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Rodent control | what is the difference between a rodent and a pest?

on Monday, June 03, 2013 by Terminix


Rodent control is an important part of protecting your biggest investment, your home, but it’s far from the whole story. As you’re probably aware, there are many different species of pests and rodents that can potentially infest your home, but do you know how to tell the difference between rodents and pests?

Many people use the terms “pest” and “rodent” interchangeably. A pest is defined as being "a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns.” The term rodent refers to any of the various mammals of the order Rodentia, the largest group of mammals in the world. In essence, three species of rodents are pests, and not all pests are rodents. That’s why the treatment and control methods for pests vary significantly from the rodent control products used for mouse and rat removal.


There are more than 2,000 recognized species of rodents, of which perhaps less than 250 worldwide interact sufficiently with humans to cause economic, conservation or health concerns sufficient to warrant rodent control efforts. This includes mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, chipmunks and squirrels, to name a few.

All rodents share common features; most notably they each have a single pair of incisors in each jaw, and the incisors grow continually throughout life. Rodents cause a variety of problems, including disease and contamination of food and destruction of property due to urine, droppings and carrying germs, as well as fires resulting from gnawed electrical wiring. The potential for those types of problems underscores the importance of using rodent control to protect your home and family. 

It’s not common for homeowners to actually encounter mice or rats but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t signs you couldn’t notice, as mentioned above. Mice are best controlled by using traps: either snap traps, live traps or a combination of the two. When using snap traps, use different baits (chocolate, peanut butter, etc.). Traps are preferred when trying to control rats as well because the bodies may be removed. With baits, you run the risk of the rodent dying inside a wall or in a place where you cannot remove it. Your best move, however, would be to contact your local Terminix® branch to get a free estimate of the cost for pest control services in your area.

  • Ants – You’ll know you have an ant infestation, because you’ll see them, but you must identify the type of ants in order to know whether they are a species that can be controlled by ant baits.
  • Cockroaches – Like ants, cockroaches come in many species, and each one is treated differently. Prevention is the best action, and as when you are practicing mouse control, it’s important to take proactive measures, such as sealing holes in the home’s exterior and removing debris from around the exterior of the house.
  • Fabric and pantry pests – From flour beetles to carpet beetles to foreign grain beetles, these pests feed on everything from fabric to pantry goods to mold, so getting rid of them is hard to do. If you discover an infestation in your pantry, discard the infested product and call a professional pest control service to help you prevent further infestation.
  • Spiders – Often, spiders can be controlled through fairly simple measures. Unlike rodent control, which can be complicated, spider control primarily involves removing spiders and webs with a vacuum cleaner. If that doesn’t seem to be sufficient for your problem, you can also use the sticky traps designed for cockroaches, placing them behind furniture and appliances and just inside doorways.

Terminix has the solution

As with rodent control, the most effective treatment for pests comes from a highly trained technician who can properly identify and treat accordingly. If you don’t currently have these pests in your home, then the Terminix Pest Control Plan is your best bet to keep your home free from pests. This plan takes a proactive approach to keeping pests out, like spiders, ants, cockroaches, rodents and more. The Pest Control Plan starts with a professional providing an initial service inside your home to get rid of pests you can see and the ones you don’t. Then the perimeter of your home is inspected and proactively treated to keep new pests from entering. Quarterly treatments protect against further infestation and it’s all protected by the Ultimate Protection® Guarantee, the strongest guarantee in the business.  For more information, visit or call 1.866.766.7628 today.

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The Terminix Ultimate Protection® Guarantee is the strongest in the business. We’re committed to defending your home against pests and termites. Because it’s your house, not theirs. If you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll give you your money back.

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