Identifying a Rodent Infestation: What are the Signs to Look For

December 20, 2023

Home / The Orkin Blog / Identifying a Rodent Infestation: What are the Signs to Look For

Discovering signs of a rodent infestation in unexpected places is a common experience for our Orkin Pros™, who regularly encounter rodents in various nooks and crannies throughout buildings and homes. Rats and mice are adept at exploring hidden areas for food, water, and shelter, often slipping through seemingly tiny openings. Despite their sneaky nature, rodents, are known for their lack of cleanliness and leave behind many noticeable indications of a potential rodent infestation.

Signs of a Rodent Problem

Recognizing a Rodent Issue quickly and incorporating proactive rodent monitoring; preventive strategies into your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and regular sanitation practices is crucial. It’s also important to involve your staff in this effort. By staying vigilant, you can identify potential signs of a rodent problem within your facility.

  1. Droppings Abound: Rodents, while stealthy, leave droppings wherever they go. Mouse droppings look like small, black grains of rice. Rat droppings are larger, capsule-shaped droppings. Check cabinets, drawers, and along baseboards for these unsanitary droppings. Remember to take precautions, such as wearing gloves and respirators during any dropping removal. Fresh droppings are moist, soft while old droppings are dry and hard.
  2. Gnaw Marks: In order to keep their always growing teeth at a manageable length rodents need to chew. Look for evidence of chew marks on furniture, electrical wiring, insulation, flooring, pallets, and food containers. Pay attention to scratching noises, especially at night, as they may indicate rodent activity.
  3. Greasy Rub Marks: Rodents leave dark grease marks on surfaces they frequently touch due to their oily fur. Check for rodent rub marks along walls, baseboards, and around potential entry points. Darker stains may help indicate their preferred routes and aid pest control professionals in trap placement.
  4. Foul Odours: Rodents will mark their travel paths and resting places with scents. Often leaving a musty, urine scent in their favorite spots. Certain unpleasant aromas in specific areas of your business could be a sign of rodent activity. Many people will not know what rodent urine smells like. The odour is mainly due ammonia that results from breakdown of urea in rodent urine. An infested area with rodent urine will give off a musky pungent ammonia odour.
  5. Crafty Nests: Rodents are very resourceful and will build nests using various materials such as shredded paper, cloth, or cardboard. Look for nests in dark corners, like storage areas that are not commonly used, between walls, and in garbage areas around your property.
  6. Burrows: Some rodents scurry along roofs, while others take refuge underground, creating nests in burrows. Rats and mice can construct intricate tunnels or simple holes so be on the lookout for hidden burrows on your property. Burrows are often in hidden spots such as under dense vegetation, bushes, or rocks. Rats especially Norway rats can burrow in unfinished basements and crawl spaces with no concreate floors.
  7. Damaged Products: One of the reasons rodents venture indoors is for food, they will try, and access packed or exposed food items on counters. This can include cereal boxes, cookies, crackers, flour bags, pet foods, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Lookout for holes, tears, gnaw marks on packaging and chewing on actual food items.
  8. Seeing Live Or Finding Dead Rodents is sure sign of activity.

Considering Rodent Control For Your Business

Rodents act swiftly in making your business their home so prompt action is required. If you are worried about a rodent infestation contact your local Orkin Pro today to ensure it is dealt with promptly. Severe infestations may require specialized treatments, a proactive approach is the best defense.

Your highly trained local Orkin Pro will collaborate with you to develop a tailored rodent control plan for your business or property. If you suspect an infestation, you should promptly seek an inspection, consultation, and customized solutions to safeguard your customers, employees and your business reputation.

Remove pests from your business, and stop them from coming back

We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation consultation today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

Request a Free Business Consultation
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Alice Sinia Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services

Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on December 18 2023.

Master of Science Degree in Pest Management (MSc.) – Simon Fraser University; BSc. (Hons) Biological Sciences (Entomology & Parasitology) – Makerere University; Advanced Level Certificate of Education – Trinity College; Ph.D. – University of Guelph)

With more than 20 years of experience, Alice is responsible for the management of the Orkin Canada Quality Assurance Laboratory located at our GTA Training Centre. She performs analytical entomology (investigates product adulteration using biochemical and comparative tissue methods), and provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients nationwide. In addition, Alice also prepares scientific reports for Orkin Canada clients, updates Orkin management on any changes or updates to any government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. Alice also performs quality assurance account compliance audits.

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We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation consultation today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

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