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Category: Mice and Rats

Rodent Awareness: The Danger

Last week, we examined the red flags and prevention techniques to avoid a rodent infestation in our blog Rodent Awareness Week: Red Flag and Prevention Techniques. This week we are examining why being vigilant against an infestation is a smart idea. The health and safety of the people living in your home is vitally important. Let’s examine the danger of having these pests living in the same space as humans.

The Risks

Rodents pose a number of health risks to you and your family. Our nation currently faces a growing level of mice and rat infestations in our cities and towns. More than 1/3 of American homeowners (37%) have seen a rodent in their home in the past year. Rats and mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of live or dead rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, and through rodent bites. In addition to contracting diseases from touching or living around these rodents, diseases can be spread from the mites, ticks, and bugs that feast on rats and mice.

The most common danger of having a rodent infestation is the spread of food-borne illnesses like Salmonella, as rodents contaminate surfaces throughout the house and will look to get into your kitchen cabinets and food prep areas. Other diseases include:

  • hantavirus,
  • salmonella,
  • allergies & asthma,
  • tularemia,
  • plague,
  • rat bite fever,
  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis
  • leptospirosis

These diseases put you and your family at serious risk for falling ill. Along with this worry, rodents can track in other pests from outside like fleas and ticks. This opens up your family to a variety of other disease and risk factors. Needless to say, rodents are dangerous to your home and your loved ones, and should be handled by professionals. If you suspect a rodent infestation, call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

Rodent Awareness Week: Red Flags and Prevention

The crisp autumn air has settled in for good and we are all seeking the warmth of our homes or even a cozy fire. Autumn has signaled that the colder, harsher weather of winter is yet to come. Rodents, while unable to read a calendar, also know that winter is just around the corner by these environmental changes. That means they, too, are beginning to plan for the harshness of a New England winter. That is why this time of year, specifically the third week (or so) of October, that we observe “Rodent Awareness Week.”

 

Unlike many pests that have an active season and a dormant season, rats and mice are active all year long. However, there is usually an uptick in rodent infestations as temperatures cool every fall and winter. It is this time of year that nature has signalled to these rodents that they need to find shelter to survive the winter. The cold temperatures and varying degrees of precipitation require that these pests find not only shelter but access to food and water, too. Your home may make a perfect location!  

 

Red Flags

Many homeowners don’t quite know what to look for in regard to signs that they may have a growing rodent problem inside their home or around their property. Here are a few red flags to be aware of.

  • Droppings – Mice and Rats leave droppings wherever they are inhabiting. Mouse droppings are small, less than one quarter inch, and pointed on both ends. Rat droppings are half an inch or longer.
  • Odor – Mice and rats also need to urinate and can leave a musty smelling, pungent odor after urinating the same spots time after time.
  • Rub Marks and Runways – Mice and rats leave oily rub marks along their common walkways. Common rodent pathways or runways are generally along interior walls, building foundations, ledges, pipes, electrical wires, conduits, tree branches and fence rails.
  • Gnawing Indications – Do you see insulations, storage containers, or other clutter in your garage, attic, or basement that appears to have been gnawed? This is a sure sign that you have some pests. You may also notice shredded paper, string, and other items that these rodent have made into nests for their young.
  • Noises – Many homeowners notice noises especially at night of scratching or scurrying. This may also be an indicator as these creatures are nocturnal.
  • Unusual Pet Behavior – If your dog or cat seems to be barking or pacing around walls, outlets, or other areas, they may be trying to tell you that there are mice or rats in your home.

 

Prevention

There is no 100% sure fire way to stop these creatures from entering your home but here are a few ideas to help you prevent an infestation.

 

  • Clean Up – Keep clutter to a minimum in the less frequented areas of your home such as: the attic, garage, or basement. The fewer places there are to hide, the better.
  • Seal up openings that lead into your home. Mice can fit into a space the size of a dime! Inspect under doors, around windows and especially near utility vents.
  • Replace broken windows.
  • Avoid using mulch adjacent to the foundation.
  • Keep bushes and trees trimmed back from your home.
  • Do not store firewood within the immediate vicinity of the house.

Prevention also means taking action as soon as you suspect a problem. Our experts can determine the extent of the problem and create a plan of treatment. Call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

Mouse in the House!  

Seeing a mouse scurry across the floor in your home can be very off-putting. Not only can it be startling to see a critter where it shouldn’t be, but also there are the worries about disease spreading, contamination of food, building of nests, and the fear of damage caused by gnawing on wires. The initial screams of, “There’s a mouse in the house!!!” often evolve into worry about these issues. Here are some of the signs and problems associated with finding a mouse in your house and what you can do about it.

