Category Archives: Rodent Control

The Stuff That Rat Dreams Are Made Of

 

The Stuff That Rat Dreams Are Made Of

Researchers know that rats dream, and even what they dream about.  But do the rats themselves experience their dreams?  One researcher says, “you’d have to ask them.”

The new research on rats involved electrodes strapped to the heads of rats as they wandered around trying to find food.  The experiments set up a chamber filled with foods that the rats could see, but not get to.

After monitoring waking activity in the search for a meal, the observers then attached electrodes during rat sleep.  When they awoke, and were allowed to get at the food.

The data from all three phases (searching, sleeping, and finding) showed that two activities – dreaming and going toward the available food – were the most alike.

Lead researcher Hugo Spiers, a professor of experimental psychology at University College London, explained the conclusions. “During exploration, mammals rapidly form a map of the environment in their hippocampus,” “During sleep or rest, the hippocampus replays journeys through this map which may help strengthen the memory.”

The replay of images is considered to be the stuff of dreams, but there is no way to confirm whether the rats remember this information.  It’s the brains way of helping mammals solve pressing problems.

 

Space Mice Launched Where No Man Has Gone Before

Space Mice Launched Where No Man Has Gone Before

Conditions in space look quiet and peaceful, but the lack of gravity takes a toll on human bodies.  With ambitious plans to man a mission to Mars, the effects of time in deep space need to be further explored before human explorers leave the earth.

Enter space mice, creatures on a mission.  They’ve been (involuntarily) working to help humans understand how long-term exposure to space conditions, with a seminal experiment of 91 days aboard the International Space Station.

Six astromice were housed there and the results of their mission produced fascinating data about the threats to human for prolonged space travel.  These included anemia, skin thinning, osteoporosis, and muscle wasting.  Immune and heart function were also studied.

Dermal atrophy is a concern based on some data from humans.  The main result from the mice trials showed significant reproductive organ decline, with mice losing almost all sperm due to degeneration of testicles.

Microgravity conditions have similar effects on mice and humans, and more tests are underway.

SpaceX, a private company launched by Elon Musk, has sent 20 mice into space to live for a month, while being monitored for physical responses to microgravity.  They will be housed in a state-of-the-art NASA habitat.

Rats and Roaches Plague Vets

Rats and Roaches Plague Vets

The Veteran’s Administration treats every veteran that comes through its doors. It’s the largest non-private healthcare plan in the country, outside of Medicare and Medicaid. And the VA has struggled with funding, because many of the patients seen there have chronic conditions that are expensive to treat but also due to factors of underfunding and poor administration.

The James A. Haley VA in Tampa, Florida is a recent example of how underfunding rears its ugly head. In this case, the problems come in the form of rats and cockroaches. The building is infested, and dead rats and roaches are being found in large numbers.

An email sent internally noted that three dead rats had fallen through the ceiling of a single area of the hospital. Officials are concerned that the roach problem is even worse, with the probability that some roaches may have crawled their way into patients’ meals.

Hospital officials maintain this is not a long term problem, but came about due to construction on a property adjacent to the VA building. A recent pest-control contract will cover the next five years, and is scheduled to begin in the canteen and food preparation areas.

How to prevent a rodent infestation

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It’s much easier to prevent a rodent infestation than to remove them after they’ve turned your home into their new residence. Here are a few steps homeowners can take to keep their homes rodent-free:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent rodents from finding easy entryways.
  • Keep shrubberies cut back from the house and store firewood a good distance away. The NPMA recommends that you tore firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five inches off the ground.
  • Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep areas clear and store boxes off of the floor.
  • Keep food in tightly sealed containers and clean up crumbs and spills.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.

Earth’s Most Extreme Insects

Entomologists at the University of Florida scoured the literature to come up with a list of insects that were the coolest, fastest, largest, longest, loudest and brightest. They also chose more unusual champions: best imitator, least specific vertebrate bloodsucker and most spectacular mating just to name a few of them. Wired Science put together a list of 40 of their favorites, all which have their own allure to them: Earth’s Most Extreme Insects.

 

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How to Keep Your Home Rodent-Free This Winter

How to Keep Your Home Rodent-Free This Winter

Keeping your home pest free is hard enough during the warm months when those critters have just as much interest in the outdoors as they do in the treasure trove that is your house. During the winter, when their primary instinct is to try to stay warm, keeping rodents and other pests out of your home can feel almost impossible. You might even be tempted to just give up and accept that you’ve got some new roommates.

How to Keep Your Home Rodent-Free This Winter

Earlier this year, we published a great list for keeping pests like insects out of your home. There are a lot of great tips here for making sure your home is safe from the creatures that seem to be able to traverse even the tiniest foundation cracks, but what about the “big kids?” What about rodents?

How Do They Get In?

According to an article in the New York Times, mice in particular can usually squeeze through spaces that are just slightly larger than the average pencil, like the space between the pipes delivering water and evacuating sewage and the walls of your foundation and house.

Other larger animals take advantage of entryways like dog/cat doors and unscreened doors that are left open (like when you’re unloading groceries from the car) and windows that get propped open to allow some fresh air into the home.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

The simple truth is that you cannot watch every single potential entryway into your home every minute of the day. Rodents are quick and often subtle. You often don’t even know they’re there until you start noticing signs of destruction or seeing droppings.

Take some time to go through your home from the literal top to the literal bottom, both inside and out. Look for holes and cracks and do your best to plug them up. The aforementioned New York Times article says to plug the small gaps between the walls and pipes with steel wool, and we couldn’t agree more. Put solid weather stripping around your doors, especially on the bottoms. Fill any holes you find, caulk any cracks, etc.

What If They Get in Anyway?

Even though you love all creatures big and small (even the ones that skeeve you out), that doesn’t mean you have to surrender your home to them when they are cold or if they are causing destruction to your property. There are a lot of ways to discourage rodents from taking up residence in your home that don’t involve you having to worry about your karma.

Effective and Environmentally Reliable Tactics

One of the best things you can do to discourage rodents that want to get into your house is to use Bounce Dryer Sheets in cracks and to put them under the pipes in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Rodents do not like the smell of that product in particular and will likely turn around and seek friendlier smelling homesteads.

Other great ways to discourage rodents that might be seeking food and refuge include:

  • Keeping food items (including those that are boxed or bagged) up and off the floor and in tightly sealed containers.
  • Keep your garbage in a metal garbage can that has a lid that can be kept sealed tightly all the time.
  • Seal up any grains and/or pet food in containers that have hard to open lids.

You can find a bunch of other great tips in one of our previous articles.

Note: Although DIY tips can be useful, they can also be ineffective and potentially very dangerous! It’s always advised that, when in doubt, you seek out the help of a certified professional such as Hulett Environmental Services to take care of any pest issues you may have.

Hulett Environmental provides tips to protect the home from a rodent infestation

Hulett Environmental provides tips to protect the home from a rodent infestation

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Rodents can contaminate food sources and serve as vectors of many diseases, such as salmonella and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. Moreover, mice and rats can cause serious structural damage by chewing through insulation, wallboards, wood and electrical wiring.”

It’s much easier to prevent an infestation than to get rid of pests after they’ve found a cozy retreat inside the home. The experts at Hulet Environmental recommend the following tips to keep homes rodent-free this winter:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.

America’s Rat Control: Infographic

America’s Rat Control: Infographic Click Below:
RatCOntrol