Rodents

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Identification

  • Colour Brown, grey
  • Size From 150 mm to 500 mm long, including tail
  • Description The rodents that most commonly invade homes are mice and rats. Like all rodents, they have continuously growing, sharp incisors in their upper and lower jaws. They also have robust bodies, short limbs, long tails, and they like to burrow.

General Facts

Rodents’ instincts make them difficult to control, and they present a serious menace to your home. If you’re in need of rodent control services, here’s what you should know about these pests:

Rats

  • Instincts: Rats are instinctively wary of rat control measures such as traps and bait, and colonize in attics, burrows, under concrete and porches, in wall voids and other hard to reach places.
  • Disease: Rats can harbor and transmit a number of serious diseases. They can also introduce disease-carrying parasites such as fleas, lice and ticks into your home.

Mice

  • Access: They invade your home seeking food, water and warmth. Without mouse control intervention, one pair of mice may produce 200 offspring in four months.
  • Contamination: Each mouse can contaminate much more food than it eats.

Disease Information

Rodent-Proofing Tips

This summer an Alberta woman died after contracting Hantavirus, a rare respiratory disease primarily carried by deer mice, while cleaning her garage. Though usually regarded as winter pests when they venture indoors to escape the cold, this unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the year-round need for protection against mice and rats, which spread numerous diseases through their droppings, and the fleas and mites that live on them.

For property owners and managers, the threat of disease is only one part of the problem. Rodents can also pose a cost risk to any building. Mice and rats instinctively burrow through walls and gnaw through electrical wiring, forcing expensive repairs. And, of course, a rodent sighting by a tenant or guest can have a devastating effect on a property’s reputation.

Detect the Signs

Rodents prefer dark covered areas so infestations can sometimes go unnoticed until it’s too late. Given the damage they can cause, it’s best to uncover any existing rodent problems as soon as possible. The most obvious sign of an infestation is an actual rodent sighting, but there might not always be such blatant evidence, so look for other signs of rodent presence. They leave behind plenty of physical clues if you know what to look for.

Gnaw marks on electrical or other wiring are a sure sign. Sometimes rodents will gnaw through wiring completely, causing otherwise unexplained power outages in buildings or even individual units. Inspect storage areas and other places that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. Are there “rub” marks along the base of walls? Oils and dirt on mice and rats’ skin can rub off and cause discoloration along the wall’s surface as they squeeze through tiny holes into the building or scurry along the side of walls.

Are there small holes in the wall near the junction with the floor? If so, they are probably caused by burrowing rodents. And, unpleasant though it may seem, keep an eye out for the small, pellet-like droppings that are a sure sign of infestation.

Removal Tactics

If there is any evidence of a rodent infestation, the first step is to physically remove the pests from the building. Snap traps and glue boards are normally the preferred tactic for indoor rodent elimination, since they can effectively remove the pests from the environment without chemicals.

Snap traps should be placed with the trigger end of the trap against the wall in locales that show evidence of a rodent infestation. If using glue boards, they should be placed at the junction of the floor and the wall and firmly secured to the floor with tacks or tape.

Larger rodents often can escape unsecured glue boards. Rodent remains and droppings pose a serious health hazard, so be sure to have a trained pest management professional remove them properly.

Many facilities also use tamper-resistant bait stations containing rodenticide bait blocks around building exteriors or at the property line. Such bait stations allow rodents to enter and feed on the poisonous bait, while blocking non-target organisms, such as children and pets, from gaining access to the bait inside.

Like the traps placed indoors, bait stations should be located at suspected rodent entry points. As a general rule, avoid using baits inside the building.

Cleanliness Buffer

After addressing existing rodent populations, the next step is to ensure that they don’t come back. A rodent prevention program focuses heavily on sanitation and also targets elements that make an area attractive – namely food, shelter and water. Most property managers know that sanitation is important, and keeping a site neat and free from excess debris or waste is also a way to make sure that it continues to remain an unattractive habitat for rodents.

The overall cleanliness of a building requires a commitment from tenants also. Property managers need to emphasize the connection between sanitation and pest prevention. Typically, pest management companies will provide educational materials, on request, for property managers to distribute to residents or tenants. Some service providers may even be willing to conduct sanitation-training sessions with key staff members or tenants.

Rodents are not particularly picky eaters. Some species eat fruit, vegetables and meat, while others can survive solely on seeds and grains. This means that many mice and rats can be just as satisfied with organic waste found in dumpsters as they would be with a piece of fresh food.

