Rats and Mice: How to Keep Them Out of your Home

Do You Have Rats or Mice?

It’s a common question homeowners often ask us: Do I have rats or mice? Neither are good news but it’s important to know which type of rodent is inhabiting your home so you know how to properly get rid of them.

Rats

If you’ve had the misfortune to actually see a rodent in your home, a rat would be significantly larger than a mouse. There are 2 common types of house rats – the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat.

The Norway Rat is the largest of commensal rodents with small ears, a blunt nose, and a short tail relative to its head and body. Their droppings are up to 3/4 inch with blunt ends. They usually gnaw on wood but will also chew on electrical wiring, causing damage. Typically, they will reside outside your home in burrows or in your crawl space or basement, entering the structure at night for food and water.

The Roof Rat is usually darker in color than the Norway Rat and smaller, weighing less than a pound. They have large ears, a pointed nose, and a long tail. Their droppings are spindle shaped with pointed ends. Unlike Norway Rats, Roof Rats prefer to live higher above ground, making your attic an ideal environment.

Both are cautious and will be suspicious of any foreign objects or changes in their environment. This makes rodent control tricky as they usually will not approach a recently placed trap or bait box. Proper placement and patience is crucial.

Mice

Mice are smaller than rats and usually a lot less suspicious, making them easier to trap through routine pest control methods. They’ll eat mostly anything so your home likely has a food source that’s appealing to them. Mice breed often and offspring can reproduce in less than 6 weeks, so it’s important to catch them early before they multiply. Like rats, mice are nocturnal and mostly come out of their nest, looking for food, at night. They have the ability to fit into tiny spaces, needing only 1/4 inch gap or opening. Also like rats, mice will leave behind droppings (much smaller, rod-shaped, with pointed ends).

How to Get Rid of Rats & Mice in Your Home

DIY Pest Control is not recommended for rodent control. Rats and mice have very specific habits, making them harder to catch and eradicate. Because rats are cautious by nature, any differences in their routine may cause them to move into other areas of your home. Depending on where they are nesting in your home and the type of rodents, an exterminator can then determine the best plan of attack; whether to use baits, traps, a combination of both, and the size of traps required. And because rats and mice multiply quickly, its essential that you call a pest control company at the first signs of infestation:

  • Droppings
  • Gnawed areas
  • Tracks or tail marks in dusty areas
  • Noises at night in less-frequented areas of your home, commonly attics & basements
  • Unusual odor

Preventing Future Mice & Rat Infestations

Because these rodents require only a tiny gap or space to enter your home, it’s essential that you implement good exclusion and sanitation practices. Every gap in your structure larger than 1/4 inch should be properly sealed, especially those around drainage pipes, vents, utility lines, doors & windows, etc. It’s also important to remove any available food sources, like trash cans, pet food, and bird feeders.

If you think you have a rat or mice infestation, call your local pest control company for an immediate inspection.

Northwest Exterminating
830 Kennesaw Ave MariettaGA30060 USA 
 • 888-466-7849
 

Benefits of Bees

What’s the Buzz on the Benefits of Bees?

By: Katherine King

“Busy as a bee” is an old saying. The phrase implies that you are constantly moving, being industrious, getting your work done, and focused in order to achieve a goal. Now let’s think about the insect in the phrase, the bee. Bees are very industrious little animals. They are constantly in search of places to get nectar, their food, which they can bring back to the colony in order to feed everyone else. The bees that remain inside the hive are busy working as well. They are expanding the size of the hive, caring for young, and producing the honey which is their main food source.

All of these things are wonderful to hear about, but not many people are comfortable when they see bees. They can be rather large, bright colored, loud, and have a reputation to sting. These factors may make you wary of bees and may make you think that you need to make a run for it. In actuality, bees would much rather leave you alone. They only sting as an absolute last resort. They can only sting one time in their life and then die shortly after they sting you.

Benefits of Bees:

There are some redeeming qualities and benefits of bees…their honey. Honey does not have an expiration date. If your honey hardens, you can gently heat it and it will soften back up. If you ever get a burn, you can put honey on it to protect the burn and help it heal. Honey has other medicinal properties that aren’t confirmed, but from a holistic stand-point they are great. I have personally had good results using honey to try and fight some major allergies. If that is why you are eating honey, be sure you buy local honey from your area so that you are exposed to the right pollens.

