Rat and Mice Inspection Tips

See also:
Rodent Control Solutions
Rodent Information
Rodent Biology
Mice at a Glance
Pro-Ketch Multiple Catch Mousetrap Product Information

Doing a thorough and complete inspection of your structure will help you use the right products for your specific needs and help you be successful in your rodent control solutions.

  • Identifying specific rodents and their populations.
  • Inspecting infested buildings and surrounding areas.
  • Excluding rodents from buildings.
  • Determining sanitation concerns that maybe providing rodents with food, water and shelter.
  • Recommending control solutions specific to the rodents and their infestation site(s).
  • Implementing control measures tailored to the site, i.e., sensitive locations, such as food plants, schools or hospitals.
  • Evaluating results and making necessary improvements to the control program as the IPM program evolves.

How to inspect your home or structure:

Rodents are very predictable and you need to start by inspecting the area for obvious infestation clues.

  • Are you seeing droppings of rodents and where?
  • Are you hearing sounds of activity and at what time?
  • You need to look high and low for all possible entry and access points.
  • Look for runways, nests, feeding area, water supplies, vents and other openings, burrows, harborage areas, pipe outlets and holes and cracks in your structure.
  • Check all dark areas in a structure with a flashlight.

Common signs to look for during inspection:

  • Runways:   Rat and mice create paths between feeding and their harborage areas. Rodents memorize their territory through kinesthetic (muscle) memory and use the same paths over and over again. They prefer to move along objects, so that they are in constant contact with some type of object, walls, furniture, cabinets and studs.   Identifying their movement will help you place bait, traps and glue boards in the most obvious locations.
  • Droppings:   Rodent Droppings and urine are left wherever rodents travel or rest, and they especially can be found in corners. Use our rodent identification chart to identify dropping size to help determine type of rodent present.
  • Odor:  Rodents will leave distinctive, musky odor be present.
  • Urine: Rodent urine is visible under black light.
  • Gnaw Marks: Fresh gnaw marks are light and will darken over time. Scratch-like marks, approximately 1/16 inch, are made by mice. Clear 1/8 inch gnaw marks are made by rats.
  • Rub Marks: Rodents leave rub marks from body oil, grease and dirt along runways. New rub marks will smear. Old rub marks are darker and may flake off.
  • Tracks:  Footprints and tail drags may be seen in dusty locations. To view difficult to see tracks, shine a strong flashlight at a low angle across the dust. A non-toxic tracking powder, such as a mason’s line chalk, placed on a suspected rodent trail, and re-inspected the following day, also may assist in identifying tracks.
  • House pets, cats and dogs, can become agitated when they hear mice and rats gnawing, digging, and running and fighting.

While this all may seen time consuming performing a thorough inspection is a key step in any successful rodent IPM program.  Taking the time to do it right will help determine the best mode of treatment and in the long run will help you save time and money.

Monica Bird (946 Posts)

Monica’s compassion for her customer's struggles with pest control issues and passion for pest control stems from over 10 years in the industry. With a master’s degree in entomology, she uses her knowledge and experience in chemistry, insects and pests to educate her customers.


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