Monthly Archives: November 2015

Rodents: Rats and Mice

Cold weather sends rodents, particularly mice and rats, indoors — not to escape the cold, but to find food. Rodents have a fur coat to keep them warm, but when their outdoor food source starts to dwindle, they seek food in other places, such a home or other indoor dwelling. In the mid-Atlantic region, the most common types of mice are deer mice and the most common types of rats are the Norway brown rat and the black roof rat.


The Norway brown rat grows to approximately 1 pound and the black roof rat tops out at 12 ounces. They can enter a space as small as the size of a quarter. They both live near water sources: water drains, ponds streams and places where there is a lot of runoff water. They need food, water and shelter to survive and homes in neighborhoods. Rats are prolific procreators, so if there is one near your home, you can be sure there are more you don’t see.


Mice build nests and like to do so in warm dark places, such as insulation or other soft materials. They will gnaw and chew their way to food and it is possible to spot them scurrying around during the day. Mouse droppings are often mistaken for cockroach droppings. Here you can see the difference between rat, mice and cockroach droppings. If you see droppings or hear chewing or scurrying, chances are you have an infestation.


(Photo courtesy of


Similarities Between Mice and Rats

Rats and mice may look alike to you. Their physical features are similar, but their behaviors are not. Rats’ heads are larger and their ears are smaller, whereas mice have large ears and eyes for their smaller heads. And while their species are similar, rats will kill and eat mice. Mice will also eat other dead mice (but will not kill their own for food) and even sometimes will self-cannibalize, eating their own tails if they are truly starving. Mice prefer grains, seeds, fruit and seeds as a diet, and rats will eat practically anything, including non-food items such as plastic and rocks. Mice fear rats, and if they smell them they will leave. Both rats and mice carry diseases that can be harmful to human health and their feces spread the diseases.


The best way to prevent rodents in your home or commercial property is to seal up points of entry. Places of entry around the home such as pipes entries, HVAC units, and doorways are common. If you can see daylight, seal it up. Mice can get into a space a small as a dime and rats can enter a space the size of a quarter. Keep your food in sealed containers and up off of the floor. Inspect your garage for bird or grass seed or any food.

Triple S can inspect for entry points and seal them. Our experienced technicians know where to look and can show you what to look for in the future. We look for rub marks, places that the oil from the fur of rodents have rubbed against baseboards or points of entry. In some cases we will use a black light to find traces of rodent urine.   Mass trapping is the most effective way to eliminate rodents from your property and to learn the full extent of the infestation. While there are products you can use such as baits and traps, Triple S cautions property owners since rodents do carry very dangerous diseases. Also, dealing with the toxic chemicals in rodent bait can pose health risks to children and pets.

Some sanitation rules include:

Dampening rodent droppings before picking them up to prevent fungal spores from becoming airborne.

  • Wearing a mask when you clean rodent droppings.
  • Disposing of any food around where you’ve found evidence of a rodent.
  • Sanitizing the area where dropping have been found.

Two of the more recognizable diseases carried by rodents include the Bubonic Plague and hantavirus. Both can be deadly if not caught and treated properly.

Rodents can pose serious risks if they are in your property. If you find evidence of a rodent infestation call Triple S Service to schedule your inspection right away. 800-457-3785.