, when I saw one run across the floor of my house it did get me freaked out a bit. We definitely don't want to need to deal with rodent issues in our homes, but when they come up, here are some ways to deal with them without spending too much money.

About 14 million (of approximately 124 million) occupied housing units in the U.S. reported seeing roaches in their homes during the last 12 months, while nearly 14.8 million reported seeing rodents, according to the 2019 American Housing Survey. While coming across a rodent — whether it be a tiny mouse or a massive rat — can be a frightening event, addressing the matter as soon as possible is essential in maintaining a healthy and hazard free home. Thankfully, there are plenty of options when looking to do so — even when on a budget.

The risks involved from health to home

Finding rodents in your home can present several health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rats and mice are known to spread a variety of diseases, which can be spread to people directly, through handling rodents or through a rodent’s bite, or through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva. Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever are just a few diseases that can be spread directly by rodents. With droppings and urine being quite prevalent when rodents are around, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible.

Rodents can cause damage to the home itself, which can unfortunately lead to damage and costly repairs for homeowners. For example, rats can ruin furniture, cause structural damage to the home, and can even cause damage to electrical wiring. While wiring presents the perfect opportunity for rodents to keep their continuously growing teeth at an optimal length, the issue can become severely dangerous. In addition to leading to short circuits and damaging the wires themselves, rodents can cause electrical fires by chewing on wiring, making it essential to address the issue as soon as you notice the presence of rodents in your home.

Recognizing the signs

Whether you’ve already seen a rodent scurrying about your home or you suspect that you could have a pest problem, knowing the signs of rodents in the home can help. Since rats and mice are nocturnal, you likely won’t see them during the day. When determining a rat infestation, David Cross, Head of Technical Training Academy at Rentokil Pest Control tells Country Living a variety of signs to watch out for. “Rats have a very strong ammonia smell. On top of this they are often very noisy, making audible scrabbling noises as they move around the home,” Cross says. Finding rodent droppings, grease smears on walls (which come from rats brushing up against them), footprints, and damage to your home are additional signs of a rat infestation, according to Cross.

Budget-friendly options and beyond

When looking to successfully address a household pest issue, chemical solutions are the go-to choice for many. While these already present a cost-effective route vs. calling in a professional, rat poisons can present a dangerous hazard to people and pets in the home. For such reasons, natural home remedies are a budget-friendly option worth looking into when looking to manage a small pest issue. Inspecting the outside of your home and sealing any cracks or potential openings that rodents can use to enter your home, for instance, is just one great place to start, as it will work to prevent additional pests from entering. Regarding cheap solutions, Way.com highlights a variety of home remedies, such as deterring mice with the use of an apple cider vinegar mixture, placing kitty litter in strategic points, or using mothballs (though while budget-friendly, it’s important to keep in mind that mothballs are toxic).

Implementing the use of traps is just another great budget-friendly option, while the use of humane traps (where the rodent is caught and then released) presents another to consider, and can be made with simple household items, according to Healthline. However, while finding and catching a rodent or two can generally be managed on one’s own, it’s imperative to know when to call a professional so that you can ensure that your home isn’t a hazard. If you’ve tried your hand at mitigating the problem yourself, have tried numerous methods that just don’t seem to work, or the situation has otherwise gotten out of hand (and has become an infestation), calling a reputable professional pest control company will ensure that the matter is taken care of in a proper and swift manner.

For many, finding a rodent (or more) indoors can be an overwhelming and stressful event. By knowing the risks involved and how to go about navigating the issue, you can get rid of your rodent problem in no time — and prevent a recurrence even when on a budget.