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Pest & Rodent Control In Sarasota & Bradenton

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How Does a Rodent Exterminator Determine if You Have Rodents in Your Sarasota Home?

As a rodent exterminator in Sarasota, whose company, Rodent Solutions, handles thousands of rodent infestations inside residential homes yearly in Sarasota, I feel I’m the perfect person to explain how a rodent exterminator determines if you have rodents in your home.  Obviously, I can’t speak for every rodent exterminator or pest control company, but I can tell you the basics of how I do it.

Rodent Exterminator In Sarasota
By James Knight- Owner of Rodent Solutions Inc

How A Rodent Exterminator Determines if You Have Rodents

Get ready to grab all my secrets! Let’s hope the competition isn’t reading this!

Good Rodent Exterminators Listen to the Customer About Their Home

Something will tip my customer off that they have a rodent issue, such as noises or scratching in the attic, or they wouldn’t be calling.  My customer will start with a search online for something such as rodent exterminator near me, rodent control near me, rodent removal near me, or pest control near me.  This will help to find a rodent company near you.  Most customers don’t want to admit it, but they know that part of living in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Parrish areas of Florida are rodent infestations that are a fact of life.  When we speak over the phone, I can normally narrow it down to one of three types of animals.  99% of the time, we are dealing with a roof rat, a Norway rat, or a grey squirrel.   



After gathering the basic information, it’s time to schedule to move on to the next step.  


As a professional rodent exterminator, I’m typically going to start my inspection for rodents in Sarasota on the outside of the home.  First, I’ll look for signs of what type of rodent or animal I’m dealing with.  The main thing I’m looking for is to see if we are dealing with a larger animal.  Heavy soffit damage may mean I need to watch out for a raccoon.  You always want to look for signs of that issue first before confining yourself to an attic you’ve never been in with a possibly unhappy mother raccoon that will most likely be protecting her babies.  Once I have ruled that out, I will take inventory of any possible entry points for rodents looking for gnawing, rub marks, hair, or feces to write up a proper estimate for rodent exclusion. 

Attic Entry Brings Concerns About Health Risks from Rodents

Rodents, mainly rats and mice, are known to carry many health risks.  They spread many zoonotic diseases, which are a concern for transmission to humans.  Because of that, I will always put on my PPE to prevent from catching any of the nastiness that rodents have left behind inside the attic during my inspection.  The first thing I’m looking for is rodent feces.  Rat feces, mice feces, and squirrel feces all look very different.  Mouse feces and roach feces can look the same to the untrained eye.  The same is true for rat feces and lizard feces.  “Knowing your poop” in the pest control industry is essential.        

The Ultimate Determination Of Rodents is to Inspect the Attic in Your Sarasota Home 

Rodent Exterminator in Sarasota
Dennis Inspecting a Sarasota Attic By: James Knight- Owner of Rodent Solutions

Now that I’m ready to enter the attic safely, I can start my inspection for rodents. Proper rodent ID is essential. Knowing the difference between a rat & a mouse, and squirrels too is more important than many people think.  We don’t really worry about determining if we are dealing with roof rats or Norway rats in an attic.  The rodent exclusion process to rodent trapping will be performed exactly the same no matter which rat it is, so we don’t worry about the difference.  Often, the droppings will be present right at the attic entry.  Once I see the rodent feces, I can easily make a determination.  In our coverage area, which includes Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, and Parrish, rats are the primary invader.  That cannot be assumed, though.  Sometimes it’s trickier to identify which rodent has infested the attic.  If the infestation is new, feces may be more difficult to find.  Signs in the attic of a rodent infestation can include:

      • Rodent Feces- Identifying the feces in the attic is the best way to ensure which rodent I am dealing with.   

      • Scratch marks in the dust on top of the AC flex ducting, indicating something has been using the top of the ducts to travel throughout the attic, will confirm the presence of a rodent, but not which one.

      • Rub marks on horizontal plumbing pipes in the attic from rodent urine and body sebum. if they use the pipes to travel through the attic.  Finding these almost always confirm that you are dealing with rats and all but rules out squirrels.

      • Tunneling holes in the insulation typically rules out squirrels and again confirm the presence of rats or mice.  With mice, the holes are much more difficult to notice.  Rats typically make larger, more defined holes difficult to miss for a rodent specialist.   

    What if There Is No Rodent Poop in the Attic or Other Signs of Rodents?

    The lack of evidence of rodents typically means one of two things. 

    1. The customer may have heard something on the roof, in the gutters, or something attempting to get into their home, but the rodent hasn’t made it inside yet.  
    2. It’s a squirrel.   The grey squirrel in this area of Florida typically stays in an attic for a short period of time.  They tend to enter the attic and stay close to the entry point. They also don’t leave as much feces, and urine as rats or mice, and evidence of their body sebum and urine marks are nearly non-existent. With squirrels, I will often see chewing on the trim near the exterior entry points and nesting debris around and in the entryway.  

    Once We Determine You Have Rodents In Your Home, It’s Time for your Rodent Exclusion 

    At this point, we would provide you with your inspection results, a plan for your whole house rodent exclusion to prevent rodent entry in the future, and any recommended rat, mouse, or squirrel trapping.   We may also recommend extended rodent control options such as rodent bait stations, rat birth control, and any other pest-related services we noticed you might need that we found during your inspection process.  If we feel you may need any decontamination services or rat dropping cleanup after the inspection, we would also list these as optional at this point. 

    That’s the summary of how a rodent exterminator in Sarasota, like me, might determine if you have rodents in your Sarasota home.  If you would like more information about rodent prevention, I would read our previous blog post for 10 easy tips on preventing mice and other rodents inside your Sarasota home or contact us today for an inspection of your property. 

    Author: James Knight – Owner of Rodent Solutions 

    James Knight Rodent Exterminator



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