Scurrying in the roof, scratching in the ceiling, walls and under under the floorboards are usually the very first signs of rodents present. You may also find damaged food packages and scattered droppings near feeding areas and around your home.
In later stages of the infestation, dirty and oily looking rub marks along the wall where rats and mice are running, will become more obvious. You will also notice burrows, gnawing marks and chewed out holes in gyprock walls or skirting boards, urine stains, squeaking sounds and bad odour.
The critical point in preventing rats and mice establishing themselves in and around our homes, is deprivation of favourable conditions in which they can thrive. Rodents need food, water and shelter and a drastic reduction to these necessities will create an uninviting surrounding for these critters. In order to minimise the likelihood of a rodent infestation, ensure all garbage bins are closed and no food is left out overnight. Any opening that rats and mice can utilise as an entry must be repaired or proofed. Keep grass short and reduce overgrown areas in your garden. Unnecessary items and goods that may be kept around the house and yard should be removed.
Aside from playing a role in transmitting diseases, rats and mice contaminate stored food, damage utility cables and pipes and are known to have caused fires by gnawing on electrical wiring. Rodents can nest inside machinery, appliances, upholstery, soft furnishings, cavities in the ceiling, under the floor and in piles of rubbish. They are prolific breeders and given suitable conditions they can multiply rapidly. In Sydney not only the climate, but also demolishing for redevelopment, household pets and poultry can contribute strongly to rats and mice relocating and establishing themselves within and around our homes.