Category: rodent control

Rodents of Unusual Size?

What if rodents took over the world? Or, what if they were twice as large as they are? In the movie The Princess Bride, the two main characters, enter a dangerous forest. The concerned Princess Bride asks Westley, “What about the ‘ROUS’s’?” Westley replies, “Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist.” Less than one second later, Westley is attacked by a giant, four-foot long mole.

Technically, moles are not rodents (they are insectivores). But rats, mice, voles, and squirrels are. Fortunately, such ROUS’s only exist in the movies. Be thankful that there are no four foot long rats roaming the streets and getting into our homes.

So, expel a sigh of relief. There are a lot of rodents in the world, but not enough to take over. Yet, when rodents appear in your house and/or yard it may seem like they have taken over. You may feel overwhelmed and helpless to solve the issue. This article will help you understand common rodents that may invade your living space, and how to deal with them when they invade.

In New York City, rats outnumber residents two to one, according to some reports.

What is a Rodent?

Rodents (Rodentia) are small mammals, generally characterized by robust bodies, short limbs, and long tails. In addition, they have a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws.

A short list of rodents include chipmunks, marmots, woodchucks, squirrels, prairie dogs, gophers, mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, lemmings, voles, porcupines, capybaras, agouti, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and even beavers.

The Rat Problem

Rats are considered pests because of a few major reasons, since they:

  • Consume and damage human foods in fields, houses, and stores.
  • Gnaw and burrow, destroyong many articles (packaging, clothing and furniture) and structures (floors, buildings, bridges, etc.).
  • Can even cause fires by gnawing through electrical cables.
  • Are responsible for transmitting dangerous diseases to humanity.

Common Rats in the United States

There are two common rats in the United States:

  • The Norway Rat – Otherwise known as the brown, sewer, or common rat.
  • The Roof rat – Brown with black intermixed and a gray, white or black underbelly.
Roof Rat
Roof Rat

These rats and mice are warm-blooded so they seek out warm areas to habituate such as attics, under porches, and in wall voids. While inside mice can contaminate ten times more food than they consume themselves and rats transfer parasites from their bodies into your home or place of business.

As for reproduction, rats and mice are among the most fertile rodents. Some can produce up to sixty-three offspring a year!

The Positive Side

So with all the negatives concerning rodents, especially rats and mice, are there any positive aspects of these pests? Yep.

1) Rats make great pets for many reasons including:

  • Rats are small and easy to care for.
  • Rats are actually clean animals when not from the wild.
  • Rats are smart and can even be trained.
  • Rats are easy to feed.
  • Rats have personality and can become content companions to their owners.

2) This next point is controversial, but rats and mice have increased human life substantially as objects of scientific experimentations. Since 1895 Rats have been used to help humankind understand genetics, diseases, the effects of drugs, and even psychological behavior.

How to Control Pest Rodents

Now back to rodents as pests. If you suspect you might have rats or mice problem (such as evidence of burrowing, droppings, or food eaten), here are a few steps to prevent infestation:

  • Repair and seal walls in your home or store.
  • Remove food from areas that are accessible for rats and mice, such as on top of fridge, under the sink, or on the floor.
  • Clean your house thoroughly. Take out trash regularly and keep lids on trash cans.
    Get rid of unnecessary storage boxes that would provide warmth and shelter for them.

If an infestation of rats/mice is certain you can take a few different actions to eliminate them.

Traps – these can vary from a simple mechanical trap to an electronic multiple rat-trap. (Keep in mind, however, that the death of these rodents will happen. If you are squeamish over dead rodents then you may want to have someone else empty the traps).

Baits – This technique allows one to get deeper into areas where rats and mice may live. Poison baits are designed to entice the rats/mice to eat and then die after the first serving.

One major downfall to using poison is that your pets and small children may come in contact with the baits. Pest management professionals know how to properly conceal the baits to keep children and pets from coming in contact with them.

Exclusion is the best method of prevention. Mice can fit through spaces as small as a dime and rats can fit into spaces the size of a quarter. If a mouse or rat can squeeze its head into even the smallest of openings, it can fit the rest of its body through as well.

Sanitation is one way to discourage mouse infestation. Mice are attracted to areas where a food source is abundant. Any area in which food is stored is a potential area for infestation.

Homeowners can employ these methods of control by buying control and exclusion products. A pest control operator, however, can make a thorough inspection, noting potential entry points and employing the best methods based on the unique situation of the house or structure.

Interesting Mice Facts:

  • Mice can spread a virus by “aerosolizing” its urine onto surfaces. Use gloves and wear a respirator when cleaning infected areas.
  • Deer mice feed up to twenty times a day, eating bugs, seeds, berries and more.
  • The female house mouse can have up to ten litters per year, consisting of 5-6 young per litter.
  • Mice can climb just about any vertical surface, easily entering homes not just at ground level, but even at the attic level.

Rats:

  • Are good swimmers and can even dive into water.
  • Can climb up most vertical surfaces, making it possible to enter attics.

Rodents and Warmer Weather

Rodents can be a real issue in homes and businesses. Not only is there a potential destruction of raw and finished material in the business, but there’s a fear with many people just for seeing a rodent, which affects employee state of mind and ability to focus on their tasks. No one wants to work where the possibility for a rodent to run past their feet at their workstation. Preventing rodent presence also keeps the potential for diseases out of the home or workplace.

Some may want to know why they have these rodent issues anyway. Why are they there?

First, don’t overlook the obvious signs that mice, rats, squirrels, or other intruders are present. We’ll focus on rats and mice for now, but keep a sharp eye out for anything.

