Scratching sounds coming from the attic might seem like the beginning of a scary movie,
but the real-life scenario is likely a rodent infestation in the home. Don’t fret! Identifying
the pest and cleaning what they have left behind is easier than one may think. In this
article, we discuss how to safely discover what kind of pest is in the attic and avoid health
risks when cleaning up after them.
Identifying the droppings
Before removing a pest from the attic, it’s necessary to know what kind of pest it is. Only
in the case where the homeowner feels safe should they head into the attic to check
what’s up there. Keep in mind, wild animals in the home may be disoriented, disease-
infested, scared, or aggressive. In any case, those who decide to find out what kind of
critter is making use of their house should be sure to have the proper gear while
inspecting and cleaning up the mess. Most importantly, having the necessary tools to
prevent rodents from returning is vital. Below are some common rodents we find in
people’s homes and how to tell their droppings apart:
- Rat droppings are brown, oval-shaped, and solid. They measure roughly ½ inch in
length and can often taper to a point at the ends.
- Mouse poop is much smaller than rat droppings, around ⅛ to ¼ inch in length. It
closely resembles the shape of a grain of rice. Mouse droppings, when fresh, are
dark brown but become lighter as they age.
- Squirrels are another type of wildlife often found scampering in the attic. Squirrel
poop is brown or red and cylindrically shaped with round edges.
- Though not a rodent, bats can also be the culprit for the activity in the attic. Bat
droppings, also called guano, look similar to mouse poop. A person can tell the
two apart because guano resembles long pellets and disintegrate if touched. Tip:
Never touch animal droppings with bare hands. Wear latex or rubber gloves before
cleaning any animal waste.
Cleaning rodent droppings from the attic
Before any cleaning occurs, the homeowner or resident should feel confident that the
rodent problem is solved. Be sure to set up traps and seal the area to prevent re-entry. If
there is still activity in the attic after a week of first discovering it, it is time to call a
Always wear proper protective gear
To clean the space, be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves. Ventilate the area 30 minutes
before getting started. Resist the urge to vacuum or sweep up wildlife droppings, as
contaminants can enter the breathable air and potentially infect people in the house.
Use a bleach-water solution for sanitizing
Using a one-part bleach and ten-parts water mixture, spray the rodent urine, droppings,
and the surrounding contaminated areas. Let the spray settle for 5-10 minutes. Wipe the
area with a paper towel or rag and immediately dispose of it in an airtight plastic bag.
Spray the bleach-water solution on walls, floors, and trimmings and wipe clean.
Properly kill hantavirus and other potential health risks
Furniture either needs to be steam-cleaned or disinfected with commercial-grade
shampoos. Hantavirus, often spread from rodents, dies from ultraviolet rays, so give boxes and other non-washable items three to five days of sunshine before bringing them
back into the home. Lastly, machine wash clothes and dry at high temperatures to kill off
any potentially harmful contaminants. When dealing with bat droppings or larger infestations, secure a HEPA-filter face mask
to your face before getting started. Pathogens in mouse, rat, squirrel and other common
rodent droppings may be present, as well, so proper safety equipment is crucial.
About the author:- This article is written by Roberto Hern, founder of Hern’s Pest
Control- top rated pest control company in Mckinney, TX