Anywhere food is found is at high risk for a rodent infestation so pay special attention to these areas. Eliminate potential pest food sources by keeping such areas as clean as possible.

Dumpsters and outside trashcans are also high-risk areas. Smells can be a powerful attraction so dumpsters should be cleaned and frequently rotated, and trashcans should be tightly covered at all times.

Barriers to Entry

Although rodents can take up residence in a building even in the summer, they aggressively seek shelter in the fall as temperatures begin to drop. Rodents like to be warm and temperatures below 15°C typically bring them inside.

Landscaping and structural tactics can make it less likely that rodents will approach a facility. First, trim back all vegetation from the side of the building and install a gravel strip three-quarters of a metre wide around the building’s immediate exterior. Since rodents do not like to be out in the open, this buffer will discourage them from coming too close to buildings.

In the event that rodents do get near the building, it is necessary that all possible points of entry be blocked. Rodents often enter through back rooms or storerooms when doors are left open and frequently they gain entrance up under roofing tiles via the rain gutters.

They can penetrate the building through very small holes and cracks in the siding. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as 1.75 centimetres wide, while rats can get through holes as small as 2.5 centimetres. If you can fit a pencil into a crack or hole, it should be sealed with weather-resistant caulk or foam.

Dry Disincentives

Rodents also tend to enter buildings in search of water. Rats must have water to survive, and although mice can acquire most of their water from moisture in their food, they certainly won’t eschew water if it’s readily accessible.

Almost any source of moisture around your facility will be attractive to thirsty rodents. Pay special attention to appliances like soda and ice machines and HVAC units that might leak or perspire, and work with maintenance personnel to repair them if necessary. Also, monitor and remove any standing water around the exterior of the building.

By detecting and eliminating rodent problems quickly and implementing a comprehensive rodent prevention program, a property manager can hang up a “no vacancy” sign for rodents, keep tenants happier and help protect the longterm value of any real estate asset.

Common Signs of Rodents in Your Home

Rodents are an unwelcome and dangerous house guest that can quickly become a big problem. One pair of mice can produce 200 offspring in four months, which is just one reason why identifying early signs of rodent activity in your house is critical.

Making matters worse is the fact that rodents can transmit more than 35 diseases and introduce disease-carrying parasites, such as fleas, lice and ticks, into your home. Not only do rats pose health risks, but they’ve been known to cause electrical fires by chewing through wiring. Mice can enter the home through gaps as small as 1.75 centimeters wide, while rats can squeeze though openings as small as 2.5 centimeters. Identifying rodent activity early is important, but the problem often doesn’t become noticeable until an infestation has occurred.

If you observe the following signs of rodents in your home, contact a professional to help address the problem as certain rodents instinctively avoid DIY control measures like traps and bait.

  • Rub marks, burrows and black droppings. Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice and rat droppings are as long as a raisin.
  • Sounds of chewing in walls, attics and subfloor – particularly at night.
  • Gnawed marks, or holes, that are greasy to touch.
  • Narrow pathways clear of dust and dirt and greasy rub marks along walls where rodents like to travel.
  • A rotten odour.

The most common types of rodents are the house mouse, Norway rat and roof rat. The house mouse can contaminate large quantities of food and will chew through common building materials. Rats typically colonize in attics, burrows, under concrete and porches and in wall voids or other hard to reach places. Both the Norway rat and roof rat prefer damp environments. The Norway rat is nocturnal – seeing one during the day is likely a sign of a large infestation. Roof rats prefer to settle in higher locations.

Follow the below tips to help make sure rodents don’t make an appearance in your house this fall and winter.

  • Don’t leave doors open for long periods of time and install weather stripping around doors and windows for added protection.
  • Eliminate unnecessary moisture by repairing leaks, unclogging gutters and removing standing water in trash or recycle bins since rodents only need a small amount of water to survive.
  • Cut back branches and shrubs outside your home to eliminate rodent hiding spots.
  • Seal all holes and cracks in your home with weather resistant sealant; incorporating steel or copper wool into the sealant will help prevent rodents from gnawing through.
  • Keep your house clean of crumbs and spills.
  • Remove bird feeders as they are an easily accessible food source.
  • Seal all food and trash tightly to eliminate attractive odours.

Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which takes proactive steps to reduce pests access to key survival elements in your home like food, water and shelter, offers the best protection from any kind of infestation.

 

Where do they live?