Signs of Mice: While seeing a mouse may be your first indication that you have a rodent problem, there are usually signs long before a sighting may occur. Look for the following red flags that there may be mice in your house.

  • Mice droppings – these small black droppings are about 1/4 – 1/8 inch with pointed end or ends.
  • Food scraps left around where they would not normally be.
  • Gnaw marks or holes on food items.
  • Rodent hairs that are coarse.
  • Grease marks from mice or rats running or scurrying across the same areas over and over.
  • An odor that cannot be explained.
  • A nest of papers, straw, or other household items found in a dark, out-of-the-way area.

The Problem with Mice: It may seem like an odd thing to think about but many homeowners often say, “But it is only one mouse.” One mouse can be a problem. Here is why. . .

  • The reproduction rates of female mice is an alarmingly fast cycle. One female mouse can breed up to 10 litters of 5 to 6 young. These 60 offspring can then begin to reproduce themselves in as little as six weeks. So within months, you could have a huge population of mice. So think of “one” mouse as the potential of being many, many mice.
  • Rodents such as mice can harbor a wide range of parasites such as mites and ticks that carry lethal pathogens. Even without parasites, rodents can directly transmit deadly germs excreted in their urine and feces. In the last century alone, rodents such as mice and rats have caused the deaths of 10 million people.
  • Since mice are always on the hunt for food, they often contaminate food and kitchen surfaces with urine and droppings.
  • Damage from mice on the structure and electrical wiring of homes is well documented. If a mouse happens to gnaw on electrical wires in your attic or crawl spaces, you may be looking at an electrical fire. In addition, extensive damage to structures, furniture, and personal belongings can occur due to  constant gnawing.

If you have a mouse problem, call Pest-End Exterminators at Toll-Free: 800-287-4321  Phone: 603-382-9644  Phone: 978-794-4321.

Garage Pests

For homeowners, garages are often convenient spaces to store excess “stuff” such as holiday decorations, bikes, lawn equipment, bins of old clothing and, of course, trash. For pests however, garages are a cornucopia of treasures such as: discarded food in the garbage barrels, a warm place to nest in the bins of old clothes and, of course, garages provide shelter from the elements. What critters do you have in your garage? Here are some of the most common garage pests to be aware of and how you can protect your “stuff” from unwanted visitors.

Common Garage Pests –

  • Raccoons
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Skunks
  • Ants
  • Termites

In order to avoid this line up of critters from making their home in your garage, here are a few tips on how to protect the area.

  • Keep your door down when you are not in the need of using the interior of the garage. This may mean maintaining the mechanisms or just remembering to shut the door each time. Keeping the pests out is the first step in making sure they do not take up residence in your garage.
  • Clean up the clutter. The less clutter there is for pests to find a home inside of, the better. Clutter is attractive to many pests because of the the hiding places it can offer, so do your best to keep clutter in your garage to a minimum.
  • Reduce the attraction. Keep lights off and garbage barrels covered. These two things can be like a beacon to pests such as wild animals and bugs to enter the area. The smells from your trash and the light from the garage may cause some pests just to check out what is in there.
  • Have a pest management team inspect your garage. If you suspect that some critter is living or at least visiting your garage regularly, call Pest-End at Toll-Free: 800-287-4321  Phone: 603-382-9644  Phone: 978-794-4321 for an inspection and a solution to your garage pest problem.

Common Questions about Mice in Your House

Mice can get into any home. No home is immune from these pesky rodents. Mice don’t discriminate. They don’t care if you are rich or poor, messy or neat-as-a-pin. They only care if your property can provide what they need – food, water, and shelter. Let’s look at some common questions we receive from homeowners regarding mice.

 

 

  • How Can I Tell If I Have Mice Living in My Home? – There are several obvious signs to be on the lookout for. These include: gnawed holes in stored foods, piled papers, insulation, food scraps, or wrappings left behind, especially in out-of -the-way areas,  droppings ¼ -⅛ inch with pointed end or ends and/or rodent hairs. The most obvious sign is actually seeing a mouse in your house.

 

  • What Do Mice Eat in My Home? – Mice are not all that picky. They will eat cereal, grains, crumbs off the floor, or just about anything they can get into in your kitchen. They find bathrooms appealing as well since there is usually a water source that they can access.

 

  • I Have Never Seen a Mouse in My Home. Are You Sure I Have Mice? – Without a thorough inspection, we can’t be sure, but most homeowners do not end up seeing a mouse. Mice are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active from dusk until morning light. They are also skittish, easily spooked by noise and light, so they will most likely avoid areas where humans are working or sitting. Most homeowners see the signs of a mouse instead of the actual mouse.

