In their efforts to shelter from the cold outdoor temperatures of winter, rats and squirrels can be very destructive to Jacksonville Florida homes and property.
Rats and squirrels are opportunistic. They will run along utility lines/wiring to your home then squeeze through the gaps around them. They can jump from limbs of nearby or overhanging trees, and climb rough, vertical surfaces.
The rodents also can get through very small holes and gaps under eaves, gutters, gables, and siding; through vents, broken windows, and knot holes, and down chimneys. And if a space isn’t large enough – rats and squirrels will simply gnaw voraciously to make it larger.
Rat and Squirrel Destruction
This gnawing, as well as their foraging and tunneling, can cause significant damage to the structure of the home – from the foundation to the roof, and everything in between.
Once inside, rats and squirrels continue their destruction, damaging insulation, wood doors, floors, walls, and even furniture with their gnawing and nest-building. Rats can even gnaw through lead pipe, water hoses, mortar, concrete; and both rats and squirrels will chew electrical wiring causing a fire hazard.
Outdoors, squirrels and rats also will cause destruction as they hunt for food. Both will dig up gardens and lawns to get to flower bulbs and seedlings, and squirrels will dig for nuts and strip bark from trees. And if either of these rodent pests die indoors or outside, you can end up with new pest issues – from secondary pests, such as mites, flies, carrion beetles, ticks, fleas, and other parasitic insects.
How do you know if you have rats or squirrels?
You will know you have rats or squirrels if you have …
… gnawing or gnawed holes on or in any part of your home, garage, or other structures.
… nests/nesting materials, such as shredded insulation, chewed fabrics, etc., in the attic, basement, storage room, or in sheltered areas on your property.
… droppings. Because the feces of rats and squirrels are very similar in size and shape, the easiest way to differentiate the two is the placement. Squirrel droppings will generally be clustered in a single spot, while rats will be randomly strewn – and generally more abundant.
… tracks. Rat tracks are evidenced by splayed toes, while squirrel toe tracks will more closely aligned.
… the sound of scurrying feet above the ceiling or in the chimney or walls, especially at night.
Or if you see the rats or squirrels themselves!
Rat and Squirrel Management
You can help to prevent rat and squirrel destruction and entry by reducing the attraction, harborage, and entry points through thorough pest-proofing of your home. (See our blog on 7 Tips for Success to Pest Proof Your Home.)
If you find that rodents have already entered, contact Lindsey Pest Management today! We will design an Integrated Pest Management program, customized to your home and infestation level, including inspection, treatment, rodent proofing, and communication and documentation.