Why you need to control rats and mice
The commensal rodents, those usually found associated with people, are the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus musculus and Mus musculus domesticus). (It should be noted, however, that the black rat is no longer a significant pest in the UK, being confined to probably one to two dockside areas only). Commensal rodents have been pests since time immemorial and have resisted all attempts to eradicate them. This is hardly surprising, given that they are highly adaptable, omnivorous creatures with tremendous reproductive potential, acute senses and a high degree of athleticism. Moreover, as recent studies such as the National Rodent Survey in the UK demonstrate, their numbers are not diminishing.
Rats and mice will be found where there’s food and shelter. The availability of such resources dictates population density. In ideal conditions, a pair of mice can produce more than 2000 offspring per year and a pair of rats 200 per year. Their pregnancies last a mere 21 days and so population explosions will occur if effective management isn’t enforced.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Effective rodent control requires a combination of measures including surveys, proofing, habitat manipulation, sanitation and control techniques. Proofing, habitat manipulation and sanitation should all be carried out after control techniques in order to avoid creating neophobic conditions, delaying bait takes.
A survey is necessary to identify the type and extent of the infestation in order to allow informed decisions to be made with regard to the proofing and hygiene measures required and the type of control techniques to be employed. Visible signs include droppings and smear marks.
Eliminating rodents from the inside of a building will only be a short-term solution if there are others outside that can then get in. Black rats and brown rats can climb drainpipes or trees and enter through high apertures. Brown rats can burrow in or enter via drains and sewers and a young mouse can get in through any hole with a diameter greater than 6mm. As many of the potential entry routes as possible should be blocked using rodent-resistant filling materials.
Eliminating rodent harbourages will also help reduce populations. Rodents need somewhere to hide and breed and any such areas should be identified and eliminated or made inaccessible. The Pest Master can help to identify these areas, they could be overgrown areas within your garden that may need attention. This could be for example hedges or bushes that need cutting back, grass cutting if it is unkept and overgrown and also rubbish removal. If this is the case we can discuss this with you when inspecting the property and give you a price for the additional service. It is a very important part of rodent control, keeping the areas around your property clean, tidy and well kept.
Good sanitation is essential both inside and outside buildings. All rubbish and food spillage should be removed immediately as should any old tins or tyres capable of collecting rainwater. Refuse bins and skips should be kept covered and water leaks repaired. Sanitation in terms of disinfection is also important, in order to protect human health by controlling rodent-borne diseases. If you have any sanitation concerns due to pests, please find our ‘Cleaning Services’ page that details everything we can do to help you. As part of our ongoing after care service at The Pest Master, having had a rodent issue you may be concerned about your children or pets being around the rodent urine and faeces left behind. After the treatment is completed and when your problem is completely solved we offer an additional service which involves cleaning your carpets, with our powerful carpet cleaner.
PHYSICAL ABILITIES AND SENSES OF RODENTS
A thorough understanding of rodents is incredibly helpful when planning a treatment plan.
For instance, rats are excellent swimmers. They can swim up to 0.5 miles in open water, travel through sewer lines against substantial currents and tread water for up to 3 days.
Climbing is also easy for them. Roof rats and house mice are excellent climbers. Norway rats, though somewhat less agile, can climb effectively. If they can’t climb, they just jump.
From a standing position rats will jump vertically up to 3 feet – and getting down is simple.
If necessary, rodents can drop from heights of 50 feet without injury. Rodents will go through an object if they’re unable to go around it. Rodents are capable of gnawing through a variety of materials including lead sheathing, cinderblock, aluminium siding, glass and improperly cured concrete. Rodents can also squeeze through very small openings – 15mm for rats and 6mm for mice. All of those physical talents have allowed rats and mice to survive many years.
The following are some of the other sensory abilities that make rodents so remarkably adaptable.
Rodents make high frequency noises in various situations such as in mating but the function of these sounds is poorly understood.
Rats and mice have poor vision, however they’re extremely sensitive to motion. Although colour blind light-coloured or reflective objects can stand out in a rodent’s environment and cause initial unrest among sensitive rodents
Rodents have a widely developed pallet, which allows them to detect some chemicals at parts-per-million concentrations. This sensitivity might result in bait rejection if the baits become contaminated with pesticide odours or alternative chemicals. Use of recent, food-quality grain ingredients is the best guarantee of good bait attract ability and acceptance.
Odour is one of a rodent’s most important senses. Rodents mark objects and pathways to and from food sources, they also mark members of the opposite sex that are ready to mate helping to differentiate between members of their own colonies and strangers.