Rodents are highly adaptable animals that have spread around the globe. Rats infamously proliferated the Black Death, which led to the deaths of millions of people in the 14th century.

The most common types of rodent pests in Canada are the house mouse, Norway rat and roof rat. Some burrow underground while others live in nests on the surface. Hollow logs, tree roots, and tall grasses provide protected places for rodents to shelter.

Mice prefer forested areas, pastures, grassy fields, and farmland, and usually hide in underbrush or other dense vegetation, such as tall grasses, shrubs, and vines.

However, in populated areas, mice tend to live near humans and readily available food sources away from the threats of predators.

In the wild, rats burrow underground, near another structure which can provide overhead shelter. In urban areas, rats colonize in attics, burrows, under concrete and porches and in wall voids or other hard to reach places.

The Norway rat is nocturnal. Both the Norway rat and roof rat prefer damp environments, while roof rats prefer to settle in higher locations.

Rodents like to be warm and temperatures below 15°C normally bring them inside.

Rodent life cycle

As mammals, rodents give birth to litters of up to 12 live young after carrying them for around 20 days. Newborns reach sexual maturity after a month or two.

In the wild, the mating season is from early summer to fall, but indoors, rodents breed all year round. They generally live no longer than a year.

Why do I have rodents?

Rodents invade homes seeking food, water and warmth. They aggressively seek shelter in the fall as temperatures begin to drop.

Mice and rats often find refuge in homes, businesses, industrial factories and warehouses, dog houses, sheds, barns, or lawn ornamentations.

Rodents often enter through back rooms or storerooms when doors are left open and frequently gain entry under roofing tiles via the rain gutters. They can also squeeze through very small holes and cracks in the siding as small as 1.75 cm wide.

Rats and mice will eat almost anything. Some prefer fruit, vegetables and meat, while others can survive solely on seeds and grains. Mice and rats can be just as satisfied with organic waste found in dumpsters as they would be with a piece of fresh food.

Almost any source of moisture around your property will also attract thirsty rodents. Rats must have water to survive, and although mice can get most of their water from moisture in their food, they certainly won’t reject water if it’s readily accessible.

How worried should I be about rodents?

Some mice and rats can carry and transmit Hantavirus, a rare respiratory disease, in their saliva, urine, and faeces. This disease can be fatal in humans and there is no known cure.

Mice can also transmit diseases like tularemia, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis, and murine typhus, while rats can transmit bubonic plague, Weil’s disease, toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis.

Rats and mice both contaminate food with their faeces, urine, and saliva, and can introduce parasites, such as fleas, lice and ticks into your home. Rodent remains also pose a serious health hazard to humans.

Rodents can also cause major structural damage to your home or business when they burrow through walls and gnaw through electrical wiring, causing power outages, provoking electrical fires, and forcing expensive repairs.

As well, oils and dirt on mice and rats’ skin can rub off and cause discoloration along the walls as they squeeze through tiny holes into the building or scurry along the side of room.



For business owners and property managers, a mouse or rat infestation can be devastating, ruining their reputation, harming their ability to sell their product or rent apartments, and potentially destroying their ability to operate at all.

As soon as you see a rodent invade your property, it's essential to begin rodent control measures immediately. If not rodents can multiply exponentially. Without mouse control intervention, one pair of mice may produce 200 offspring in four months.

To catch rodents, snap traps and glue boards are best, as they do not require chemicals. However, rodents instinctively avoid or escape bait and traps, and larger rodents can escape unsecured glue boards.

Tamper-resistant bait stations containing rodenticide bait blocks can also be used around building exteriors. These block non-target organisms, such as children and pets, from accessing the bait inside.

But these traps and baits don't get to the source of your pest problem. Preventing rodents' return requires a sanitation program, community education, staff training, strategic landscaping, and possibly even structural changes.

For truly effective long-term rodent control, you need an integrated pest control management program provided by professional pest control services.

How can I prevent rodents invading?

Check wiring for chew marks and gnawing, Check the walls for rubbing marks or holes, Look out for small, pellet-like droppings, Keep food preparation areas clean, Clean up spills and crumbs immediately, Remove food sources, including bird feeders, Clean and rotate dumpsters regularly, Make sure trash cans are covered tightly, Trim back vegetation from building exterior, Seal any cracks or holes with caulk or foam, Fix leaky soda or ice machines and HVAC units, Remove any standing water outside, Don't leave doors open for a long time, Install weather strips around doors and windows

Types of Rodents

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