IF IT BUGS YOU, CALL US NOW: (973)697-7979

Rodents – Both Nuisance and Health Hazard

Cute wood mouse sitting on hind legs

Since time immemorial, human beings have struggled with keeping unwanted wildlife out of their homes. Pests can ruin dwellings, consume and contaminate food supplies and leave their filth everywhere. The average home can host a wide array of vermin, but the most common and distasteful among them are rodents. This classification includes animals such as mice, rats and squirrels, all of which are plentiful and highly destructive. In addition, they serve as vectors for a number of contagious diseases. Among these are hemorrhagic fever, hantavirus, bubonic plague, rabies, lyme disease, lassa fever, leptospirosis and meningitis. Many of these diseases carry a significant risk of fatality, particularly in infants, children, the elderly and people with weakened immunity. They also carry more than 20 known parasites that can transmit diseases of their own. Here are some specifics on these foul creatures and what they’re capable of.

Mice

Mice are quite small and possess the ability to compress their bodies enough to slip through gaps measuring a mere 1/4 inch, allowing them to enter homes with ease. These animals are also notoriously fecund. A female mouse can produce up to 14 young in a single litter and may become pregnant again within 24 hours of giving birth. The trigger for her fertile period is the presence of a male mouse’s urine, which he trails behind himself by dragging his testes through it. Unlike most other animals, mice possess no control over the frequency or timing of their most basic bodily functions. They leave their excrement wherever they happen to be at the moment, whether it’s your floors, countertops or cabinets.

The most obvious sign of a mouse infestation is the presence of feces, which resemble grains of rice in size. It may be found along baseboards, under furniture and in cabinets. Other evidence includes chewed wires, shredded furniture and holes in food packaging. If the problem is bad enough, it’s often possible to hear the squeaking and ruckus associated with fighting.

Rats

Rats can be much worse than mice in that they’re larger, more destructive and have little or no fear of human beings. A female rat can produce between seven and ten young per litter. It takes them approximately one week to become fertile again after giving birth. However, their slightly lower rate of reproduction is made up for by the fact that they are larger and more intelligent than mice, providing them with a better rate of survival. Their average life span is also considerably longer, lasting two to three years compared to a mouse’s six months. Like mice, they’re incapable of controlling their defecation or urination.

A rat problem, if the noise them make hasn’t been noticed first, can be diagnosed by the presence of feces. Their droppings are around 3/8 of an inch in length and look like giant versions of mouse droppings. These can be found in all of the same places as mouse feces, particularly in kitchens or basements. In addition, it’s not uncommon for them to chew clear through wires to wear down their teeth or to destroy soft furniture in their quest for nesting materials.

When trying to get rid of a rodent problem, it’s important that you always enlist the services of a professional as do-it-yourself methods can be both dangerous and woefully ineffective. Live traps do nothing to address the issue of overpopulation, leaving the animals free to breed or return to their original catch site. Furthermore, releasing them puts you at risk of being bitten or scratched.

Poison baits pose a serious risk to small children and pets living in your home as well as to beneficial wildlife. Rodents can also become immune to them over time and pass on this trait to their offspring, resulting in generation after generation of pests that are even harder to kill. Similarly, they will also quickly learn to avoid spring and sticky traps by smell and appearance, not matter what enticing food they’re baited with. There is also a risk of small animals or children falling victim to these extermination methods.

Another common way to try to rid yourself of a rodent problem is to use deterrents that give off a certain scent or sound frequency. In most cases, the animals completely ignore these methods and continue to make themselves at home. Call in the professionals at Sentry. We will evaluate the situation and recommend the best, and safest course of action.