Category Archives: Rats & Mice

What Do Animals Do During Fall?

Where do animal pests go when the whether becomes chilly? Surprisingly, many of them stay active before the snowy, winter months hit. Read more to discover what do animals do during fall.

what do animals do during fall

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Migration

Many birds and insects migrate to warmer areas during the chillier months of fall. Because temperatures begin to drop during the fall season, these creatures begin to find more suitable conditions. For example, swallows migrate south once the weather begins to cool and their food sources dwindle. You may think that since some animal pests are leaving during this season you’ll see less activity, but it’s far from the truth. In fact, you may see more activity in your home at this time of year.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Hibernation Preparation

Other animals prepare to hibernate during the fall. Squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs will gather food to store for the winter. Although chipmunks and squirrels do not go into a true hibernation state, they a relatively inactive during the winter. This leads them to frantically stockpile leftover food near your garbages or from your bird feeders. These small mammals can be quite pesky during the fall.

Bats will also hibernate during the cold months. You can expect their presence to taper off as the insect population dies down with the cool weather.

In addition, wasps and bees will still be active during the fall. They do not hibernate until winter. If there’s a nest near your home that needs to be removed, unfortunately the cold weather won’t be enough to detract them. Make sure to call pest control for assistance moving wasps or bee nests.

What Do Animals Do During Fall: Stay Active

Many other animals stay active during this time of year. Skunks, for example, stay in their dens but are awake during winter. You’ll see (and smell) plenty of skunks during the fall. Raccoons behave similarly, and will stay active year round. This means, you still have to be vigilant and remove outdoor food sources for these pests. In fact, you may notice more pest activity because homes have plentiful opportunities for food, while the cool weather limits natural sources.

Opossums are also active during the colder months. You may be surprised to know that they’ll even become active during the day, though they are nocturnal. Nonetheless, you should never take a chance with an opossum behaving strangely, as it may be infected with rabies or another disease.

Lastly, rodents remain highly active during the cold months. You may see more mice and rats in your home during the fall, as fields are plowed and they escape to your safe home. In addition, homes are full of food sources and provide shelter from the elements. Your rodent problem may be highest during the fall. Call Attic Solutions to remove your pests safely and efficiently, so you can enjoy the fall season without pests.

Leptospirosis: One More Pest-Related Infection

In this post, we discuss Leptospirosis, a disease that wild animals could bring into your home.

It threatens the health of your family and pets, so precautions should be taken during and after the animal removal process.

 

What is Leptospirosis?

Animal pests are known to carry many infections and diseases from plague to rabies. These diseases can decimate human populations and have been tough to eradicate.

As a result, education, cleanliness, and pest control have improved to tackle the perpetual pest vector problem.

One infection you may not have heard of is leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is spread through raccoon, rat, and other mammal droppings.

Related post: How Dangerous Are Mice to People and Homes?

Both humans and animals can contract this infection. However, it cannot be passed between humans. The infection can cause serious health complications.

Humans become infected through contact with contaminated food, water, or soil that has infected urine in it. Also, dogs frequently pick up this infection.

 

Signs & Symptoms

Sick emojiSigns of leptospirosis range from severe to mild. Infected people may experience a headache, high fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, meningitis, and even kidney or liver failure. In some cases, the infected show no symptoms.

Related: Common Raccoon Disease

The symptoms appear within 7 to 12 days. Most cases of leptospirosis are mild. However, severe cases are characterized by meningitis, liver damage, and kidney failure.

 

Treatment & Prevention

The infection can be treated with antibiotics. In severe cases, cefotaxime or ceftriaxone are used. Also, salt infusions and dialysis may be used in serious cases.

Mice in House May Carry DiseaseAn estimated ten million people worldwide are diagnosed with severe cases of leptospirosis each year. There may be up to 59,000 deaths annually worldwide.

Related post: Diseases in House Mice

Pest control has helped aid in minimizing the risk of leptospirosis. In addition, you should avoid urine-contaminated water, food, soil, etc. If you believe you’re infected or at risk, seek medical care immediately.

Related post: Dangers of Raccoon Feces in Attic

If you discover raccoons or other pests in or near your home, call animal control to safely remove the pests. Preventing pests from leaving droppings can prevent infections from reaching you and your family.

