Reports of Bed Bugs Are Down in Toronto… But Reports of Mice Are Up!
The pandemic has caused a lot of changes for everyone. Lots of people are staying home, avoiding crowded places, and generally trying to keep away from other humans. While that’s a serious change for our species, it’s also deeply affecting the pests that like to live with us.
One upside to the pandemic is that bed bug populations have crashed in Toronto. Since people just aren’t going to hotels or other travel hotspots, bed bugs aren’t able to hitch a ride with them. Pest control experts in the area report that they’ve had many fewer bed bug calls this year than they have in years previous.
However, not all pests are deterred by the change in human habits. While bed bugs aren’t able to change their situation, other larger pests can. Specifically, mice and rat sightings have increased dramatically over the course of the pandemic. These rodents are appearing in places they’ve never explored before — including residential homes.
There’s a reason for the rat and mouse explosion: since restaurants are largely shut down, they’ve been starved out of their normal homes. In other words, it’s unlikely that the total rodent population has increased. They’re just moving to where the people are so they can get a bite to eat.
If you’ve spotted a small rodent near your home, you probably have a problem in the works. However, there’s a significant difference between a mouse infestation and a rat infestation. Telling the difference between the two can help you figure out how to evict your particular pest from your property.
Mice vs. Rats: A Big Difference
There are three major ways to spot the difference between a mouse and a rat:
Spot checking these three identifiers will help you figure out what you’re dealing with in no time.
First and foremost, rats are significantly larger than mice. An average mouse is about an ounce, while rats can weigh as much as a pound. Most mice are just two inches long, while rats are frequently five inches or longer. Furthermore, rats have thicker, almost scaly tails, whereas mice have thin pink tails.
Next, if you can’t spot the rodents themselves, go on a hunt for droppings. Since mice are much smaller, they tend to leave small mounds of small pellets — like rabbit droppings, but less than a quarter inch in size. On the other hand, rat droppings are larger, smellier, and less common. If you spot any type of rodent dropping, follow CDC guidelines for cleaning it up, since they can spread disease.
Finally, you may also find a nest when you’re looking for these pests. Mice nests are usually near a food source, and full of soft fluffy material like fur, dried grass, or insulation. Meanwhile, rats tend to form burrows instead of nests, so you’ll see holes dug into and around your foundation.
How to Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Home
Regardless of whether you’re worried about mice or rats, you can protect your home the same way. Rodents like cluttered, crowded spaces, since this helps them stay out of sight. They’re attracted to yards with dense shrubs, long grass, or other greenery that’s thick low to the ground. By keeping your yard well-maintained, especially near your home, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping the rodent population away.
They also love unprotected food. Garbage cans sitting outside are smelly restaurants for mice and rats alike. Keeping your garbage cans in your garage can help prevent rodents from spotting them.
Once rats and mice are near your home, they’ll start trying to find their way inside. These pests prefer warm, dry areas, so it’s natural that they’ll attempt to get indoors, closer to food and away from the elements. Rats and mice can get inside through holes as small as half an inch wide. That means that they can enter through vents, utility and plumbing line holes, and even through gaps under your doors.
Maintaining your home’s exterior is the best way to keep rodents outside where they belong. It’s important to seal every gap, especially if your neighborhood is developing a rodent problem. Having a pest control specialist come by to check your exterior is the easiest way to guarantee your home is safe.
If you’re concerned about a rodent problem, contact GreenLeaf Pest Control right away. Rats and mice breed incredibly quickly, so a small problem can become a huge infestation in just weeks. The sooner you take control of your pest problem, the quicker it will be over.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert and a regular guest on HGTV. He is renowned in the industry as an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions. Mackie and business partner Sandy Costa were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.