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Controlling rodents in Modesto, CA can be challenging but not impossible. Most of the time, you’re probably looking for a post like this because you notice rodents either at your neighbor’s house or maybe you think you see signs at your own home. 

Regardless of your reason, we’ll cover everything you need to know to control rodents and keep them from entering your home in this post. 

Let’s get started…

Types of rodents 

There are several common rodents we deal with in Modesto. The most common being rats and mice. In the Central Valley, we have Roof Rats, Norway Rats, and the House Mouse. 

Roof Rat

These are darker and almost black in color most of the time. Their body is more slender and they can grow to an enormous 17” in length. We most often find them on roofs where trees, ivy, and other plants have been allowed to overgrow onto the roof. They nest above ground, you’ll often see them crossing power lines, and hear them scurrying at night. You may also see them in attics, garages, and large piles of wood out in the yard. They like to eat seeds, fruit, ivy, and often pet food. 

Norway Rats

The Norway rat, also called the sewer rat, is a fatter rat with a light grey and white coat. They’re larger and more aggressive growing to a massive 18” in length and weigh almost 1 pound. The like to form nests in lower altitudes and in underground burrows. You’ll most often see these around farms and agricultural areas, near water sources, and occasionally in neighborhoods. They like to eat garbage, meat, pet foods, cereal, and anything in your garden. 

House Mouse

The house mouse is a slightly friendlier and smaller mouse. They only grow to about 4” in length and weigh only a few ounces. Its color is usually a grey/brown with a light-colored belly. These aren’t as common in Modesto but they do occasionally show up. They enjoy feeding on grain and seeds mostly. 

Diseases they cause 

There are many diseases that can be transmitted by mice and rats both in the form of bacteria and from blood-sucking animals like the fleas that often come with them. The most notable disease spread by rats was the black plague. It turns out that the fleas would bite the mice and then bite humans transferring it from person to person very quickly. This is still a factor today and can happen. 

Other diseases often caused include Salmonellosis which is a form of bacterial food poisoning. Leptospirosis is another bacterial disease caused by water contaminated with rat urine or feces. And the last most notable is Murine Typhus which is transmitted when infected feces gets rubbed into a wound or flea bite. 

Signs of rodent activity

  • Signs of chewing on fruit, vegetables, or nuts that are on the ground. 
  • Broken snail shells near nesting sites or under bushes. 
  • Rodent droppings anywhere in or around your home. 
  • Sounds of scurrying, gnawing, nails scratching, etc. on the roof, in the walls, attic, etc. 
  • Burrows in the ground around your home. 
  • Chew marks and other signs of gnawing.

Common rodent entry points

Rodents are diligent and can get into your home a number of ways. The most common are unsealed holes around your home. This includes vents on your roof that don’t have wire over them, unsealed crawl holes, gaps around your chimney, broken sewers, toilets, etc. They can enter into a hole as small as an inch in diameter. 

Steps for controlling rodents 

For any pest problem, the most important factors are food, water, and shelter. If you can control these then the animals have little reason to stick around. 

Step 1: Remove any sources of food and water

If there is any standing water, broken pipes, etc. you’ll want to fix the pipes and get rid of the puddles to cut off their water source. When it comes to the food, remove any bird feeders, make sure your trash cans are tightly closed, remove any garbage from the yard, store pet food indoors, avoid keeping food in your garage, etc. 

You also want to exterminate snails and keep them out of your yard since they are a food source. You should also pick up pet feces since this can also be a food source. 

Step 2: Extermination

The last thing you want is a bunch of rats that have been sealed into your home. If they’re already there, it’s highly recommended you call a pest control company like Modesto Pest to treat them for you. 

If you’re unsure, you can set traps and baits in areas that they would likely traffic. These include basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Avoid placing poisons or traps anywhere where children or pets would be able to access them. 

Always remove dead rats by placing them in a tightly sealed container and disinfect the area. 

Step 3: Eliminate shelter

The most important first step to take is to cut back trees, shrubs, and bushes. Also, remove any trash or woodpiles from your yard. At the same time, perform a thorough inspection of your home. Any holes greater than 1/4” should be covered or sealed. Check crawl space accesses, roof vents, attic vents, etc. Trees and shrubs should also be thinned and you should have a gap of several feet between them and your walls/roof. 

After performing the above steps, it’s important to maintain these standards. Keep your trees trimmed, pipes fixed, trash out of your yard, etc. This will help to prevent future infestations and keep rats from staying in your yard since there’s no food, water, or shelter for them. If you live in Modesto or anywhere in the Central Valley, give us a call if you need help or can’t get rid of the rodent problem on your own.