Do you suspect you might be sharing your home with an uninvited guest? Maybe you hear scratching noises in the wall or the attic. Or something is gnawing into bags of rice or pet food.
These could be indications of a rodent control issue.
Rodents are a diverse group, and 40% of all mammals are classified as rodents. They live naturally in most places on Earth. Included in the rodent group are hamsters, squirrels, beavers, mice, rats, porcupines, guinea pigs, and others. Rodents have one thing in common; twin incisors that grow continuously throughout their life span.
Rodent extermination mainly involves various species of mice and rats. These include the deer mouse, Norway rat, wood rat, roof rat, house mouse, and the white footed mouse.
Mice are smaller, weighing only about one ounce and rarely exceeding 8” in length. They have heads that are triangular in shape with large eyes, pointed snouts, and thin tails. Mice can vary in color depending on the type of mouse. Rats, on the other hand, can grow to be 20” in length and weigh over a pound. Their heads are round rather than triangular, with small eyes and ears, and a thick tail.
Mice and rats are similar to humans in what they eat. Mice and rats prefer grains, seeds, and fruit, but will also eat meat scraps or whatever they can find. They are omnivorous creatures, and when they can not find food to eat they will turn to cannibalization. If the food they are eating has high water content, they can live without water.
House mice make their homes between walls, behind appliances, and even in drawers that are not being used. Mice, in general, have nests outside in the forest, grasslands, and may burrow underground. When the weather becomes cooler, they may migrate and build a nest inside a home. If rats make their home inside a dwelling, it will likely be elevated as in the attic, roof, or in the rafters.
PROBLEMS WITH RODENTS
Rodents can gnaw through a number of objects, causing small or widespread damage to a home or business. Rats and mice will sharpen their teeth by gnawing through wood (which can cause structural damage), pipes, drywall, insulation, etc. Chief among the damage rodents can cause involves their affinity to gnaw through electrical wiring. This causes damage and poses not just a financial issue, but can also create a fire hazard. Rodents are also capable of total crop destruction.
The presence of mice and rats in a home can also result in food contamination caused by their feces, urine, and hair.
Rodents are not generally aggressive toward humans, unless they feel threatened. Mice and rats are social creatures and have a hierarchy within their groups. They are nocturnal and typically forage for food at night, unless hunger forces them out during the day. Mice and rats have the ability to travel great distances. They are very territorial and like to claim large areas as their own.
Mice and rats are laden with virus and bacteria that can affect humans through both indirect and direct contact. Contact with mice and rats can lead to respiratory and gastric issues, and even cause death.
Direct transmission diseases are caused by ingesting or inhaling particles that have been contaminated by rat or mouse urine or droppings. Some of the illnesses in this category include LCM (Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis), Salmonellosis, Tularemia, Leptospirosis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Plague, and Rat-Bite Fever.
Indirect transmission diseases are contracted through parasites carried by rats and mice like fleas, mites, and ticks. These diseases include Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Serogroup Viruses, Babesiosis, Lyme Disease, and Western Equine Encephalitis.
SIGNS OF A RODENT INFESTATION
As they are nocturnal creatures, rodents such as rats and mice may never be seen by human eyes. There are a number of ways to tell, however, if there is a possible infestation. These include:
• Food packages that have been chewed.
• Droppings (they look like dark grains of rice) in drawers and cupboards, as well as under sinks, in pantries, and around food.
• Shredded material like fabric, paper, and plant material (likely being used for nesting).
• Holes in floors and walls that have been chewed through and are used as exit and entry points.
The main strategies to employ to prevent rats and mice from entering the home are to maintain a sanitary, uncluttered home and yard environment, and to seal any openings into the home that are ¼” or larger, including all pipes and utility conduits.
Keeping a clean house, garage, and yard may not entirely prevent rats and mice, but it will make less hospitable environments for them to thrive. Keep food sealed in air-tight storage containers, as well as pet food, bird seed, etc.
Eliminate deep mulch and leaf piles from the yard, which make attractive nesting sites for rodents.
Determining the difference between a mouse and a rat is a homeowner’s main dilemma where extermination is concerned. That is because species identification can play a crucial role in successfully eliminating a rodent problem.
Rats and mice in and around the home can cause structural damage and health issues for pets and humans. If a rodent infestation is suspected, call SafeGuard Pest Control immediately. We can determine the type of rodent involved, the extent of the infestation, and the best method for eradication.
Don't attempt rodent control on your own. Schedule a free inspection before a single mouse or rat becomes a full blown infestation problem.