Although bees have positive benefits, we want to make sure you know that they can also be a threat if caution is not exercised. If you have bees in or around your property and would like them removed, call our Wildlife division at Northwest Exterminating for our bee removal service.

 

Rats in Space?

Scientists Develop a Use for Rats in Space

By: Katherine King

It seems like every little kid, and some (most) adults, dream of going to space one day. The only trouble seems to be the whole lack of gravity thing, minor details. Scientists have come up with a new way to study the effects of microgravity on astronauts…rats!

Scientists have developed new, high-tech cages that will allow for constant monitoring of rats or mice as they are in space. The cage provides food, water, fresh air, lighting, and bars to aid in movement. It is designed so that the rats can move from a transport cage to their main habitat without risk of escape. Rats and mice are great study animals, because they have similar eating habits to humans, have been extensively studied, and have a short life span. The new information gathered from the rats and mice will help scientists to understand the effects of microgravity over time, and help astronauts to come back healthier than in the past.

Scientists may not have been studying rodents in space for very long, but Northwest Exterminating has been studying rodents in your “space” for years! If you have a rodent problem, call Northwest Exterminating today.

 

How to Cope with Snakes

Beware of Snakes While Still Enjoying Your Summer

By: Katherine King

The weather is starting to warm up nicely, making a lot of us want to be outside to soak up the sun. We aren’t the only ones enjoying the sun’s rays, though. Snakes are reptiles, which means they are cold-blooded and dependent on their surroundings to regulate body temperature. Be careful when participating in outdoor activities. Caution is necessary around rock and log piles, particularly if they are in a nice, sunny spot. Snakes will often rest on the top of these areas to warm up before they begin the day’s activities.

Snakes may also be in your garden, helping you control insect populations. Watch where you put your hands so that you do not accidentally grab a small snake. Snakes never intentionally harm humans, but when they do it is because they feel threatened. If at all possible, avoid interactions with snakes. If you are bitten by a snake that is poisonous, seek medical attention immediately, do not try to do anything on your own.

If you are having a snake problem, contact Northwest Exterminating’s Wildlife division. A service representative will be sent to remove the snake, and provide suggestions on how to avoid contact with snakes in the future.

Katherine King
kking@callnorthwest.com

 

Bats Found in the State of Georgia

Bats are the only mammals that are actually capable of flight. However, what we consider to be wings are actually elongated fingers with a wing membrane attached. Bat wings are actually far more similar to human hands than they are to bird’s wings. Bats can be found globally, aside from in the extreme polar regions of the earth.  Additionally, in many places some species of bat are endangered, whereas others have populations numbering well into the millions.

Bats Range Map

There are 15 known bat species located in the state of Georgia. One of these species includes the Big Brown Bat, which is found throughout North America. These bats can be found anywhere, but prefer places where they can be well concealed such as under look bark, tree cavities or as many people are used to, inside caves.

Big Brown Bat

Big Brown Bat

Despite popular media, these bats, as well as 70% of the others, are insectivores and eat only insects including wasps, bees, flies and more.  Other species of bat include Mexican free-tailed bats, Eastern pipistrelle, the Gray bat, as well as many others. Bats may be by your home if you live in a heavily wooded area or have anywhere they can feel sheltered and well-fed. If you find yourself with unexpected neighbors, our Wildlife Services will come to your aid!

 

What’s the big deal about wildlife exclusion?

Some people think that when the temperatures drop, they will have less pest issues. For some critters this may be true, as they use the autumn to store up for a cold winter, during which they hide away. However, some of the larger animals such as squirrels, raccoons, possums, etc., might want to use your home for a warm space to hide away from the weather. Northwest Exterminating’s Wildlife Team knows just what to do in order to keep your home a pest-free zone!

Depending on what type of animals may be in your area, they can leave you susceptible to various issues. For instance, some squirrels like to make nests in attics, using your insulation as material! The costs of repair plus the hazards of a potential electrical fire due to damaged wires makes it really necessary to block this area off from potential unwanted guests. Aside from squirrels, other creatures have the potential to do damage in the form of bites or fleas that might affect your children or pets.