 

Attic Solutions - Call for Live Animal Removal, Dead Animal Removal, Attic RestorationFor professional animal removal and cleanup in Chicagoland call Attic Solutions (847) 464-1861

Attic Solutions can provide you with humane live animal removal services in the Chicagoland suburbs. 

Satisfaction guaranteed!

 

Related Information: Learn more about Leptospirosis from the Centers for Disease Control

Working Cats In The City

working cats

The Rat Problem

Chicago’s rat problem has grown over the past few years, with complaints up in 2016. Though the mayor is working to address these issues, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. As a result, people are using working cats to combat the rat problem. The Cats at Work Project pits cats against rodents, providing a home for the cats and humanely eradicating rats.

Working Cats

Through this program, felines are put to work by controlling the rat population through their presence and hunting. They are vaccinated and sterile, and often come from former life-threatening situations. This option allows the them to stay out of the shelter system while providing a rodent elimination service from their natural behavior. The felines will hunt the rat pests, not eat them, and keep your home and yard free of animal pests. There have been over 225 working cats successfully placed. Many who have used the program claim to see an immediate rat population decline within a week of having working cats.

Does it Work?

Some criticize the working cats method. Experts say that cats may reduce the number of rodents spotted, but not diminish the number of pests. Because of the cats’ presence, rats may behave more secretively. Experts suggest that there may not be concrete science to back up the eradication of rats due to cat presence. In addition, cats may cause harm to the bird population. They hunt rats, mice, birds, chipmunks and many other small animals. This means, a working cat likely will not discern between animals and target rats, specifically. Lastly, experts are concerned that cats could cause exposure to parasites through their feces. Consequently, the felines would become pests.

How to Get Rid of Rats

Experts suggest limiting the rats’ access to food, water, and shelter. Rats can be tricky to remove though, and breed incredibly quickly to restore any population loss. If you are experiencing a rat problem, contact pest control to take care of the solution safely and effectively immediately.

The Differences Between Rats and Mice

RATS AND MICE:

If you’re not sure which pest has made it’s way into your home, take a look at our list of defining similarities and differences between rats and mice. Although they are similar in some ways, there are significant differences between their behavior, appearance, droppings, and where they may be located or causing damage in your home. Both animals are rodents and reproduce incredibly fast, up to 10 times a year, so if you suspect they may be in your home, call pest control immediately.

Wood mouseMICE:

  • Smaller 3-10 cm
  • Nocturnal
  • White, brown, or gray
  • Produces 40-80 droppings a day, smaller sized with one pointed end and one rounded end
  • Long thing, hairy tails
  • Triangular snouts
  • Long whiskers
  • Have larger eyes in proportion to their bodies
  • Live 1 year in wild, up to 6 in captivity
  • Prefer carb-loaded food like cereal, occasionally fruits and sweets
  • Do not usually burrow or dig, make nests instead
  • Cannot typically gnaw through glass and metal containers
  • Gnaw electrical wiring & cardboard boxes
  • Timid nature, not aggressive
  • May be found in nests in the walls of a home

RatRATS:

  •  Larger in body size, larger heads and feet proportionally, 16-40 cm
  • Nocturnal
  • White, gray, brown, or black depending on species
  • Produced 20-40 droppings a day, larger sized and banana shaped
  • Long tails, hairless and scaly
  • Blunt snout
  • Have smaller eyes in proportion to their bodies
  • Live about 1.5 years in wild
  • Prefer grains and meat foods
  • Burrowing behavior, can dig deep long burrows near your foundation or in your yard
  • Can gnaw through sheet metal, building materials, cinder blocks, wood, and glass
  • Greasy fur may leave marks on surfaces that they scurry across
  • Depending on species may be found in basement (Norway Rat) or attic (Roof Rats)

Types of Rats

There are two primary types of rats that live in the United States: the roof rat and the Norway rat. Both of these pests can be quite troublesome in your home and infest different areas. It is not impossible for a roof rat infestation to exist in the attic while a Norway rat infestation is in the basement of a home.

