What are the signs of a rodent infestation?

Rodents can be pesky invaders that cause a range of problems, from contaminating food supplies to spreading diseases. It's essential to identify the signs of a rodent infestation early on to take prompt action. By recognising these signs, you can protect your property and ensure the health and safety of everyone within it. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:

Visual signs of a rodent infestation

Rodent droppings: One of the most obvious signs of a rodent infestation is finding their droppings. These droppings are usually small, dark, and pellet-shaped. Common areas to spot them include near food storage areas, along walls, or in hidden corners.

Gnaw marks: Rodents have a constant need to chew in order to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Gnaw marks on furniture, wires, or structural components of your property are clear indications of their presence.

Nesting materials: Rodents love to create nests using readily available materials such as paper, fabric, insulation, or even cardboard. Discovering shredded materials or small nests tucked away in nooks and crannies can signify a rodent infestation.

Tracks and runways: As rodents frequently explore their environment, they leave behind distinct tracks and runways. Look for small footprints or tail marks in dusty areas, especially along baseboards or near entry points.

Urine stains: Rodents mark their territory by urinating in specific areas. Urine stains may appear as dark smudges or streaks along walls, floorboards, or furniture. The smell associated with urine can also be a telltale sign.

Scratching or thumping noises: If you hear unexplained scratching or thumping noises coming from walls, ceilings, or hidden spaces, it's likely that rodents are scurrying around your property. These sounds often occur during the night when rodents are most active.

Smells associated with a rodent infestation

Musky odour: Rodents emit a distinct musky odour, which can become more noticeable as their numbers increase. If you catch a whiff of a pungent, musty smell that seems to be lingering in specific areas, it could be a sign of a rodent infestation.

Odour of urine: As mentioned earlier, rodents use urine to mark their territories. The smell of rodent urine can be quite strong and unpleasant, similar to the scent of ammonia. If you notice a persistent urine-like odour, it's likely that rodents are present.

Odour of faeces: Rodent droppings release a distinct odour that is often described as a combination of musty and sour. If you detect this unpleasant smell in your surroundings, it's a strong indication of a rodent infestation.

Sounds associated with a rodent infestation

Scratching or thumping noises: Rodents are agile climbers and can easily scuttle up walls or through ceiling spaces. If you hear scratching or thumping sounds that seem to come from above or within the walls, it's likely that rodents are present and seeking shelter or food.

Scurrying noises: When rodents move quickly, they create scurrying noises that can be heard in quiet environments, especially during the night. If you notice the sound of small, rapid footsteps or movement, it's a sign that rodents are active nearby.

Gnawing noises: Rodents have strong teeth that constantly grow, necessitating gnawing on various materials to keep them in check. If you hear persistent chewing or gnawing sounds, it's highly likely that rodents are causing damage to your property.

How to prevent a rodent infestation

Preventing a rodent infestation is crucial to safeguarding your property and maintaining a healthy environment. Here are some effective preventive measures:

Seal up all entry points into your home: Inspect your property for any gaps, cracks, or openings that could serve as entry points for rodents. Seal them using materials such as steel wool or caulk to deny rodents easy access.

Store food in airtight containers: Rodents are attracted to food sources. Keep all food, including pet food, in secure, airtight containers to deny rodents access to potential meals.

Clean up any spills or messes immediately: Wipe up spills promptly and maintain cleanliness in food preparation and storage areas. Remove crumbs, food debris, and trash regularly to eliminate potential attractants for rodents.

Remove any potential food sources for rodents: Properly dispose of garbage in sealed bins, and ensure outdoor trash areas are clean and well-maintained. Additionally, trim vegetation away from your property to reduce hiding places and potential food sources.

Have your home inspected by a pest control professional on a regular basis: Regular inspections by pest control professionals are vital for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities that may lead to rodent infestations. They can provide expert guidance and take preventive measures customised to your property's needs.

What to do if you have a rodent infestation

If you suspect or confirm a rodent infestation, it's important to take immediate action. Here's what you should do:

Do not attempt to handle rodents yourself: Rodents can carry diseases and parasites, posing risks to human health. Avoid handling them directly and leave the removal process to trained professionals.

Call a pest control professional: Contact a reputable pest control company that specialises in rodent control. They will conduct a thorough assessment, develop a targeted plan, and safely remove the rodents from your property. Additionally, they will implement effective measures to prevent future infestations.

The ultimate guide to commercial pest management by Rentokil

Rentokil, a leading global pest control company, offers valuable insights and information on commercial pest management, including detailed guidance on rodent infestations. Their website serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking expert advice and solutions.


Rodent infestations can wreak havoc on businesses, jeopardising food safety, health regulations, and property integrity. By being vigilant and recognising the signs of a rodent infestation, you can take proactive measures to prevent these pests from gaining a foothold. Implementing proper sanitation practices, sealing entry points, and seeking professional assistance when needed will help protect your business from the damages caused by rodents. Stay informed, stay proactive, and safeguard your property and reputation from these unwelcome intruders.


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