Rodent pests

Rodents that are classified as pests are called pest rodents. Rodents are often responsible for damage to buildings, furnishings and electrical lines. They are also carriers of various bacterial and viral pathogens and represent a significant health risk for private individuals and companies as hygiene and health pests. Rodents that occur in Germany are:

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Properties of rodents

Their incisor teeth (two each in the upper and lower jaw) are characteristic of rodents. The teeth grow constantly and uncontrollably. Therefore, they have to be worn out continuously so that they don’t get too long.

Depending on their species, rodents live in water, on trees or / in the ground. They use different means of locomotion: run/run, climb, jump and swim. Some are nocturnal; others are daily. Rodents are social animals and live in small to huge colonies. They can reproduce very quickly, which is why an infestation is of great concern.

The majority of rodents are herbivores. They feed on seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, leaves, flowers and fruits. Some species feed on insects or animal products such as eggs or carrion as omnivores.

Identify rodents

The following three types of rodents are responsible for most of the pest problems worldwide:

House mouse (mus musculus)

The house mouse reaches a size of 7 to 9.5 cm. Her tail is the same length again. It weighs 12 to 30 g. The house mouse is dark grey or brownish-grey. She is very adaptable and has good climbing skills. The nesting sites of the house mouse are mainly near food.

Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

The brown rat reaches a length including a tail of up to 40 cm. Their tail is shorter than their body. The brown rat weighs 350 to 500 g. She lives in self-dug corridors and is a good swimmer and climber. Their fur is brownish-grey. The brown rat is the only type of rat that lives in the sewer system. She is an omnivore.

Black rat (Rattus rattus)

The house rat is 16 to 24 cm tall. Their tail is longer than the head and body combined. The house rat weighs 150 to 200 g. Compared to the brown rat, it has a pointed nose, long ears and a slim body. The black rat is grey-black or brown-grey. She is pleased to climb and agile but rarely digs passages. The black rat can often be found in or near harbours. In Germany, however, it occurs rarely or is reversing.

Signs of an infestation by rodents

Compared to other pests, an infestation by rodents is easily recognisable because they leave visible traces. In addition, there is a whole series of indications that indicate an infestation by rodents. If one or more of the following symptoms appear, measures to control rodents should be initiated immediately:

  • Rodents continuously gnaw on supplies, textiles, wood or plastic, so their permanently growing teeth do not become too long. Unfortunately, rodents also bite through electrical cables and are responsible for several house fires.
  • Rodent infestation can also be seen in eaten food packaging and the tooth prints seen on it.
  • Rodents emit a smell similar to ammonia, which can be perceived especially when it is heavily infested.
  • The rodents can often hear scratching or pawing noises, especially in (hollow) walls and false ceilings.
  • Rodents leave grinding and smear marks along their walkways.
  • Rodents are increasingly using scraps of cardboard, insulation materials, etc., to build their nests. As a result, this nesting material can often be found.
  • Rodent pests leave traces of faeces in the form of small, dark pills that go near walls and wherever they have been active.

Detect mouse infestation

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Detect rat infestation

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Damage caused by rodents

Rodents are characterised by their pronounced gnawing instinct and their curiosity. In addition to creating fear and feelings of discomfort in humans, rodents are responsible for several other dangers and harms.

Economic damage

An infestation by rodents can have enormous economic consequences. In addition to the negative effect on the company’s good reputation, loss of goods and production leads to damage worth millions every year. In the case of audited companies (IFS, BRC, AIB, etc.), and identified rodent infestation can even lead to economic ruin if, for example, large existential orders are lost due to failed audits.

Damage to health – rodents as disease carriers

Rodents are harmful to health because they are infested with many pathogens that can also be transmitted to humans through parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, and mites. The transfer takes place through:

  • Faeces and urine
  • Dirt and grime
  • Rodent bites

Material damage

There are hardly any materials that can withstand the canine teeth of rodents. Rodents cause the following material damage:

  • Damage to cables and electrical installations
  • Gnawing damage to packaging, textiles and furnishings
  • Grinding damage to insulation and insulation materials, as well as damage to buildings and bridges, caused by sagging of paved and concrete surfaces as a result of digging

Damage to inventories

Rodents are responsible for the loss of raw materials, food supplies and feed, as well as crop failures. In addition to the eradication, more stores are contaminated by the permanent excretion of faeces and urine and made inedible for consumption. Food companies, kitchens and production facilities, in particular, suffer from this.

How can one proceed against rats and mice?

There are a few steps you can take to keep rats and mice away.


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Helpful tips on how to tell the two rodents apart.

Fight rodents

An infestation by rodents should be taken seriously. It can quickly spread to become a plague, as rodents reproduce almost explosively under favourable conditions.

Rentokil offers its customers a holistic concept for the control of rodents against mice or rats. First, a structural weak point analysis is carried out, in which the sources of incidence, such as joints, cracks or holes in the masonry, in ceilings, windows and doors, are eliminated. Our customers then benefit from tailor-made combinations of baits and detection boxes and preparations and active ingredients targeting the rodent.

In addition, Rentokil also offers solutions for prevention and, above all, monitoring. This is intended to ensure the early detection of a harmful rodent infestation insensitive, e.g. food-related areas (kitchens, production areas, clean rooms, etc.). Here, the music solutions against rodents are often desired to out acute rodent control in specific cases of need. Rentokil also supports companies specifically in the field of Risk Mitigation Measures.

Protect yourself, your family and your company from a rodent infestation!

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