types of rats

Roof Rats

These dark colored rats nest above ground, fitting the name “roof rats.” They are slender and have very little hair. Roof rats, or black rats, are great climbers and prefer to live in trees, woodpiles, wall cavities, and ceilings. In fact, these rats spend 90% of their life 4 or more feet off the ground. Common signs of roof rats include seeing them on trees, power lines, and roofs, discovering banana shaped rat droppings, hearing noises in the walls and attic, and identifying gnaw marks near roof eaves. Roof rats have much longer, scaly tails, are smaller in size, and have larger, hairless ears than Norway rats.

types of rats

Norway Rats

These rats are sometimes known as sewer rats, as they can be found there regularly. Norway rats like to burrow and live under concrete slabs and infest basements. Norway rats are found in 48 states in America and all continents besides Antarctica. They are considered the most successful mammal on the planet besides humans. Common signs of Norway rats include gnaw marks on wiring and furniture, banana shaped rat droppings, rat tracks, and unexplained grease marks from their oily coats on the floor or walls. Norway rats are usually brown or gray and larger than roof rats but have shorter tails.

If you suspect either of these rats in your home, call pest control immediately to take care of them and prevent or treat an infestation.

Which Pest Is Most Dangerous?

We compare the following species of animal and insect pests to determine which ones are the most dangerous animals to your family, pets, and home.

Dangerous Pest Ranking:

1 = Most Dangerous Animal
2 = Dangerous Animal
3 = Least Dangerous Animal

dangerous animals, are raccoons dangerous

Raccoons – 2

Raccoons can be aggressive when cornered, but generally leave people and pets alone. They can cause major home/shed/yard damage, as they are incredibly curious and like to take revenge. They are known to tear apart cushions, wallpaper, garbage cans, and any food source within reach.

dangerous bats, are bats dangerous

Bats – 3

Bats are known incorrectly as being bloodthirsty vampires, but they’re quite harmless. Bats rarely bite, but their bite is nearly guaranteed to give the victim rabies if the bat is infected. Other than this potential danger, bats avoid humans. If a bat is in your home, they’re probably trying to figure out how to escape.

dangerous squirrel, are squirrels dangerous

Squirrels – 3

Squirrels can cause quite a bit of damage to yards. Squirrels are constantly searching for food, which means tearing apart the plants, gardens, and bark to find a snack. It’s debated whether squirrels carry plague or diseases that affect humans, but probably best not to take chances.

dangerous skunks, are skunks dangerous

Skunks – 2

Skunks are well known for their pungent spray smell that takes days to disappear. This smell is probably worse than any behavior they exhibit, though. Skunks are not aggressive creatures. By nature, the skunk is a defender, not a fighter. Skunks can carry distemper, roundworms and other parasites, which can cause harm to pets.

dangerous groundhogs, are groundhogs dangerous

Groundhogs – 2

Groundhogs are territorial creatures, which lead them to be aggressive, particularly near their dens. They can move significant quantities of dirt and cause structural damage to foundations and homes, aside from major garden destruction. In addition, groundhogs can also carry roundworms, which can affect dogs.

dangerous opossums, are opossums dangerous

Opossums – 3

Opossums are known for their defense of “playing dead,” and are not very aggressive. Sometimes they show off their teeth as a scare tactic. If provoked, they may attack. They are about as dangerous as a cat.

dangerous rats, are rats dangerous

Rats & Mice – 1

Rats are perhaps the most dangerous pest that could enter your home. Both rats and mice carry many diseases and parasites that are harmful to humans and pets. Rats can eat through nearly anything, including glass, electrical wiring, and wood (all of which can cause major home damage). Both reproduce very quickly and are difficult to eradicate once established in a home. Luckily, they are not aggressive animals.

*It is important to note that most of these animals are not highly aggressive and if a pest is behaving extremely aggressively towards you and your pets, it may have rabies. Contact wildlife removal immediately.

Evanston Asks Residents To Help With Rat Abatement

RatA recent Chicago Tribune headline took some people by surprise: “City enlists residents in fight against rats.” The city was Evanston, Illinois, and officials from the city’s health and human services department are asking the public to help them in the city’s rat abatement program. Evanston’s director of health and human services, Evonda Thomas-Smith, addressed the city council in May regarding the department’s new strategy. She explained that resident involvement is important for the rat-control program to be successful. Residents are asked to call 311 to report rats and get liability waivers so inspectors can go on their property and arrange for abatement methods. Residents can also help by keeping garbage and food in tightly sealed containers, maintaining grass, shrubs, weeds and other vegetation, and close any openings in garage doors and walls. Additionally, people can be mindful of what inspectors call the “35 cents rule.” The 35 cents rule refers to holes in the ground: a hole the size of a quarter can fit a rat and a hole the size of a dime can fit a mouse.

