Most Arizonans are more familiar with pests like scorpions and roaches, but don’t let your guard down: mice and rats can also get into your personal space and give you and your family a headache. Agile and hardy survivors, these tiny rodent mammals thrive alongside humans, content to live in your walls and feed on your trash.
What’s the difference between rats and mice?
While often talked about as if they’re synonymous, rats and mice are actually quite different from one another, in appearance, behaviors, and even food sources:
- Mice: These sparrow-sized rodents are tough scavengers, with excellent senses and the ability to breed very rapidly. They tend to establish a nesting site within your home, and then conduct short expeditions out from there to find food: they enjoy cereals, grains, and seeds. If there’s an opening of more than ¼ of an inch, they can squeeze through it. They drop black feces that smell musty.
- Rats: Larger than mice, Arizona hosts three species—brown, black, and roof rats. They have poor eyesight, and rely on their other senses to get around. Both mice and rats are omnivores—meaning they can and will eat both meat and plant matter—but rats are more likely to engage their carnivorous side, and become a predator for smaller creatures. Unlike mice, they’re willing to travel to get what they want—and where they want.
How do I tell if I have a rodent problem?
Look for their droppings, or take a look around at your home. If you see wood or paper that has been gnawed at, it might be time to call AZ Best Pest.
Here are some other favorite hiding places:
- In ceilings and walls
- In attics and crawlspaces
- Under or behind cabinets, counters, shower stalls, and bathtubs
- In close proximity to hot water heaters and furnaces
- In storage, including stored clothes, paper, or boxes
- In trash that has been left on the ground
- Under tall grass, bushes, or vines that have not been trimmed
How do I keep rats and mice out?
Rats and mice are relatively skilled at sneaking into your home. Once there, they’ll establish a nest, where they can breed and establish a viable population.
Rodents benefit from human mess and trash. Unlike pests that are bloodsucking (like mosquitos) or predatory to other pests (scorpions), mice and rats have picked your home because they have regular access to warmth, security, and food. Here are some steps you can take to make your house an unwelcoming place:
- Pick up garbage and keep your home and property clean, especially of food waste.
- Make sure your garbage lids are securely closed, or fastened.
- Trim your bushes and trees around your property. The latter is especially important, as roof rats can climb into your roof from trees overhanging your property.
- Do not leave unconsumed pet food outside.
What do I do if I have rats and mice?
Give AZ Best Pest a call, or schedule a free rodent control inspection with us online. We provide fast, Valley-wide service throughout the Phoenix metro, and we’ll help you tell your home’s rodents that it’s time to hit the road.