Searching for warmth and easy food, rodents have coexisted with humans since the dawn of architecture. Left to themselves, the rats and mice generally get the better of this relationship, while humans get the dubious benefits of disease and stolen food.

Civilization is at constant battle against this rodent menace, and since 2014, Barefoot Pest Control has been on the front lines. Our pest control company in Maryland provides reliable rodent extermination and exclusion for homes and businesses throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C., for rat populations as well as mouse control.

ratPest Library: Rats

Dietary Needs

Like their human hosts, rats are omnivores. Rodents will feed on anything we eat, and everything we leave behind. Their primary diet consists of meats, fruits, grains, and nuts, derived from whatever source they can find. Because rats require fresh water to drink, their burrows are often located near water sources. This can include leaky water pipes.


Rats are effective chewers and gnawers of many materials, allowing them access to homes directly through improperly sealed construction.


Usually, rats venture outside of burrows only when protected by the cover of darkness. Should you discover anything more than rat droppings during the day, it may be that some other pressure is causing unusual behaviors in the rat population. This can include overpopulation or habitat destruction.


Rats form burrows containing many individual rats in close quarters. As the population explodes, the rats often fight over resources, forcing out younger and less successful rats. This continual process spawns many new burrows in new areas, making rat control a constant effort.


Rat females produce litters of between five and twenty young, six or more times per year. Rats reproduce quickly and can live collectively in great numbers if there is enough food and water to support them.

Rat Dangers

Rats combine many of the dangers of other pests into one organism. They carry fleas and ticks and can introduce them and the dangers that go with them into your home. Foraging rats steal food, and contaminate the remainder with their filth. Their gnawing and chewing pierces homes with holes large enough to fit through. In addition to all of this, their droppings, urine and saliva can contain disease-causing organisms, including Hantavirus and other perils.

Controlling Rats

Because rats are cleverer than other pests, controlling rats requires effective problem solving and constant innovation. Rats are shy of new things. They learn to avoid existing traps, especially when they have survived a close encounter with one before. Forager rats will prefer existing, safe food sources, even if they are harder to get at than a convenient, but untested new food source, e.g.: a poison trap. Because of this cautious nature, our rat control experts require experience, cunning, and a variety of control strategies for effective removal.

MousePest Library: Mice

Dietary Needs

Mice feed on a wide variety of food sources, often snacking over fifteen times during a day. Their diet consists mostly of seeds and nuts, but mice will eat nearly anything. Mice get all of the water they need from the food that they eat, allowing them to nest almost anywhere with a reliable source of supplies.


Mice can fit through spaces as small as a fourth of an inch wide, and will chew and gnaw patiently to widen a lesser entrance. Unlike some mammals, mice are active throughout the year so a drop in temperature will drive mice indoors for warmth.


Mice tend to hide their nests in dark environments, protected from searching eyes. They build their nests of soft materials and keep them clean of dust and cobwebs. However, areas with mice will often be full of droppings.


Mice populations grow quickly, with each member reaching sexual maturity within six weeks of birth. Every six weeks thereafter, female mice are capable of having a litter of up to eight young. This explosive growth leads to intense competition, with the losers being forced out to form new nests.

Mouse Dangers

Mice present all the threats of rats while being even more mobile. Their exploratory gnawing and chewing has even been known to cause house fires when they inadvertently chew into electrical wires. Mice can nest in areas inhospitable to rats, leading to an even wider distribution of disease-carrying droppings, parasitic insects, and food contamination.

Controlling Mice

Unlike rats, mice are very curious. Individual mice can be very easy to trap and kill, as they will explore incautiously in search of food. Most of what homeowners will catch on their own, however, is curious young mice that are inexperienced with traps or baits. The older mice will easily avoid these haphazard traps and baits, and continue to grow the nest in hiding. The only sure way to remove these nuisances is to eliminate nesting and feeding materials while simultaneously eliminating the mice themselves.

Call (855) 754-6760 or contact us today for pest control on your schedule, including 24/7 emergency service. We are your one stop home care company – providing pest control in Upper Marlboro, MD, and other cities! From our base in Waldorf, Barefoot Pest Control provides complete protection against home and yard invading pests, termites, and wildlife for Waldorf, La Plata, Clinton, and Mechanicsville, Maryland, as well as pest control in Prince Frederick, MD.