Inspectors have all also been out walking the city in full force. They’re searching for any rat infestations and colonies as well as identifying areas that may be appealing to rats. Some of those areas are on residential property and often involved a property-code violation of city ordinance. One property owner had a pile of wood along with a tire and other debris stacked against his back porch. The tire was additionally troublesome because according to the inspectors it can collect water, creating a breeding a ground for mosquitoes, which is a concern due to West Nile Virus. Not every property was that severe though. One of the more common things inspectors noticed was overgrown grass and shrubs, which provides cover for rats. According to inspectors, the cover allows rats to run wild.

The city of Evanston understands it will take everyone, residents and all of the departments in the city, working together for the rat abatement program to be successful.

Reducing The Risk Of Mice And Rats In Your Home

In this post, we review the actions you should take to help reduce the risk of having mice and rats in your home. You will have a healthier and safer environment without rodents that will spread droppings and disease around your home.
Mice

House mice, which are generally active at night, are gray in color and small: usually between two to four inches long. Their nests are typically 12 to 15 inches across and made out of fibrous materials such as paper, and are loosely knit together.

Some signs you have house mice include partially nibbled food and small droppings.

Rats are larger in size than house mice (they are 12 to 16 inches from nose to tail) and are a grayish brown color with a long hairless tail.

The most common sign you have rats is droppings near food sources along with evidence of gnawing, burrows, tracks, nests and rub marks.

Related: Differences between rats and mice

 

Dangers of Rodents

It is important to control and eliminate any mice or rats in your home because they contaminate the environments in which they live through their urine, droppings, and hairs.

They also can carry a wide range of diseases, which can be passed on to humans, either by directly contaminating food with their droppings and urine or by contaminating surfaces. Rats specifically can pass on the potentially fatal Weil’s Disease, which is carried by about 15 to 30 percent of the rat population.

Related: Diseases in House Mice

In addition to the potential threat of contamination and the threat of disease, they can also cause extensive structural damage to property. Mice and rats have strong teeth and are capable of gnawing a variety of materials. According to experts, there is a significant risk of fire and electrocution as a result of mice and rodents chewing through electric cables and wiring.

 

How to prevent rats and mice

You can discourage mice from taking up residence and prevent infestations by blocking access points to your home and improving hygiene:

  • Check that doors fit tightly
  • Check that windows close tightly
  • Seal all cracks, openings, and holes
  • Inspect for access points around gas, electricity, and water pipes
  • Store food carefully with tight-fitting lids
  • Clean up any spills immediately
  • Remove garbage and other materials that can be used by mice

Related: Are mice dangerous?

RatRats can be both more difficult and more dangerous to deal with. Before you attempt to deal with a rat problem yourself, it is critical to identify where rats are living, feeding, and drinking, and the routes they take between these areas. Look out for:

  • Droppings
  • Footprints
  • Holes and burrows
  • Runs and tracks
  • Other signs such as sightings or a musky smell

You need to find out how the rats are getting into your home. Try blocking any holes you find with newspaper or similar material or similar material and returning 24 hours to see if it was disturbed.

Attic Solutions - Contact Us TodayThe trained professionals at Attic Solutions can assist you in eliminating any rat or mice problems you may be experiencing.

Contact us online or call (847) 464-1861

Preventing Wildlife From Entering Your Home

Summertime in the Chicagoland area usually means warm weather and longer days. It also means animals are out moving about and mothers are teaching their young how to forage. This time of the year you need to keep a lookout for animals who just might be trying to take up residence in your home. And they do not plan on paying rent!

Raccoons

Raccoons

We need some water!

Raccoons love food and there is an abundance of that this time of year, thanks to picnics and barbeques. Be sure to bring in your garbage cans as quickly as possible (try not to leave them out overnight), and keep any exterior porch or garage doors shut.

Opossums

I hope they don't see me!

Just hanging around!

