When you think of attics, you may think of dusty boxes, spooky shadows, and, yes, mice. It's not a pleasant image, so you try not to think about it. After all, you can avoid the attic indefinitely, thus putting off any feared confrontations with a clan of rodents that may be living under the same roof with you. But the fact is, if you have rodents in the attic, you have more than a small population of furry roommates --- you have a problem. Mice can bring with them a number of dangerous possibilities that you should be aware of.
Danger of Rodents
The first danger of rodents or mice in the attic is the threat they pose to the structure of your home. Mouse holes can lead to a problem with leaking and water damage, and rodents can gnaw at and ruin insulation. If you have rodents in the attic that are fond of wiring, you have a potential fire hazard on your hands. You'll also find everything from the corners of cardboard boxes to the edges of rafters breaking or wearing down from incessant gnawing. Other dangers include the ushering in of other animals and insects through their holes, distracting noises and diseases that humans can come in contact with through food contaminated with mouse urine.
Rodents in the Attic
A number of reasons account for the attic's popularity with rodents. For one thing, it is close to a regular source of food in the kitchen and pantry below. In addition to the proximity of nourishment, there is the general safety of the attic. Here a rodent will typically not encounter the kinds of predators that would constantly be a threat in the outdoors. Humans are also a predator, and since the attic is usually not frequented, they are also avoided. The warmth and darkness of attics makes conditions ripe for breeding.
Indications of Rodents
The indications of rodents will be relatively obvious. If you hear scurrying in the walls, the sound most likely comes from a squirrel or rat that has made its way inside. Frazzled wiring, droppings and gnawed surfaces, such as rafters or thresholds, are other sure signs you have a problem. The odds are, if you have a rodent infestation, you already know about it.
How to Control Rodent Infestations
Controlling rodents or mice in the attic can be a hands-on project or something you leave to pest control professionals. If you choose to do something yourself, you can use poison or traps. Unfortunately, these methods will only eliminate individual rodents, and you'll be plagued by the smell of them decomposing. You can also buy a cat or take preventative measures, such as searching out and closing off any holes or cracks rodents might be entering through. The best way to control a rodent infestation is to call a rodent or pest control service.
- United Wildlife Control: Mouse Trapping, Removal, Extermination, and Damage Prevention
- Florida Wildlife Control: How to Get Rid of Rats in the Attic
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Rat Management Guidelines---UC IPM
- CAES Publications UGA: Rats and Mice: Get Them Out of Your House and Yard
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images