To reduce these risks against you, Northwest’s Wildlife Team specializes in wildlife exclusion. One of form of wildlife exclusion involves sealing up any potential openings to secure your home. The Wildlife Team will inspect your home, evaluating potential problem areas and implementing measures to eliminate these issues. However, if by chance your home has already gotten unsolicited attention from these pests, the Wildlife Team knows just what to do to take care of your home and prevent the issue from happening in the future. If you need a Wildlife representative, please contact us at 888-466-7849 or visit our website www.callnorthwest.com

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Wildlife-Exclusion&id=7352650

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

Research: Peppers to Deter Deer Mice

Researchers in Missoula, Montana are testing to see if hot peppers will keep deer mice from eating grass seeds.  Research scientist, Dean Pearson with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station is trying out different methods of attaching powder from the bhut jolokia pepper to the seeds of native grass.  The bhut jolokia pepper is one of the hottest peppers known to man.  Some success has been found in using the pepper to keep mice away from the grass seeds after planting.

The team of researchers will return to Missoula next spring to see if the peppered seeds have survived the hungry mice.  Benefits to this would be cost effective agriculture applications and the use of native seeds instead of exotic seed.

To read the full article click HERE.

 

Rodent Control

Rodents are mammals that are distinguished by a single pair of constantly growing teeth known as incisors in both their upper and lower jaws. These incisors are kept short by the constant gnawing that the animal does on wood, food, predators and unfortunately in and around homes. About 40% of mammals are classified as rodents, compromising the majority of these species. Common rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs and even hamsters.  Contrary to popular belief bats, moles, and weasels, despite common associations, do not belong to the rodent family.

Many rodents have had an adverse effect on humankind. For instance, rodents cost billions of dollars in lost crops each year and some carry diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus and hantavirus. The best way to prevent human exposure to rodent disease is rodent control. This includes eliminating food sources such as open garbage bags, sealing entries to the home and trapping rodents in and around the home.

Northwest Exterminating’s Wildlife Team specializes in the exclusion, removal, and control of wildlife nuisances. A Wildlife Services Representative will inspect your business or property for evidence of wildlife and will determine the points of entry being used by these critters to access your building. A customized plan will be developed to get the immediate nuisance under control and to seal off any known points of entry. If you have more questions, please give us a call at 1-888-466-7849.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodent

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/rodentia/rodentia.html

http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/commercial-services/commercial-wildlife-control/

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

Q & A: Preventing Mice From Coming Into Your Yard

Q: My neighbors abandoned their home and the yard grew about 4 feet tall. The neighborhood had their lawn service cut it and they saw many mice and rats in the yard. The yard is behind mine. What can I do to prevent them from coming into my house?

house mouse

A: It is a frustrating situation to be in when you are concerned about problems from another source that you do not have any control over!

All animals need three items in order to be successful: food, water and shelter.  If you can eliminate these, in most cases you can help control any issue.  It sounds as if cutting the grass from the neighbor’s yard took away the shelter and food causing them to search for these sources elsewhere.

We suggest that if you have any outdoor feeders for birds or squirrels to move them away from your home.  Also, if you have any water sources such as fountains, bird baths, etc, it would be helpful to move them as far away from the home as possible. Additionally, make sure that any pet food, bird seed or grass seed is stored in a tightly concealed, rodent proof container.

If you find that you notice evidence of animals or rodents in or around your home, call Northwest Exterminating.  A pest prevention program or wildlife control program may be needed to remove the unwanted visitors from your home.

 

Squirrels in Your Attic?

Do you have trees near your home?  If so, then you have a threat of squirrels getting into your attic. They may look cute with their furry little bodies but don’t let them fool you, they can cause some major damage.  When they live in your home they damage insulation, electrical cables (potential fire hazard) and can be unsanitary by leaving urine and droppings throughout your attic.

One of the first clues that people experience is the sound of scratching, clawing, gnawing, or scurrying noises.  If you think that you may have squirrels in your attic, call a professionalSquirrel removal is not recommended for amateurs.

Things that you can do to prevent squirrels from getting into your attic:

  • Block off all potential entrances along your roofline.
  • Caulk any openings or crevices.
  • To keep squirrels from using utility wires as a way to your attic, slit a 2-foot section of 2-inch PVC pipe lengthwise and slip it over the wire. This makes squirrels unable to maintain their footing when the pipe rotates.
  • Look for signs of chewed wood near your roof.  This is a sign that something is in or has attempted to get into your attic.
  • Cut back tree limbs that are close to your structure.
  • Call a wildlife removal professional.  They will be able to remove the animal humanely.

Chewed electrical wire

 

All of these things can help but squirrels are excellent climbers and will sometimes find alternate ways to get into your home to feed and give birth.  The best solution is to call Northwest Exterminating to remove the squirrels in your attic.