The rodent family is extremely large and varied. It includes familiar wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks and beavers, most of which are not a cause for concern. However, rodents such as the deer mouse, white footed mouse, house mouse, Norway rat and roof rat are commonly encountered throughout the Bensalem area.
When these pests invade, it is imperative that property owners act quickly to address the situation. This is because rodents are known carriers of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Moreover, members of the species contaminate food supplies and gnaw through everything in their path. The only reliable way to deal with the situation is to seek professional rodent exterminator.
All members of the rodent family are mammals, which means that they share certain characteristics. For instance, most rodents have fur, are warm-blooded and have four feet. However, it is the differences between the common rodents that make them easy to identify.
Adult house mice typically weigh no more than 30 grams and are a total of about 20 centimeters long when measured from their nose to the end of their tail. Their hair may be brown, gray or black, though their stomachs usually are a lighter color. Another distinguishing characteristic of the house mouse is that their ears and tail are covered in sparse hair.
Deer mouse received their common name thanks to their grayish-brown fur, which looks remarkably like the hair on some species of deer. Their undersides, including their tails, are a much lighter color. Sometimes referred to as field mice, these rodents typically weigh 32 grams at most and may be anywhere from 12 to 28 centimeters in length.
A fully grown white footed mouse generally measures a total of 20 centimeters in length with a maximum weight of approximately 40 grams. Their hair may be anywhere from gray to brown or even appear reddish. The back and the head tend to be a slightly lighter color than the sides, and there may be a dark line running the length of the back. Their feet and bellies are covered with white fur.
Roof rats have a long, sleek shape. An adult may be as much as 40 centimeters in length, and their bodies are covered in brown or black hair. With scaly tales and pointed faces, people tend to be unsettled when this species makes an appearance.
Norway rats may look larger than roof rats as they have a bulkier shape. However, adults usually measure approximately 40 centimeters long, which is comparable to the size of the roof rat. Unlike the roof rat, the Norway rat has shaggy fur. Brown and gray are common colors. Both the tail and ears are covered in scales.
Many rodents are omnivorous, which makes it easier for the species to thrive. Nuts, seeds and grains are favorite foods. Certain members of the species will feed on tree bark, meats, insects and, in the case of Norway rats, dead animals.
The species' varied diet makes many human foods attractive to them. Pasta, bread, nuts, peanut butter, fruit and many other items may be sought out by rodents.
In their natural habitat, rodents prefer to nest in places like fields and forests. Nests may be established virtually anywhere as long as they are hidden and close to sources of food and water. Underground burrows are common, but fallen trees, stumps and abandoned bird nests also may be used.
Rodents may seek shelter in human habitations at any time, but the number of infestations climbs in the fall and winter as temperatures drop. Nesting material, such as hair and fibers, is easy to find in peoples' homes, and the options for where to place a nest are numerous. Attics, basements, garages, the backs of drawers and cupboards, crawlspaces, wall voids and sewers are just a few examples of possible nesting sites.
PROBLEMS WITH RODENTS
This species uses their teeth to explore their world. Their gnawing is nearly constant, and they are capable of chewing through wires and cables as well as plastic pipes. Some larger species may be able to chew through metal mesh. Virtually any rodent will shred fabrics, linens and insulation with their teeth. This gnawing can cause fires and water leaks, in addition to leaving structures vulnerable to other pests and the elements.
Rodents try to avoid interactions with humans. However, they may react aggressively if they are accidentally cornered or feel threatened. This may lead to bites and scratches, which should be examined by a doctor.
Rodents that make their way into human habitations tend to be nocturnal. This helps to avoid confrontations, but it also may mean that people remain unaware of an infestation for some time. Rodents reproduce prolifically, which translates to an exploding population when conditions are right.
Mice and rats are known carriers of various illnesses, many of which can be transmitted to people. Transmittance may occur through physical contact, bites or scratches. People also may become sick through droppings or food contamination. Fleas that feed on rodents further may cause human illnesses.
Although relatively rare, some rodents carry exceptionally serious diseases like plague and Hantavirus. The danger of being exposed to these illnesses makes prompt pest control imperative.
SIGNS OF A RODENT INFESTATION
Indications of a rodent infestation include the following:
• Rodent droppings found in drawers, on countertops and on floors • Grease marks left by rodent fur on walls • Food packaging with holes • Shredded fabrics, linens and upholstery
Effective rodent control tips to avoid prevent rodent issues include the following:
• Keep shrubs and plants trimmed • Do not place woodpiles or yard debris piles close to buildings • Seal or cover any small holes and cracks in exteriors • Get rid of clutter both inside and outside of buildings to eliminate hiding places • Immediately repair plumbing leaks • Store food in glass or metal containers with tight lids
Rodents should be a serious concern for Bensalem property owners. They contaminate food supplies, transmit diseases to people and pets and may cause damage to buildings and their contents. Without professional pest control services, controlling a rodent infestation is virtually impossible.
Don't attempt rodent control on your own. Schedule a free inspection before a single mouse or rat becomes a full blown infestation proble