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What Are the Signs of a Rodent Infestation?


There are places you’d never expect rodents to go — but our Orkin Pros™ see it all. From stock and break rooms to suspended ceilings and wall voids, rodents like rats and mice are experts at sniffing out the hidden parts of your building for food, water and shelter. And they can squeeze into openings that seem impossibly small or out of reach. These sneaky scavengers may know how to keep out of sight, but since they’re not known for impeccable cleanliness, you can spot the signs rodents leave behind.

Signs of a Rodent Problem

Proactive rodent monitoring should be part of your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program — as well as regular sanitation land maintenance routines — and you should also include your staff in the effort. Together, you can stay vigilant and look out for the following telltale signs of a rodent problem within your facility:

1. Droppings Galore. Rodents are stealthy but they tend to leave droppings wherever they go. Mouse droppings are tiny, resembling black grains of rice, while rats leave larger, capsule-shaped droppings. Look for droppings in places like cabinets, drawers and along baseboards.

Rodent droppings are unsanitary and can transmit diseases, so make sure your employees take the appropriate precautions by wearing gloves and OSHA-approved respirators during removal and use spray disinfectant, like Orkin® VitalClean™. Since droppings and fur left behind tend to attract more rodents, an in-depth cleanout from your trusted pest control provider may be necessary if there are signs of a larger infestation.

2. Gnawing Evidence. Rodents need to chew constantly to keep their teeth from growing too long. That’s why they gnaw on just about anything they can find. Look for chew marks on furniture, electrical wires, insulation, flooring, pallets and food containers, and also take note of heavy scratching noises — especially during the nighttime — as these could be the sound of chewing rodents.

3. Foul Odors. Rodents use scent marking to communicate with each other, leaving behind their distinct — and unpleasant — aroma in their favorite spots. If you smell a musty, urine scent in certain areas around your business, it could be the sign of rodent activity.

4. Crafty Nests. Rodents are resourceful builders and will create nests using a variety of materials around your business, such as shredded paper, cloth or cardboard. Keep an eye out for any nests in dark nooks and crannies, like unused or seldom-used storage areas, between walls and in garbage dumps.

5. Hidden Burrows. While some rodents prefer to scurry along the roof, others take refuge underground. If that is the case, their nests may be hidden in burrows. Rats and mice can create elaborate underground tunnels or simple excavated holes. Learn more about the differences between common rodent species.

6. Greasy Rub Marks. Rodents have oily fur that leaves behind grease marks on surfaces they frequently touch. Check for these marks along walls, baseboards and facility entry points. Darker grease stains generally indicate their preferred routes. Your pest control professional will use these markings to determine the best trap placement plans.

Do I need rodent control for my business?

Rodents don’t waste any time when it comes to making your business their home. So, you shouldn’t waste any time when it comes to helping stop them. Contact a pest control professional at the first indication of activity from rodents.

Since heavy rodent issues sometimes require more intensive, specialized treatments, the best defense is a proactive one. Your local pest control provider can help you create a rodent control plan for your business or property. If you suspect a rodent infestation, you should immediately contact your pest control provider for an inspection, consultation and customized solution to help protect your customers, employees, business reputation and bottom line. As with all pests, there are do’s and don’ts in rodent control you should take into account for pest management to help keep your employees and customers safe.

Are rodents on your radar? Download our free Rodent Radar ebook to learn more about how rats and mice can impact your business, or schedule a free rodent inspection with a well-trained Orkin Pro.

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