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How To Deal With Rodent Droppings in the Attic

January 25, 2021
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Rodents like mice and rats are filthy creatures that leave droppings and urine wherever they go. These rodent wastes are definite signs of rodent activity in the area. An area contaminated with rodent droppings and urine is a huge health hazard to anyone on the property, so it’s important to clean them up immediately.

So what’s the right way to clean up the rodent droppings in the attic? Clean up the area by removing the droppings and urine, disposing of any dead rodents, checking for exposed installation, removing contaminated materials, and disinfecting the attic.

Rodent Droppings: The Sure Sign of Rodent Presence in the Attic

Rodent droppings in the attic are a common issue for homes infested by rats and mice. You might find these droppings increase in number as you get near the nest. Among the 21 million American homes affected by rodent infestations every year, around 24% of those occur in the attic and garage.

One of the biggest reasons why rodents camp in the attic is because of the insulation stored there. The attic is also a preferred nesting location for roof rats – a species of rats that are excellent climbers. Rodent presence anywhere in the house is a huge health risk – their droppings alone contaminate food and water sources.

What do Rodent Droppings Look Like?

Other than spotting the rodent themselves, their droppings are another useful way to identify the exact species of rodents present in the house. Once the rodent has been identified, it’s easier for exterminators to come up with the best rodent control techniques.

Rodent droppings also reveal a lot about rodent activity and the possible size of the infestation. The number of droppings increase in areas where these rodents frequently pass through which is why there are more droppings in their nest. The color of the droppings indicate how recent the rodent has been on that spot.

Here’s how rodents are identified with their droppings:

Rat Droppings

If the droppings are found in the attic, it’s safe to assume that the culprits are roof rats. These pesky creatures build nests in high places, unlike Norway rats that stay close to the ground. Each roof rat produces around 40 to 50 individual droppings a day. They are also a lot smaller than brown rat droppings – roof rat droppings only measure around half an inch long while Norway rats produce droppings around ¾ inch long. Roof rat droppings are mostly scattered with a shape that resembles sausages with pointed ends.

Mouse Droppings

Like brown rats, most mice also stay close to the ground. But these small pests have a good grip on most surfaces which makes them excellent climbers. Mice colonies stay in the attic if they believe that it’s the best nesting place for them. The droppings found near their nests are around a quarter-inch long. Although their droppings are smaller, they produce more pellets every day at around 50 to 75 individual droppings.

How to Clean the Rodent Droppings in Your Attic

Before cleaning the rodent droppings in the attic, ensure that the rodents have been eliminated first. Mice and rats won’t care if the attic is newly cleaned – they still leave droppings everywhere and contaminate the places you previously disinfected.

Once the infestation is gone, it’s time to clean the attic to prevent the spread of diseases caused by rodent feces. Here is a step-by-step guide to clean up and disinfect the attic:

1. Remove the Droppings and Urine

It’s better to pick up the droppings and nesting materials instead of vacuuming or sweeping them. This prevents dust and rodent waste from getting everywhere. Wear rubber gloves and overalls when cleaning the attic. It’s also essential to wear a mask to prevent inhalation of dust and microscopic pathogens.

Spray the rat waste with a homemade disinfectant (one part bleach and ten parts water) and let it sit for about 5 minutes. If you prefer using a store-bought disinfectant, just follow the instructions on the label. Pick up the droppings using disposable rags or paper towels. Dump everything in a trash bag and seal it.

2. Dispose of Any Dead Rodent

While still wearing the protective gear, carefully remove the dead rodents from their location. Spray another round of disinfectant in its surrounding area and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Wipe the area with a rag or paper towel. Extract the dead rodent along with the nesting materials and put them inside a plastic bag. Seal the bag tightly before throwing it in a sealed garbage can.

3. Check for Exposed Insulation

One of the reasons why rodents build nests in the attic is because of insulation. Even if the insulation material isn’t edible for these rodents, they still chew on it to trim their constantly growing teeth.

When cleaning the attic after the rodent extermination, check the exposed insulation if it also contains urine and droppings. Remove the material carefully and place it into plastic bags. There’s nothing else to do for damaged insulation material except replace it with a new one.

4. Remove All Possibly Contaminated Materials

Attics also serve as extra storage rooms for some homes. But the clutter in that area is what exactly attracts mice to build nests there. Here are a few decontamination tips for objects that are still useful:

  • Clothing, Stuffed Animals, and Bedding – These objects are usually decontaminated by laundry detergent. Launder them in a washing machine and leave them to dry under the sun for a few hours.
  • Carpets and Upholstered Furniture – Use commercial-grade steam cleaner and disinfectant to kill the bacteria and other contaminants.
  • Non-washable Items – Ultraviolet rays from the sun turn hantaviruses inactive, which is why it’s best to leave all non-washable items under the sun for a few hours. These items should be wiped with a cloth doused with disinfectant.

5. Disinfect the Attic

After removing and disinfecting the smaller items little by little, it’s time to disinfect the whole attic. Mops the floors of the attic and wipe its walls with disinfectant. Make sure to decontaminate the whole area to remove the smell of rodent urine and droppings in the attic.

Once you’re done with the whole process, remove the rubber gloves and wash your hands with soap and water. You may also use an alcohol-based hand rub for added measure.

Different Diseases Caused by Rodent Droppings

Even if the rodents are gone, their droppings and urine may still contaminate food and water sources. It’s important to get rid of the unsanitary conditions at home to protect the family from rodent-transmitted diseases. Here are some of the diseases caused by rodent dropping contamination:

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – HPS is a viral disease caused by direct contact with rodent wastes and inhalation of contaminated dust. Some of its early symptoms include muscle aches, fever, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dizziness. 
  • Leptospirosis – This bacterial disease occurs when a person accidentally eats food or drinks water contaminated with urine and droppings of an infected rodent. Individuals who came in contact with water or soil contaminated with rodent urine are also at risk of acquiring leptospirosis. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, muscle ache, vomiting, rash, red eyes, and jaundice.
  • Salmonellosis – Like leptospirosis, this bacterial disease also develops after the consumption of food or water contaminated with rodent feces. Patients infected with salmonella bacteria experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever.
  • Rat-Bite Fever – Some cases of rat-bite fever occur after a bite or scratch from an infected rodent. However, this disease may also be transmitted when a person mishandles the disposal of a dead rodent or accidentally consumes food contaminated with rodent droppings. Early diagnosis and proper treatment for RBF is necessary because it may lead to severe organ complications in the liver, lungs, heart, brain, and nervous system.

Complete Rodent Removal Services by Positive Pest Management

Positive Pest Management is a trusted pest control service provider in different NYC areas. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, we already know what tools and techniques to use for different cases of rodent infestation. Our IPM-based practices allow us to perform safe and effective rodent exclusion work.

Trust Positive Pest Management to solve all your rodent problems at home. Call us at 1-800-294-3130 to get a free estimate.

Learn more: How to Keep Mice from Chewing Wires

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