What would attract rodents anyway?  These exert crawling and climbing intruders are always on patrol for food and water. When they find a good source, they hang around and create a colony, if allowed to.

Look around dumpsters for possible overflow or lack of removal / dumping. Look for where there may be bird feeders, outside pet feeding stations, garbage or trash bag piles, or food scraps that employees or family members may be putting out to feed wildlife.

Some businesses that are located near restaurants may have a greater chance of seeing rodent presence or infestation. Also careless trash collectors can spill refuse while making their pickups and that could also contribute to attraction.

When anyone reports a presence of rodents inside the building, the first reaction would be to find out how they’re getting in.

Rodents of many varieties are very flexible. They can adjust to openings in any structures. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as a nickel, and rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter. So look for cracks in mortar joints in block and brick, and open cracks in metal building sheet metal. Other entry points would be poor seals around overhead doors where they contact the ground, entry doors with rusted out bottoms that can’t close properly, doors actually left open during pleasant weather.

Another consideration is that in older sections of cities, sewer pipes can be close to the surface. Whether large or small, pipes can be rough inside from years of scale and rust, can be split with jagged edges, and can be caved in exposing quick vertical exposure to the outside. Rodents have been known to creep up through old drain pipes and pop off the grating covers that sits on top of the pipe. So make sure grate covers are properly secured.

When someone sees gnaw marks on wood products or baseboards, there is a rodent presence. When rodents run, they stay close to walls, so look for greasy streaks along the side along the bottom of walls on baseboard moldings. In a business, look for claw marks, opened food containers in the corners that have been gnawed open. And rub marks will be visible because rodents like to travel the same way all the time, so a clear path will be visible if it is well used. If the surface is dusty, you will not only see the paw prints but as the rat travels along the edges its tail is dragging along the floor surface leaving a distinct line on the floor.

So what can a home owner or business owner do to prevent rodent infestation?

  • Find water leaks and fix
  • Find sources of food and eliminate accessibility, put barriers up to adjacent properties
  • Check and repair cracks and structural damage/openings
  • Set traps of correct size. If the greasy trail is about 1” off the floor, it’s probably a mouse issue. If the greasy trail is 1 ½” to 3” off the floor, it’s a rat problem.

There are many remedies for rodent problems, and consulting a professional is the best recourse.

Winter Rodent Control

Everyone knows it’s winter when we look at the news and weather reports. The forecasts of snow, the below zero temperatures, and wind chills that go to 40 degrees below zero make us seek shelter. But we are not the only ones seeking shelter. During this cold season insects rodents and wildlife seek shelter in warm places such as our homes and businesses in order to survive.

Rodents, insects and possibly larger animals like raccoons will do what they feel they have to do to escape severe weather conditions. So the best choice for homeowners, business owners, warehouse sites, management of Health care, assisted, and community living to rid themselves of an infestation over the winter months is to call Hooper Pest Control choice for addressing these pests in the greater Cincinnati area.

Hooper Pest Control has the knowledge and experience to choose the right applications that will be effective in colder temperatures, in enclosed areas, or when people / pets may be present.  Correct application dosages and focused areas have to be done in accordance with Federal and State regulations, and Hooper Pest Control is the right choice. Food storage areas and specialized equipment areas are susceptible to infestations and the loss of thousands of dollars if left untreated.

TESTIMONIAL

Dear Mr. Hooper

Your company, Hooper Termite and Pest Control, has recently completed another assignment for me.

It is my pleasure to report your company has again met my expectations in trapping and removing the Raccoon. The situation was quickly evaluated. You provided quick service to control the situation.  And, as I have come to expect, the service was professional and it worked completely.

You are my service provider of choice for pest control. Thanks for all you do.

Peace and Best Wishes:
Louis B. Eichhold, AB, MA, SPHR

Before any treatment recommendations are made, a thorough site evaluation of buildings and perimeters must be done. On the outside, inspect walls, foundations, sheet metal enclosures, wood exterior panels, door openings, fence lines, roof lines where joining another part of the structure, window frame crevices, drainage outlets that become open during dry weather, concrete block cracks, openings where building access door mechanisms do not seal, or recent weather-related damage that could have opened a new access point in your building.

On the interior, inspect living area, attics, basements, inner offices, roof rafters, storage locations, places of stockpiling where infrequent use makes a better “nest”, secluded electrical enclosures that have poor sealing or outdated access opening covers for insulation damage or dead rodent intruders.

 

What to look for: Sawdust, chewed wood where a new access opening has developed, loose product on the floor that appears unexpectedly due to invasion of a bagged or boxed material stored on upper warehouse racks, dropping accumulation, frequent recognition of the same pests in the same area over time, and obvious nesting seen. And do NOT store firewood next to homes, buildings, or important structures because ants, termites and other insects can migrate to the adjacent area. Hooper Pest Control can offer sound counsel and expert remedial solutions to fit any specific problem you may have.

Hooper Pest Control received a call about mice being seen in the kitchen area. During the inspection we observed openings around three PVC lines going through the concrete foundation, a window in a crawl space that was not secure due to a vent going thought the center, a hole was gnawed in the garage ceiling from mice under the insulation in the attic. Treatment; Placement of Tamper Resistant Bait Stations Perimeter of foundation, and in the garage, use Copper mesh and caulk around  PVC pipe, Placement of traps above drop ceiling in basement below kitchen sink,  in laundry area (basement) in kitchen area, and in garage, Used Hardware cloth to rodent proof window. Scheduled follow up to monitor traps and bait stations.