Opossums are shy animals that only act scary to frighten away would-be predators. These meek creatures spend their nights in search of food, and now that it is warm out there is a tendency to have our pets and our pets’ food outdoors. If you leave pet food out, you can bet you will have an opossum taking up residency shortly. To keep them out, remove any food and do not feed your pets outside.

Birds

So what do we do now!

So what do we do now!

Now that is has warmed up, the birds are flying north again! Be on the lookout for any that may have nested in your chimney, attic vents or soffits, or vents. While all the birds have likely hatched by now, some may have decided to call your house their home. Permanently. If you are just looking to prevent any birds from moving in, consider a chimney cap and wire mesh around any exterior vent or soffit openings.

Small Rodents

Wood mouse

I sure hope no one sees me here!

These nocturnal creatures are out and about now that it is nice out. Window wells are an easy spot for these opportunistic animals to sneak in. To animal-proof your window wells, consider putting a plastic or metal grates over them.

Skunks

skunk-687964_640

Who can I tag next!

While we’re past full-blown skunk season in Chicago (it’s generally February through late March), there are still plenty of these smelly creatures around. Skunks aren’t much for foraging, so they go where the ground is soft and there are plenty of people. Skunks have been known to burrow under decks and porches, and an outdoor motion-activated floodlight might help scare them away before they move in.

And of course you have your deer, coyotes, squirrels, turtles, and foxes… Just hanging

What’s that Noise? Animals could be in Your Home

What's driving you nuts? SquirrelImagine you are in your bed, happy to be lying down after a long day but your rest is abruptly interrupted by loud scratching noises coming from your walls or attic. 

If these noises persist, chances are you have an unwelcome roommate scratching around within your walls, attic, crawlspaces, or basement.

Animals that invade homes are looking for food and shelter and if they become too comfortable, they may start digging further into your home scratching through wood, drywall, or insulation.

It is best to contact a wildlife control expert such as Attic Solutions if an animal is found in your home.

For professional wildlife removal and attic restoration call: (847) 464-1861

The following are the most common noise-causing home invaders and a description of the noises they make.

Scratching Noises from Bats

Bats are most likely to invade homes in the late summer and fall seasons and they often enter through small openings in the attic.  They have a tendency to get stuck in walls and respond by making scratching and squeaking noises as they try to free themselves.

Bats can also form colonies in attics if there is a significant infestation which can be very noisy and cause property damage.  The scratching and scurrying noises from bats occur mostly at night because they are nocturnal animals.  If you believe your home may have bats due to scratching noises, contact Attic Solutions to have a professional check it out.

Related: Bat Hibernation

Noises from Rats and Mice

Rodents such as rats and mice are among the most common home invaders and they can usually be identified by the scratching noises they make.  They can be heard scratching around within walls and ceilings as they seek food and shelter within your home.  Attic Solutions can help rid your home of a rat or mouse infestation and implement preventative measures to help keep rodents out of your home.

Related: The differences between rats and mice

Trapped Birds

Birds typically enter homes looking for a nesting spot and their quest sometimes causes them to get stuck in walls, attics, or crawlspaces.  As birds try to find a way out, they make scratching and chirping noises or cause a commotion by vigorously flapping their wings.  They are most likely to be heard early in the morning as they try searching for food.  Make sure to contact Attic Solutions if you suspect a bird infestation in your home.

Related: Watch out for birds nesting in the attic

Noises from Raccoons

Raccoons are known for invading home attics in search of shelter and making homes for themselves out of the insulation.  Raccoons are nocturnal animals and can be heard scurrying in the ceiling and making scratching noises in the middle of the night.  They are also among the loudest home invaders.  It is best to have a professional from Attic Solutions handle a raccoon intrusion as they can be quite wily and dangerous.

Related: Raccoons in the attic

Squirrel Noises

Squirrels most commonly invade homes through the attic from tree tops and they can be heard running, jumping, and scratching in the ceiling.  They are most active during the day and make the most noise when coming and going from the house to look for food.  Squirrels can be quite tricky to deal with which is why you should contact Attic Solutions if you discover a squirrel in your home.

Related: Removing squirrels in the attic


As soon as you suspect you may have an animal infestation, call us immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with animal exclusion and removal, including humane live animal trapping (never poisons!).

We will remove the animal and fix any property damage they may have caused. Click to read more about animal removal services from Attic Solutions.

Call us at (847) 464-1861