Mice and Rats



Why are rats and mice common problems?

Rats and mice are common winter problems.  As the weather changes and temperatures fall, rodents attempt to make your home their home.  Common rodent invaders include roof rats, Norway rats and field mice.  Roof rats typically nest in tress and debris outside as well as in attics and suspended ceilings.  They prefer a diet of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.  The Norway rat, largest of all rats, burrows and lives in outside sewers, crawl spaces, storage areas and other cluttered spaces.  This large rat eats protein and prefers pet food, insects, fish, nuts, seeds and garbage.  Mice will feed on a variety of nuts, cereals, and pet foods.  Mice need only a quarter of an inch space to enter your home or garage.  If you can see light, they can get in.

Rats and mice are household problems because of their constant chewing, the parasites they carry, and the diseases they cause.  These diseases include salmonella, hanta-virus, pox, typhus, tapeworm, round-worm, and even the plague.  They mark their borders in your home with urine and feces and may become aggressive when cornered.  They are nocturnal and have multiple births per year, and are quite adept at climbing, jumping, swimming and gnawing with their chisel-like front teeth.

To keep these vertebrates from invading your home, control measures include rodent proofing, proper sanitation, keeping grass cut lower than 2.5 inches, and removing tall weeds and all clutter both inside and outside.  You can prevent their entry by sealing off all holes and open spaces or cracks with cement and steel wool, remove debris daily and store bulk food in mouse-proof containers.  These measures are the most effective way of preventing rodents from entering your home.

Also Enviroguard pest management professionals can install temperature controlled foundation vents that are rat-proof.  Sound devices sold for rodent control are not useful for prevention because rodents quickly adjust to the sound.  Cedar, mint and other chemical repellents are also ineffective against rats and mice.

Anticoagulant baits in tamper resistant bait stations placed on the floors along walls every 10 feet apart is one effective way to control rodents inside a structure.  These stations are placed along walls because rodents have poor eyesight and need to travel along walls there their whiskers (or vibrissae) touch familiar territories.

Rats are suspicious of the introduction of new things into their territory and may ignore bait stations initially, so any trapping device or bait placement should be augmented with nuts or peanut butter for quicker bait acceptance.  Mice, however, are quite inquisitive and inspect new things quickly.  The down side to a baiting program is dealing with dead rodents and the odor problem it can create.  Once rats and mice have consumed the bait, they do not automatically go outside to die, and baits do not cover up the odor of the dead rat or mouse.

A successful rodent control program often takes some creativity.  A single treatment rarely solves the problem.  Weekly pest control service may be necessary to eliminate multiple rodents. 

Enviroguard Pest Solutions was recently employed to implement a control program for a warehouse facility. The program included exterior bait placement, multi-catch traps, glue board traps and exclusion work.  From previous experience we knew that placement of stations and glue traps along walls in warehouses can be tricky, some would disappear while others would be run over by forklifts.  We employed the use of low-profile bait stations and then placed glue boards inside 2-inch PVC pipe cut in 10-inch lengths and attached to the wall, thus reducing the number of missing and crushed stations.  Rats and mice entered the pipes fairly quickly because they identified with the round openings, similar to sewer lines or drain lines.  The Enviroguard technician was able to easily remove the glue boards and replace them with new ones.

In homes, similar creative placement techniques can keep toddlers and household pets away from traps and baits. Enviroguard pest management professionals will design and implement a rodent control program for your home or business.

My dog is sniffing around my kitchen cabinets.  I think I have a mouse.  How can I be sure?

Mice can be detected with several key signs.  The first is the presence of small pointed droppings.  Another is the smell of ammonia from their urine.  Mice do not see well and they travel along horizontal surfaces of walls and baseboards.  You may also see their rub marks, which is the black oil from their bodies, smeared along your floors and walls.  Finally, you may notice missing or scattered food.  They are particularly attracted to dog food and other easy to penetrate bags and packages in your pantry.  Glue boards and snap traps are an effective solution.  Baits are a component of any successful rodent management program and must be in a secured, tamper-resistant bait station.

I have seen snakes in my yard. Could I have a mice problem?

Yes, it could. Since snakes are carnivores their diet largely consists of small mammals, especially rats or mice. The also eat frogs, lizards, birds, fish, insects, snails and eggs of other animals. When we have customers with a large snake population it is often a sign that our task it to first control rats and mice populations and work to remove weeds, household clutter, food sources (like pet food), and entry holes.



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