ABOUT RODENTS



Rodents can cause severe damage and become a serious potential health threat if an infestation is not promptly treated. Warminster homes and businesses that suspect the presence of rodents should immediately seek assistance from a professional rodent control provider.

APPEARANCE



All rodents are warm-blooded mammals with prominent front teeth designed for gnawing. They also have cheek teeth that are used for chewing. Most rodents have squat bodies with short legs and weigh an average of about 3.5 ounces.

Deer mice, sometimes called field mice, have grayish-brown fur on their bodies that turns to white on the belly. Their tails are similarly bi-colored and covered with hair. The deer mouse is also distinctive because of its oversized ears and eyes.

The house mouse is distinguished from the deer mouse by its all-over gray or gray-brown coloration. Its tail is hairless. Both its color and the hairless tail can be used to differentiate the house mouse from the similarly sized deer mouse.

Roof rats tend to be between 13 and 18 inches long, inclusive of their hairless, scaly tail. Their fur may be brown, black or a combination of the two colors. The roof rat's large ears are sparsely covered in fur.

The Norway rat is generally larger than the roof rat, weighing approximately 12 to 16 ounces. This pest is covered in shaggy brown or gray fur and has a scaly tail that is shorter in length than the combined length of the body and head.

Definitive rodent identification is essential to eradicating an infestation. Generally, a trained professional must make the identification to ensure that proper extermination methods are used.

DIET



Rodent diet varies by species, but most types consume seeds and grains. Some rodents are known to include meat, fish or insects in their diet, suggesting an opportunistic feeding habit. Human foods are irresistible to rodents. The pests gnaw through packaging with their prominent front teeth to consume the food inside. Grains and cereals are the most frequent target. However, other food items may be vulnerable. Rodents may ingest fruits and vegetables and will scavenge through garbage. They leave behind saliva, urine and feces that contaminate the remaining food. If contaminated food is eaten by humans, serious illnesses are possible.

HABITATS



In the wild, rodents may live in underground burrows or in hollowed-out trees. Many species will seek access to a home or other structure with the intention of finding shelter, water and food. With their capability of collapsing their bodies, rodents are able to squeeze through remarkably small cracks and openings. Accordingly, they can gain access to attics, basements and recesses in walls with ease. Rodents may build nests under concrete walkways or decks. Their nests tend to be difficult to reach, making them a challenge to eradicate.

PROBLEMS WITH RODENTS



Most rodent species are capable of explosive population growth. Female rats are known to produce 15,000 young in one year. Thus, a small incursion can become a massive infestation with surprising speed.

In addition to their tendency to multiply, rodents are recognized for gnawing. They gnaw their way through food packaging, consuming and contaminating the contents. This can lead to serious human illnesses. Rodents also gnaw through electrical wiring in structures, which can cause appliances to malfunction and has also caused fires. Rodents may similarly gnaw on furniture, flooring and walls.

The saliva, feces and urine that rodents leave behind are also damaging. People who cook in pots and pans that have been contaminated with these substances may become extremely ill.

BEHAVIOR



Rodents are nocturnal animals. Accordingly, they are not frequently seen during the day, though it may be possible to hear their activity in walls, ceilings and floors. They are creatures of habit that use familiar routes and return to the same locations repeatedly to find food. With their incredible sense of smell, they can forage for food over long distances. Rodents, particularly rats, tend to be suspicious of new objects and will avoid human activity. Mice are more likely to be curious about unfamiliar objects and are more prone to investigating human activity.

When a rodent is cornered and feels threatened, they may bite. The wound may become infected or the bite may transfer an illness. Accordingly, medical treatment is critical.

HEALTH ISSUES



Rodents spread numerous diseases to humans through bites or through contact with saliva, urine or feces. Illnesses also may be indirectly spread through fleas or ticks that have fed on infected rodents. Researchers have identified more than 30 diseases that are transmitted directly or indirectly by rodents.

One of the most serious of these is the hantavirus, which is a respiratory disease that can prove fatal to humans. Other health concerns include hemorrhagic fever, salmonellosis, plague, Lyme disease and babesiosis.

SIGNS OF A RODENT INFESTATION



Homes and businesses may have a rodent infestation if the following signs are present:

• Visual sightings of rodents in or around a structure
• Food packaging that shows evidence of gnawing
• Mouse or rat droppings
• Sounds of scratching and scuffling in walls, ceilings and floors

PREVENTION TIPS



Property owners can protect themselves using these measures:

• Store all food in tightly sealed metal or glass containers
• Clean up crumbs and spills immediately
• Seal all cracks and holes that provide access to structures
• Keep garbage in lidded cans
• Store fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator

RODENT CONTROL



Professional rodent control is the best way to eradicate an infestation. A well-trained pest technician understands the habits and behaviors of rodents, which enables them to eliminate the problem at its source. This is typically a well-hidden nest or series of nests that require considerable expertise to discover.

Seeing a rodent in a building frequently indicates the existence of a much larger population.

If you suspect a rodent infestation, call the professional team of licensed exterminators at SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC today. We can determine if you have a mouse or rat infestation in your Warminster home or office, and then proceed to implementing the best, most effective treatments.

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