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What to do about Rodents
October 13, 2016
There are many reasons why we consider rodents to be pests, any one of which would be sufficient to want to rid our properties of them.
The irrational fear of rats and mice is surprisingly common. The phobia is particularly associated with running rodents. The reality is that rodents should be more frightened of humans, but then again phobias are irrational.
Even for those who do not have phobias, the sound of rodents in the roof – “things that go bump in the night” can still be frightening, or at the very least annoying.
Rats and mice are known to transmit up to 35 different diseases, some of them potentially fatal.
The most notorious is the bubonic plague or “Black Death” which has caused millions of deaths since Roman times. The disease is actually caused by a bacteria, which is transmitted from rats to humans by a rat flea.
Here in Australia, leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that can give rise to a range of symptoms including bleeding to death or typhus fever is more likely to be transmitted often through close contact with infected rodents, their urine and faeces and contaminated food.
Consumption and contamination of foodstuffs
In some parts of the world, the attitude toward rodent control can mean the difference between life and death.
As well as directly eating food, they contaminate even greater quantities with their droppings, and urine and shed hairs. The food needs to be thrown out or destroyed due to the risk of disease.
Both rats and mice need to chew continually to prevent their incisor teeth from growing too long. In one of our client’s warehouses rats chewed off the ends of plastic bottles then filled them with shredded shrink-wrap and used them for nesting.
How to tell if you have rodents in your home
The texture and size, shape and quantity of the droppings can determine how long it is since a rodent has been present. If the droppings are shiny black and gleaming then they are definitely fresh.
These marks are made when rodents come into contact with hard surfaces over a period of time, with oils from their fur rubbing onto the surface. They will often be found around entry points indicating locations that will need to be sealed.
Rodents make gnaw marks that are usually quite obvious. Rodents chew through materials to gain access to foodstuffs or nesting sites. They also gnaw to keep their incisor teeth at a manageable length.
Norway rats are the main diggers and burrow into creek beds, manure piles or simply into the soil usually covered by tall grass or weeds.
Most rat nests are found in the roof space or other hidden areas. Mice nests are more commonly located, as they are more often found in living areas behind cupboards or in furniture.
We normally hear sounds in the evening or dawn when the rodents come out to play and usually, you will hear them coming from your roof space.
The general rule is mice sound like rats, rats sound like possums and possums sound like elephants!
There is a characteristic odour associated with rodents and cannot be mistaken to anything else. It is a sickly sweet cloying odour that lingers for some time. There are also urine stains on timbers.
Stock damage or consumption
Rodents consume around 10% of their body weight a day but destroy or contaminate much, much more. If you find any packet, carton or bag that has been damaged by rodents you must throw it out.
Our Hitman technicians will thoroughly inspect your home and treat roof cavities as well as other affected areas.
Do you suspect rodents have moved in? To get professional help with your rodent control call us and we’ll arrange an appointment immediately, 07 3801 6505.