Out of the six mice species and two rat species in Illinois, two non-native rodents
cause the most problems in your home, the house mouse and the Norway rat. Mice weigh less than an ounce and are only 5 to 7 inches long, meaning they can squeeze into cracks and holes smaller than a dime. Rats are usually 10 to 12 inches long and weigh about ten to twelve ounces.
You may not see them in your home during the day, but when you turn off the lights and everything is quiet, they will begin their hunt for food. They typically don’t travel too far from their nest. You will see evidence of them through feces, urine trails, gnaw marks, and holes in food containers. Both rodents eat plant and animal foods, including seeds, nuts, insects, berries, crumbs, cereal, and leftovers on counters or in open trash cans.
Mice typically only live for one year, but in that time, they can reproduce several times, bringing five or more babies into the world, and your home, each time. Rats live for a few years and reproduce multiple times throughout the year. Rats can give birth to eight or more babies. If not controlled early, you can quickly find that your home has an infestation.
It only takes one rodent to contaminate your food, chew wires, and pass along diseases like salmonellosis. Rats can break shingles and siding. If either gets into your attic, they will shred insulation and drywall and leave feces and urine on all your prized possessions.
Although there are no legal protections for rats and mice, it is best to call a WCO to help get rid of them. Experts know the right baits and traps to capture all rodent family members effectively. If done improperly, the infestation will grow. Before setting traps, professionals seal all holes and cracks to prevent entry, even the ones you may not know exist.
Aside from sealing access points, repairs and exclusions include replacing shingles, wires, insulation, and drywall damaged by rodents. They will teach you proper food storage and lawn maintenance to prevent future rat and mouse control problems.