Domestic rodents constitute a major pest problem. The definition of rodent is “a gnawing mammal”.
They eat almost every food people eat and contaminate more food than they consume. Rodents will also gnaw on structural wood, wires, and other materials. This can lead to costly structural damage and other issues.
The major domestic rodents are the House Mouse and the Norway Rat. While they are wary of humans, they are comfortable in human settings.
What they look like and how to identify between a rat or mouse / rodent pest problem
The Norway Rat – Weighs between 7 and 18 ounces and is between 13 and 18 inches long. They have a long hairless tail which is shorter than their head plus body. It has small close-set ears which look half-buried in its fur. Its fur is coarse, generally red-brown, to gray-brown, to yellow-white belly.
The House Mouse – A small and slender weighs between .4-1 ounce, is between 5 to 7 ½ inches, the tail is equal or a little longer than its body plus head, its ears are very large for the size of the animal, it’s fur is silky dusky gray.
More About Rodents
Rodents are very good at detecting the world around them, and their sensory abilities greatly influence their behavior. Their sense of touch is well developed, in the highly sensitive whiskers and certain guard hairs. This allows them to move rapidly in the dark.
SIGHT – Rats and mice prefer to run along the walls or between things where they can keep their whiskers in contact with side surfaces. Their vision is adapted for nocturnal life so it is not very sharp but is very sensitive to light. Rodents have a keenly developed sense of smell they will leave odor trails of urine and other secretions to mark territory. Rodents that live among humans are accustomed to the smell of humans therefore, human scents will not repel them.
TASTE – Rodents have a well-developed sense of taste. Food preferences will vary among species and sometimes even between a different population of the same species. Rodents will always prefer fresh food over decaying food.
HEARING – Rodents have a keen sense of hearing. They can even detect sounds outside of our range of hearing. They can locate the source of the noise within 6 inches. Unusual noises will cause a rodent to attempt to escape.
Destructive – The incisor teeth of rats grow 4-5 inches a year. So these rodents must do some gnawing or tooth to tooth grinding each day in order to keep the teeth of short enough to use. Rodents will gnaw almost anything they can bite. They can gnaw anything that is roughly the hardness between iron and steel. This includes concrete and asphalt.
Mice/Rodents are commonly enter through small holes
A house mouse can squeeze into an opening that is larger than one-quarter of an inch. A rat needs half an inch or more. Rodents will make small holes and gaps larger so they can fit through to gain access to a building or a food supply. A rodent’s ability to jump, climb, swim, and keep its balance extend both the territory and the access points it can reach.
The rat prefers burrowing into the soil for nesting and harboring. While individual burrows are usually less than 3 feet long, those of establishing colonies may be longer and interconnected with several exit holes.
Rats are less likely than mice to go after a new food source. They prefer the familiar and will feed on a range of sources available rather than restrict themselves to be a single food source. Rodents will hoard food. They may take food back to avoid predators, to keep food from competing with other rats, or to store in case food gets scarce later on.
Droppings are the most common sign of rodents, and they will be left wherever rodents travel or nest. The size and shape of the droppings will indicate whether you are dealing with rats or mice. Old droppings are dull, greyish, and crumble when pressed.
Rodents will use the same runway for good water and shelter. Rub marks from rats are normally found near the ground or floor level. Mice do not leave detectable run marks except when the infestation is heavy. Fresh mark is soft and will smear if rubbed. As the mark gets older it will dry and will flake off if scratched.
Treatments for Rodents:
Tips/Prep for the Treatment of Rodents
The most important part of treating mice or rodents is to locate the hole that they come in and out of. Once this hole is found the success rate of treating the issue is very high. If you find this hole, tell the exterminator where it is located. Areas of the droppings should be noted and cleaned up.