 

  • How Did These Mice Get Here?  Many homeowners see it as a commentary on their housekeeping that a mouse found their home appealing; it is not. Again, mice are merely looking for food, water, and shelter; your home may just have been close and accessible. A mouse can slip through holes and gaps as small as ¼ inch, impossible as it may seem, and if it’s not big enough to squeeze through, the mouse can gnaw it until it is big enough.

 

  • What Can I Do to Get Rid of the Mice? There are many options from local hardware stores that you could try, but since mice tend to nest in the same place year after year and can access hard to reach areas, you may not be able to treat all areas of your home like a professional exterminator could. We recommend that you call Pest-End Exterminators for an evaluation and treatment package to rid your home of these rodents once and for all.

Common Winter Pests

Think that just because the weather has turned cold and the snow has arrived that pests are no longer a problem? Unfortunately, this is not true. It is true that summer is the prime pests season but winter has its share of pests to be aware of. Some pests do go into a form of hibernation but others enter homes seeking warmth and food sources. The National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to be aware of and take precautions against common winter pests like mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches and spiders.

Mice and Rats – Out of all the pests, mice and rats are one of the most common in the winter months and most hated. They can cause a number of problems. Not only are they unhygienic and carry diseases, but they can also cause a lot of damage chewing on wood or wires. Wood or field mice are common in the colder months and they will easily find their way inside the house. Rats on the other hand are more likely to live in outbuildings or your garden. Since mice can fit through an opening as small as a dime, and rats in a hole the size of a quarter, be sure to seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home with caulk and steel wool.

Raccoons – Raccoons are commonly found in the wooded eastern portions of the country. You may notice that they find their way into your garbage cans and compost piles at night and can make a huge mess. They also occasionally enter homes through attics or chimneys in search of a denning site. Raccoons are a major host of rabies in the United States so keeping them away from your property should be a top priority.

The German Cockroach is the most common species of cockroach found throughout the world. German cockroaches prefer to live in small areas close to food and moisture. This type of cockroach often hitchhikes indoors via grocery bags, boxes and secondhand appliances, and is commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. Cleanliness in the kitchen and bathrooms will help prevent a cockroach invasion.

Spiders – While spiders are generally beneficial creatures they can become a nuisance once inside your home. Spiders are difficult to control in that they can squeeze through tiny cracks and tend to enter homes in large numbers during the winters.

If you find that your home has become a haven for any of these common winter pests call Pest-End Exterminators for an evaluation and treatment options.

The ABCs of the House Mouse

Poems and media from across the ages have honored mice. From Hickory Dickory Dock and the mice running up the clock to the Three Blind Mice, youngsters have been singing about the critters for decades. Then there is the famous Mickey and Minnie that have created a happy feeling about mice. Well, that is until you find one in your home scurrying around. Let’s take a closer look at the typical house mouse and how you can identify and treat the problem.

 

Run-of-the-mill house mice are typically found around farms or grassy and wooded areas. They build their nests in darker areas where they are protected from the elements as well as close to food and water sources. The house mouse is active and very curious about its surroundings. Unfortunately, the house mouse does not always stay around innocuous places like woods or grassy areas. In fact, they may find themselves curious about your home and the smell of food and possibility of a warm nesting area.

 

Infestation Signs

There are several signs that you have a mouse problem. We suggest you act quickly since house mice reach sexual maturity around a month old and can begin mating and having litters around 6 weeks.  One mouse can quickly become a number of mice in no time.

  • Sightings of a mouse scurrying around your basement, kitchen or other area.
  • Droppings of small pellets in areas where the mouse has wandered. They are especially found in areas where they eat.
  • Markings and chew marks are also a common sign that there are mice in your home. You may see footprints around your home’s exterior or fresh gnaw marks on wood.
  • Sounds and smells of mice are also an indicator that you have a mouse problem. Mice feces and urine gives off a particular smell and you may also hear rustling and scratching sounds when your house is quiet.

 

Treatment

Pest-End Exterminators can identify your mouse problem and professionally eradicate them from your home.

 

Rodent Damage

There really is nothing more unnerving than waking up to the rustling and scratching of an unwanted guest in your attic , crawl space or behind your walls. The creepiness is bad enough but when you consider the damage that these rodents can create there is serious cause for alarm. Let’s look at some statistics about rats and mice that may spin your head.

