MICE The house mouse is the number one household rodent pest in all parts of the country, urban and rural areas as well. The meaning of the word “rodent” is “to gnaw” and rodents are well equipped to carry out this activity. Mice are notorious nibblers, eating many types of food, but preferring seeds and grain. A single mouse eats only about 3 grams of food per day (8 pounds per year), but because of their habit of nibbling on many foods and discarding partially eaten items, the amount of food contaminated is about ten times greater. Mice can get by with little or no free water, obtaining their water needs from the food they eat. House mice are mainly nocturnal although daytime activity may be seen. Nests are constructed of fibrous materials and generally have the appearance of a “ball” of material loosely woven together. Nests are usually 4 to 6 inches in diameter and can be found in any sheltered location. Mice are sexually mature as early as 6 to 10 weeks old and may breed year-round. In perfect conditions, a nest of mice can deposit 18,000 droppings and produce 2,500 heirs in a six-month period. A mouse rarely travels more than 10 to 30 feet from it’s nest to obtain food and water. They travel around perimeters rather than across empty spaces and are not afraid of new objects in their environment and are curious to “check things out”. This behavior makes trapping easier, especially when traps are placed along walls where mice are most likely to establish pathways.
RATS Before poisons, snap traps and glue boards, millions of people died in Europe of the Black Plague. This terrible disease is transmitted by the fleas that are carried by rats. Even though the U.S. presently uses numerous rodent control methods, there are still six to twelve cases of Black Plague reported yearly in New York City alone. It is estimated that the U.S. rat population is at least one per person. Norway rats have adapted to living around people and can be found living and breeding inside buildings, granaries, sewers, attics, warehouses, in ships and under concrete slabs. Rat burrows can cause structural damage and disrupt sewer lines. Rats can chew through wood, glass, cinderblock, wire and lead. Rats destroy an estimated 20% of the world’s food supply every year directly by feeding and indirectly by contamination.Rats are wary of anything new that appears in their territory and will avoid a new object for a few days. Even then, they will approach cautiously. Pre-baiting of traps for several days is necessary for catching rats.