What To Do About Rodents On Your Ventura County Property
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What To Do About Rodents On Your Ventura County Property

There are two ways rodents in Ventura County cause trouble. Some rodents come into yards, damage grass, eat plants, make holes, or chew the bark off the base of tree trunks. Other rodents get into structures, invade kitchens, eat pantry foods, and build nests in attics. How you deal with yard rodents is different than how you deal with house mice and house rats. Join us today as we look at how backyard rodents differ from indoor rodent pests, like rats and mice—and occasionally squirrels. We'll cover why it is best not to have rodents hanging around on your property and what you can do to drive rodents away. If you're battling rodents and really need to speak to someone about it, contact us. Our friendly technicians are happy to meet with you in person and answer your questions. We offer advanced rodent pest control in Ventura County and can guide you toward an effective solution. 

The Kinds Of Rodents That Invade Ventura Properties 

The four common yard rodents we see in Ventura County are voles, moles, gophers, and ground squirrels. All of these animals can create holes in your yard and damage your lawn, but there are key differences between these pests. 

  • Voles (also referred to as meadow mice) are chubby, brown, mice-like critters that chew runways in lawns. They scatter the dirt they excavate from their holes and it chokes the turfgrass around their holes, creating areas that look barren. If you see bald spots and your yard starts looking like swiss cheese, voles are the pests you're dealing with on your property.
  • Moles create mounds that look like volcanoes. They also raise earth as they tunnel through yards. All of that surface tunneling tends to damage the grass and make it dry and brown. If you see raised brown surface tunnels running across your yard like a river, you have a mole problem. Typically the dirt of a mole mound is chunky because moles push it out of their holes with their heads using brute force. Moles usually plug their holes, but it is possible to find an open mole hole.
  • Gophers (also referred to as pocket gophers), push dirt out of their holes in a fan-shaped pattern and plug their holes. When you see lots of mounds of dirt in your yard and no holes, you have a gopher problem. Typically the dirt of a gopher mound is a fine texture because they break dirt up as they claw and shovel it out of their tunnels. Sometimes gophers create damage that looks like vole damage, and no mounds are present. Sometimes they push dirt out all the way around a hole and it looks more like a mole mound than a gopher mound, but generally, you can expect them to create a fan of dirt and plug their holes.
  • Ground squirrels often move in after gophers create holes and make the holes larger. When you find big holes that look like a hazard that will twist or break an ankle, you're likely looking at a ground squirrel problem. They also tunnel underneath foundation slabs and you may notice these tunnels or cracks in foundations when ground squirrels move in. 

These three rodents are lawn and landscape pests. Voles and gophers eat plants. Moles eat insects, grubs, and earthworms. But all of these critters tend to destroy lawns because of their tunneling and excavating activities.

Rats, mice, and squirrels are home invaders. Rats and mice are the worst of the three. In Ventura County, roof rats tend to be the worst of all rodent pests. Let's take a quick look at each.

House Mice: These are dusty gray rodents with cream-colored bellies. They are active at night, so it is rare to see one in your yard. You may tell that you have a house mouse infestation by looking for their black droppings. The droppings of a mouse are slightly smaller than a grain of rice. 

Deer Mice: These mice have a tawny color and milky white bellies. They kind of look like a deer and a mouse had a baby. If you have these mice on your property, you'll likely find their droppings in sheds, barns, and outbuildings. They don't tend to invade residences.

Roof Rats: These are black rats. If you see a black rat on your roof or in your attic, you can know for sure that you have a roof rat infestation. If you don't see them, you can look for the droppings in your attic. The droppings of roof rats are black and slightly larger than a grain of rice.

Norway Rats: These are brown rats. You may see one waddling around in your backyard. They are larger than black rats and, while good climbers, they tend to stay on the ground. In fact, they create ground burrows in yards. If you see a hole underneath a pile of junk or debris, it is more likely a Norway rat hole than a hole created by a vole, gopher, or mole. Look for Norway rat droppings in basements, boiler rooms, and storage rooms on the ground floor. 

Tree Squirrels: Tree squirrels are diurnal critters. You won't have any trouble seeing these rodents in your yard. You'll also see them running along power lines or climbing on your roof. If you do, that is an indication that you have a problem. Another way you may tell that squirrels have gotten the wrong idea about living in your home is by looking for damaged window screens.

Now that you know a little bit about common domestic rodents in Ventura County, let's discuss a few ways they create problems.   

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Why You Don't Want Rodents Hanging Around Your Property

We don't need to tell you that ground rodents will make a mess of your lawn. You could see that when we described the holes they create. We won't go over that again. We'll only add that lawn rodents are persistent pests. They reproduce quickly and create more trouble as they have more offspring. It is best to do something about them as soon as you notice activity.

Rats, mice, and squirrels cause more trouble—a lot more trouble. These rodents can damage plants in your yard, but the real troubles begin when they attempt to get inside. Damaged screens are only the beginning.

  • Rats and mice chew holes within sole plates, allowing rainwater or moisture to get into your home. Those holes also provide a pathway for other pests that don't chew holes.
  • All rodents leave droppings and urine as they explore indoor spaces. These present a health concern and are smelly.
  • Rats and mice can invade food storage areas and damage food packages, contaminating the contents.
  • All rodents carry ticks and fleas, which are known to transmit diseases to humans.
  • All rodents can chew on wires and present a fire hazard.

It is not good to have rodents in your home, even cute, furry-tailed rodents. While they are domestic critters, they are not domesticated.   

How To Make Your Property Less Inviting To Rodents

There are many ways to deter rodents naturally. The key is to make it hard for those potential pests to access a food source in your yard or find a hiding place. Each rodent is somewhat different and these tips will not apply to all of them. Do some research on each to connect the dots.

  • Use guards to protect tree bark.
  • Install hardware cloth around the base of garden fencing.
  • Install hardware cloth around decks to keep rodents out of the voids underneath.
  • Keep your lawn trimmed low.
  • Address lawn weeds as quickly as possible.
  • Use hardware cloth to keep rodents from getting underneath sheds.
  • Make sure your trash is in covered containers.
  • Remove your trash weekly and clean your receptacles if they acquire an odor.
  • Move bird feeders away from your exterior or store them away.
  • Remove yard clutter to get rid of hiding places. 
  • Move scrap wood, campfire wood, and other wood sources away from your exterior.
  • Pick dead branches up and store them in a container.

In many cases, these simple tips are enough to deter rodents and keep them away. It takes hard work, and you may have conducive conditions around your home that are difficult to correct. If this is the case, targeted pest control is needed.    

The Key To Total Rodent Control For Ventura Properties

Rodent control is systematic, sustained, and strategic. It requires careful inspections, correct product applications, evaluations, exclusion work, and follow-ups. It is best to have a licensed pest management professional handle rodent control. Whether you're dealing with lawn rodents or a rodent infestation inside your Ventura County home, our experienced technicians can help you sort things out. Contact Ventura Pest Control today for assistance. We are familiar with all the kinds of rodents that live in our area and we have a track record of making customers happy. Check out our customer reviews. When you need expert control or an ongoing maintenance service, we can guide you in the right direction.

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