Pest Dropping Identification Guide

Pest Dropping Identification Guide UK

Pests can become a major headache in the most unexpected ways. Usually, we don’t realize we have an infestation until we discover animal’s droppings somewhere inside our homes. Such findings are very repulsive, and they can be additionally concerning if we’re uncertain about what we’re dealing with. 

They are usually very tiny bits, some of them smaller than a grain of rice, and can often be mistaken by dust, soil, or any kind of crumbs. 

One of the first steps you should take after finding the droppings is to try and identify them. It can guide your decision between treating the issue by yourself or if you’ll need to contact a pest control specialist. Dealing with pests by yourself can be a stressful process, but you can potentially save on money and time if you’re willing to do this work. 

Whether if you’re looking into diagnosing your situation or just want to be prepared if it ever happens in your household, we prepared this guide to help you navigate.

Cockroach Droppings

Cockroach droppings resemble ground coffee or coarsely ground pepper, but their size will depend on the size of the cockroach. They will be cylindrical and have blunt ends and ridges down the side. You can find these droppings stick not only on the floor but going up the walls as well, wherever they might have passed.  

The smell of cockroach faeces is also very distinguishable and acrid. It happens to be stinky for a reason, as the smell itself created an invisible trail for the cockroaches to find each other. 

Cockroaches feel attracted by human food, and since they don’t have a specific place for defecating, the food might get easily contaminated, and it will have to be discarded for safety. 

It’s recommended that you clean the affected area with soap and water using gloves and other protective gear. This is important to avoid being infected by these droppings which can cause allergic reactions, especially if the dust from the faeces is inhaled. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Cockroach dropping is toxic and can trigger allergic reactions. Not only their droppings are toxic, but their saliva and other body parts also contain some toxins and might carry microbes; such as salmonella and e. Coli.

The most common allergic response it triggers is mild to acute asthma attacks and children are especially susceptible to this. Skin rashes, wheezing, and other symptoms might appear in case of an allergic reaction which should be investigated with the help of a doctor. 

What to do?

If you find cockroach droppings in your home, you should thoroughly clean the area – vacuuming, wiping, or brooming – and double-clean it with soap and warm water using protective gear. You can also make use of disinfectants if you prefer. 

Make sure to clean not only the area you found the droppings but to have a look at the room they were found in. Cockroaches are attracted to food leftovers, crumbs, and spills. Pet food is also included in this, so consider storing them away or in airtight containers. 

Cockroach infestations might be hard to exterminate. Evaluating the severity of the infestation is important. A small number of cockroaches might be easier to exterminate by yourself using specific products, but in large numbers we recommend you to get in touch with your local pest control professional. 

Squirrel Droppings

Another occurrence, although not the most common one, can happen in many households. Squirrels usually find a safe haven in attics and or crawl spaces in a house. They will make their way through insulation and chew on wood beams, which also adds to the problem that might go from an infestation to a fire hazard. 

Squirrels and rats have similar faeces, they are both dark brown and smooth, although squirrels’ droppings are larger, resembling barrel-shaped pallets. It’s not so easy to differentiate, but you’ll find squirrel droppings to be rounders and fatter than rats’. 

These pallets they excrete tend to become white after some time and they are usually found under bird-feeders and trees. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Squirrel droppings can be very harmful. Squirrel’s urine and faeces can spread an array of diseases; some might cause severe symptoms and require long treatments. 

Salmonellosis is one of them, but it’s transmitted if the droppings have been accumulating for a while. The transmission happens through the dust of dried faeces or urine by inhalation or if you’ve consumed food contaminated by it. It can cause fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhoea, among other symptoms. 

Other less common diseases squirrels’ droppings bring are tularemia, leptospirosis, and typhus. 

Squirrels can also bring other parasites with them, for example, ticks which can transmit Lyme disease. 

What to do?

If you find squirrel droppings, make sure to thoroughly disinfect the area, for that you can use water and bleach. Since the diseases squirrel poop can transmit are so dangerous, it’s crucial that you use rubber gloves or even face masks if it’s in a small or closed space – like a small attic – so you don’t breathe any particle of the excrements. It’s recommended that you contact a pest control specialist or a wildlife removal professional to lead this process. 

Rat Droppings

Rat droppings share a few likenesses with mouse droppings. Rats’ fresh droppings are going to be dark and moist, turning to a dark shade of grey after dried. 

This being said, rats’ poops change according to the species they belong to. They can have a curved pellet-like kind of dropping, or rectangular and blunt at the ends. It also depends on sizes, but overall, it is easy to identify as it’s one of the largest pest droppings you’re likely to find in your home. Not only they’re the largest, but also the most frequent. Rats are known to excrete a lot more than other kinds of pests, reaching up to 27,000 pellets in a year. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Rat droppings transmit a wide range of diseases, including hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis, plague, salmonellosis, tularemia, Lassa fever, among others. These are highly dangerous diseases and the treatments for some of them can last for several months, up to years. The mortality rate for these diseases can also be significantly high depending on the patients’ health background, age, and lifestyle.  

