Alexandria, Virginia is known far for its beautiful Old Town neighborhood and rich history to go along with it. As far back as George Washington’s time, and well before that, the people of Alexandria have had to share this beautiful town with a less than pretty neighbor: rodents!

A rat or mice infestation, large or small, can be treated by professional rodent exterminators. The best way to deal with rats and mice is to keep them off your property in the first place. 

Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Alexandria Yard

Rats and mice love dark, close spaces, damp areas, and any kind of food, which includes trash, pet feces, and birdseed. They can climb anything, scurry into tiny holes, and even jump several feet in the air. Follow these steps so your yard is not an attractive kitchen and fun playground for rats and mice.

  • Do not accumulate trash. 
  • Keep all garbage cans covered and secured. 
  • Use compost bins with secure covers. 
  • Feed your pets inside only, or if outside, feed only the amount the pet will eat in one sitting. 
  • Do not store pet food or human food outside. 
  • Clean up animal feces daily.
  • Remove snails, as these are a rodent food source. 
  • Keep alley and backyard sheds closed at all times. If your shed door is broken or there are entry holes a quarter inch or larger, repair to prevent rodents 
from entering 

  • Repair leaky hose or faucets, as a leak is a rodent water source. 
  • Feed birds only in cleanable areas, and keep them clean. Do not let bird feed accumulate on the ground.
  • Harvest fruit-bearing trees and pick up all fruit off the ground.

Don’t Let Mice and Rats In Your Alexandria House

Once rats and mice invade your yard, they are attracted even more to what might be inside the house. They are inquisitive, daring, and innovative creatures, able to find many ways inside without going through a door. Use these tips to keep them out.

  • Provide tight-fitting covers for crawl spaces. 
  • Seal all openings around pipes, cables, wires that enter walls and foundations. 
  • Thin or remove dense vegetation to allow in daylight and remove hiding places. 
  • Keep grass cut neatly, remove heavy vegetation around building or fences. 
  • Keep yards clean. 
  • Trim trees, bushes and vines at least 4 feet from the roof.
  • Check garden sheds for any evidence of rats or rodents. 
  • Screen or close openings under overlapping rooflines or eaves. 
  • Repair damaged ventilation screens. 
  • Stack firewood at least 6 inches off the ground and do not stack it against your house. 
  • Weather-strip garage doors so they close tightly, eliminating access points. 
  • Check garage shelves and storage lofts for evidence of rats. 
  • Keep indoor trashcans covered to minimize rat-appealing scents.

Know How to Identify the Presence of Rodents

Unfortunately, sometimes rats and mice do get inside your home. You may not see them since they tend to prefer scurrying around late at night and in the dark, but they will leave signs of their presence. This is what to look for to know that rats or mice have entered your house.

  • Feces – Rat and mouse feces are generally dark-brown or black, in the shape and size of grains of rice. A single rodent might leave just one or two “grains.” Unless you’re thinking that you have rats, you might not realize it’s anything other than a bit of black rice.
  • Rodent urine – You’re likely to see a light yellow, tan, or brown stain that might show up as a blotch or a wormy trail. This is most evident on light surfaces such as white woodwork.
  • Gnawing and holes – A hole in a bread bag or other food container or tiny gnawing marks at floor or woodwork seams can indicate mice or rats at work. Remember: A mouse can squeeze through a hole just one-quarter inch in diameter.
  • Dead rodent bodies – Rats or mice that have been exposed to poison or caught in traps will die fairly quickly. If not removed immediately, their bodies may dry up or melt into a gooey mess, especially in a home that is empty for a while.

Get Rid of Rats Safely

  • Clean any signs of rodent presence. Always use rubber gloves and disposable rags or cloths. Bag and discard any feces or gnawed-on materials to prevent spreading disease from rats.
  • Call a professional exterminator.

For more information on rats and rodents in general and eco-friendly pest treatments, get in touch with Highland Eco Pest. We serve the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia region. Our goal is to keep your home safe from pests in an eco-friendly manner.