  • Rats have to feed 15-25 times per day and consume 10-15% of their body weight in food daily. That means any leftovers at your house are a meal for one of these pests.
  • A rat or mouse can defecate more than 60 times a day!
  • The word “rodent” comes from the Latin “to gnaw”.  This is extremely accurate because rodents like mice and rats can eat your insulation, wallboard and electrical wiring. Electrical damage caused by rodents isn’t just expensive. It’s dangerous. When mice, rats or squirrels strip off the protective insulation, bare wires can spark a deadly electrical fire.
  • Rodents can spread diseases such as: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, plague, Rat-bite Fever, Salmonellosis, Tularemia, and hemorrhagic fever to name a few studied by the Centers for Disease Control. Germs found in rodent droppings, urine and saliva readily contaminate cabinets, counters and most surfaces. However, airborne germs are also a danger. Simply sweeping or cleaning rodent droppings can stir up salmonella, Hantavirus and various bacterial diseases.
  • Structural and building damage can be extensive if there is a large infestation. Duct work, air conditioning units and critical building systems can all be infiltrated by rodents. These destructive animals live inside air returns, gnaw through insulated ducts and build nests inside air conditioning units. This type of infestation can reduce the efficiency of equipment or cause permanent damage. In addition, wood, sheet-rock, furniture and common building materials are no match for determined rodents. These creatures frequently make holes to enter roofs, attics, chimneys, crawl spaces and ground-level areas.
  • Rodents come with their own special odor that can be a pain to get rid of and live with.  Unnoticed infestations can contribute to unusual smells that aggravate asthma, allergies and respiratory problems. Rodents may also become trapped and die in a confined or difficult to reach area, which can cause extreme odor problems that require fumigation.

Spring Cleaning? Don’t forget those hot spots for pests!

Spring has finally sprung! It is such a pleasant time to open the windows, air out the house, clean the curtains and check off all those items on your spring cleaning “To-Do” list. As a professional pest control company, Pest-End would like to remind you to add “clean for household pests” to your probably long list. Here is a handy room-by-room guide to address the pest hot spots in your home.  Trust us, it is worth the effort.

  • Kitchen– The kitchen is a common haven for pests of all sorts. One of the best spring cleaning tasks you can undertake is to empty out the kitchen pantry and cabinets that hold food items such as cereals, cooking ingredients, spices and packaged foods. Go through them and discard stale foods and other dated items such as flour. These baking ingredients attract pantry pests, including several types of beetles, Indian meal moths and ants. Next, wipe down the inside of your cabinets. Cleaning up any crumbs and spills can go a long way to preventing a pest invasion this spring.
  • Bathrooms– Bathrooms tend to also attract pests because of the moisture content. Eliminating sources of water in the bathroom is the best way to prevent pest infestations, especially because this pest can only survive for one week without water. Clean or replace the shower curtain, clean out the medicine cabinet, and wipe up under the sink.
  • Basement– The lowest levels of our homes tend to be the most ignored when it comes to spring cleaning. Rodents, spiders, and termites love basements. The main reason that pests often take up refuge in this underground space is because this room tends to harbor dark corners and clutter, which provides the ideal place for rodents and spiders to hide. If you can, take some time to move clutter and tidy up any areas that could harbor mold, mildew or critters of any kind. Keep an eye out while you are down there for signs of infestations such as gnawing marks by rodents and termite tubes.

Spring cleaning is meant to usher in the warm weather and pleasant breezes. It should also mean cleaning to prevent spring pests that could cause damage or become a costly headache. Call Pest-End if you have questions or need help taking care of any unwanted guests in your home.

The Hazards of Mice

Finding a mouse in your house can not only be gross it can also be medically alarming!  Did you know that rodents, like mice, carry 25 different types of disease?  That means that if you find even one mouse scurrying around your attic, basement, kitchen or other location that you are at risk for contracting these diseases. In fact, you may not even see the little critter but rather the evidence that they were there including urine, feces or chewed wood/wallboard or other household items.  These diseases can spread even through those as well.

It may be of no surprise to know that mice are dirty.  They travel through extremely dirty areas including: garbage containers, sewers, basements, dead animals, and many more. Due to their ability to easily enter your home (with access only needing to be about the size of a dime), they seek shelter to find easy pickings for food in your kitchen.  After eating daily these critters can then leave upwards of 1,000 dropping daily!  In addition, mice can reproduce rapidly and double their colony’s size within a few months.  That means more droppings and a higher rate of exposure to disease.

The Centers for Disease Control has an extensive list of hazards of having mice or other rodents in your house.  Here is a partial list.

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
  • Rat Bite Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetellosis
  • Encephalomyocarditis
  • Pseudorabies
  • Salmonellosis
  • Swine dysentery
  • Swine erysipelas
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trichinosis

If you suspect that there is a mouse problem in your home, do not delay!  Where there is one there may be many hiding in places you can not access.  Contact Pest-End to examine your home and decide on an appropriate course of treatment before you or your family become ill.