What to do?

If you find these kinds of droppings, before you start cleaning it up, open the doors and windows to improve air circulation for 30 minutes or more. Make sure you’re wearing protective gear throughout the whole cleaning process, the diseases spread not only through direct contact but particles stay suspended in the air. That’s why it’s important that you do not hoover or sweep the dropping (or urine). Wear gloves, use a paper towel to collect it, and clean the spot with disinfectant or bleach mixed with water. We recommend you get in contact with your local pest professional. 

Mouse Droppings

Mice, just like rats, are also known to excrete just as much as rats do. Their droppings are very similar in shape and size, presenting a pellet shape, although mice excrements are smaller. You can find these usually located at the same spot since, unlike rats, they actually prefer a “reserved” location, most likely corners and dark places inside the main areas they tend to explore. Their exploration happens mostly when they’re trying to find food, so you’d likely found these in a kitchen or pantry, although they can be anywhere in and outside a property. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Mice droppings are not dangerous at all and don’t carry any diseases transmittable to humans. 

What to do?

Since mice droppings don’t carry any dangerous disease, simply clean up the area with water and soap, or however, you prefer. We recommend using humane mouse traps around the places where you found the droppings or where you believe the mice to be exploring. With humane mouse traps, you won’t be killing the animal and would be able to let them free in the wild. If there’s a serious infestation, of course, it’s recommended that you contact a pest control company. 

Pigeon Droppings

Pigeons are local to our urban communities, so their droppings are typically found at homes in the city areas. They can be usually found attached to overhangs, cooling units, and anyplace up high where the pigeons tend to stay during the day. You’ll most likely detect the animals first before you detect their droppings, but if in doubt, pigeons’ droppings tend to have a white and brown colour mixed and tend to be almost liquid.  

Pigeons are answerable for a large number of issues, prominently their droppings. Pigeons are perhaps the most widely recognized bird species in the UK and, in light of the fact that a significant number of them relocate to our urban communities and mechanical territories, their droppings become a significant issue. 

Pigeon craps range in shading, predominantly white and dark relying upon their eating routine. The size once more, runs however they’re generally between ½ an inch to an inch long. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Most experts agree that pigeons’ droppings are only dangerous if the person affected by them has previous respiratory conditions. The droppings themselves can’t transmit any disease but exacerbate allergies and other issues. Therefore, they are not more harmful than getting in touch with a pet bird or cat, even, you have it at your home. Still, in case someone with a previous condition gets in close contact with pigeons’ droppings, only the dust from the dried-up droppings could trigger pre-existing respiratory conditions.

What to do?

These are knowingly tricky to remove droppings. We recommend you first soak the affected area in warm water to prevent the dust from the dried droppings to rise and be inhaled. Warm water also helps soften the dried guano which, if left in the same place for a long time, will become sharper and harder to clean. After dumping the area, you can then use bleach, laundry detergent, or a mix of vinegar to remove the droppings, the odour, and stains.

Bat droppings

Bat droppings can be mistaken for mouse droppings because of their similar shape, but the main difference is that bat droppings don’t have any moisture. Since their diets consist of insects – at least the bats found in the UK – their excrement consists of 

 dried insect remains and crumbles fairly easily. 

The droppings can be usually found near the place where the bat (or bats) is roosting. Those could be crevices, under ridge boards, or cavity walls. 

The droppings are about the size of grains of rice, and you can check if it’s mouse or bat faeces if you crush it. If it’s dry and crumbly, almost turn into a fine powder, then it’s bat dropping. 

How dangerous can it be? 

Bat droppings can transmit histoplasmosis to humans if the person breathes a fungus present in fresh bat droppings. It affects primarily the lungs, and the symptoms are flu-like: fever, cough, headaches, body aches, and chest pain.  

This disease is rare, though, and since bats like to hide out in higher, dimly lit spots around your house – mainly the roof – the chances of someone getting in contact with it is very low. The major danger of contamination happens at the moment someone is cleaning or trying to remove the bats from the area. But this can be prevented by simply using a face mask. 

What to do? 

It’s safe to vacuum or sweep up the droppings, as long as they’re not fresh. 

If it’s a single bat or a small number of bats, you can use a ladder and a next to capture them as they exit the building part they’ve been roosting in. Make sure to seal the area so they don’t come back inside. 

If it’s a larger group of animals, then we recommend you to contact your local pest control centre for support. 

About Mat

A complete novice trying to navigate in the world of DIY. I bought my first home about 2 years ago & ever since I've been trying to research & learn how best to tackle common household problems.

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