Tag Archives: rodent control

South Florida’s Chilly Weather Sends Rodents Inside

South Florida’s Chilly Weather Sends Rodents Inside

South Florida has been experiencing chillier than usual weather this winter. As temperatures drop, rodents seek shelter indoors.  Who wouldn’t want a warm, cozy place with free food and plenty of available water, not to mention the abundance of materials to gnaw on and make nests out to start a family? During chilly weather, South Florida homeowners unwittingly play host to the mice and rats that inhabit South Florida.

Actually, rodents have co-habited alongside humans for centuries. Rats and mice are drawn to urban areas where humans produce a great deal of leftover food scraps and other refuse that provide more food way easier than raiding a chicken coop or hunting for food in the wild.  According to Ratbehavior.com, Norway rats have depended on humans for so long that their natural habitat is “wherever we are.”

Norway rats, roof rats and house mice

Trying to invade your home this winter, the usual suspects are Norway rats, roof rats and house mice.

  • Norway rats –Also known as sewer rats, wharf rats, river rats and brown rats, Norway rats are reddish-brown with gray to white undersides. Larger than roof rats, Norway rats measure 18-20 inches from the tip of their blunt noses to end of their long tails. Reaching maturity in 3 to 5 months, Norway rats produce 8 to12 young per litter, at a rate of 7 times per year.
  • Roof rats—Aka citrus rats, fruit rats and black rats, roof rats are smaller than Norway rats. Ranging from black to gray in color, with white to tan undersides, roof rats sport large ears and eyes and measure up to 16 inches from tip to tail, due to their tails which are longer than their bodies. Preferring to live above ground in trees or your attic, roof rats mature in 3 to 5 months, producing 6 to 8 young per litter, up to 6 times in a year’s time.
  • House mice –Much smaller than rats, house mice have dull brownish grey fur with white undersides. Measuring 5 to 8 inches, house mouse tails are almost the same length as their bodies. Maturing in 4 to 6 weeks, house mice produce 5 to 7 young, 6 to 10 times per year.

Rodents are bad news bears

In addition to reproducing rapidly, chewing on your walls and electric cables and anything else they can, rats and mice also pose health threats to humans and animals. Infested with fleas and ticks that transmit diseases, along with the feasting insects that eat rodent feces and cause air-borne illnesses, rats and mice are carriers of many pathogens, such as:

  • Bubonic plague caused by a bacterial strain, Yersinia pestis, usually transmitted by rat fleas. The bubonic plague decimated half the population in Europe in the 13th and 14th
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome contracted by breathing in dust particles, contaminated with rodent droppings, urine and saliva, hantavirus is a respiratory illness that can be fatal.
  • Rat-bite fever caused by coming into contact with an infected rodent, by way of a bite or scratch, or by ingesting food contaminated with rodent feces.
  • Salmonellosis, a bacterial infection caused by ingesting food contaminated with rodent feces

Although it’s not likely you’ll run into mice or rats on the way to the kitchen for that midnight snack, it could happen. More likely though, your pets may run across rodents, doing that cat and mouse thing. When frightened, rats will bite. And we just looked at the myriad of diseases associated with rodents that can infect your four-legged family members, as well.

Signs of rodent activity

So, how do you know if there’s a mouse in the house? While cats all over South Florida are rolling their eyes at this idea, humans may need a little something to go on. So here goes.

  • Do you hear scratching, chewing or scurrying noises in your walls or running across your attic floor?
  • Do you hear squeaking sounds in the night?
  • Rodents are nocturnal; they come out to see what’s for dinner in your pantry at night. Notice any dried food bags in your pantry that look like they‘ve been chewed on the corners?
  • Rodent droppings in your kitchen can be a heads up that mice or rats are in the building.
  • A close encounter of the rodent kind is rare but a dead giveaway.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might have a rodent situation on your hands.

If that’s the case, please waste no time in contacting a pest professional. Rodents multiply at alarming rates, so it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible. Call Hulett to schedule a free rodent inspection. We accommodate your request, with convenient time slots, scheduling service within 24 hours after notification.

Tips for homeowners to keep rodents out

  • Seal all holes, cracks and crevices around your foundation, around windows, doorways and other entryways
  • Use screens in exterior vents
  • Eliminate all clutter from your yard, your attic and your garage
  • Trim branches away from your house
  • Keep all food prep, storage and dining areas spotless
  • Store dry goods in air-tight metal, glass or hard plastic containers

Keep your home rodent-free this winter. Hulett’s Healthy Home programs guarantee your satisfaction or your money back! Contact us to schedule a free rodent inspection! Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Rats, a Rat!

Rats, a Rat!

As winter approaches, days get shorter, temps begin to finally fall, and rats start to look for places to settle in for the season. Even in South Florida, where temps stay relatively warm, cool spells can send rodents scurrying for warm and cozy places to escape predators, where they can find food, water and focus on enlarging their families. They don’t take up much space or eat that much food but if your home becomes a winter retreat for rats, you could be in for a rough season.

Rats create fire hazards, cause structural damage and carry diseases

Rats not only cause damage to structures and create fire hazards, they can carry at least ten diseases including bubonic plague, murine typhus, jaundice, rabies and ratbite fever as well as cause food-related illnesses. Resilient and intelligent, rat brains closely resemble human brains and by studying lab rats, researchers can better understand how the human brain works. But that’s a different story for a different day. For now, let’s focus on how to identify rats in your home and eliminate them from your property.

Two of the most persistent rats in South Florida are the roof rat and the Norway rat:

  • Roof rats: These rodents are also known as fruit rats, citrus rats and black rats
    • Ranging in color from black to gray with tan to white undersides, roof rats have large ears and eyes and measure up to 16 inches, including their tails, which are longer than their bodies.
    • Roof rats like to live above the ground, usually in trees and in your attic.
    • Maturing in 3-5 months, roof rats produce 6-8 young per litter, up to 6 times per year
    • Roof rat droppings average ½ inch long and are spindle-shaped
  • Norway rats: Rodents are known by their more popular names such as sewer rats, wharf rats, brown rats and river rats
    • Reddish-brown, with scattered black hairs, gray to white undersides and blunt noses, Norway rats are larger than roof rats, measuring 18-20 inches, including their tails.
    • Norway rats live near water and burrow under homes as well as in your basement (should you have one in Florida) and crawlspaces.
    • Reaching maturity in 3-5 months, the more prolific Norway rats can produce 8-12 young per litter up to 7 times per year.
    • Norway rat droppings average ¾ inch long and are capsule–shaped.

Rats need to gnaw and will chew through almost any substance

With teeth harder than platinum and incredible jaw strength, rats can chew through wood, metal, stucco, electrical wiring and even concrete (CBS). Rats, also excellent swimmers have been known to chew through sewer caps, entering homes through toilets. To survive they must constantly chew to manage their rapidly growing teeth, rodents make up the list of prime suspects in house fires of unknown origins. Norway rats can cause foundation damage by burrowing under concrete slabs and under home foundations. Rats possess superior balance, running easily on pipes, ledges and utility wires. Roof rats will climb anything they can hold onto, including pipes, wires and rough walls.

Rats can spread diseases and other pathogens in a variety of ways

Rodents are vectors for Bubonic Plague, Hantavirus and a number of serious diseases.  Rats carry fleas and ticks that feed on their blood, infecting them with pathogens that pose risks to human and pet health. Hantavirus, a respiratory condition, can be contracted from inhalation of airborne particles in dried rat feces, urine and saliva. Rats can transfer bacteria to food sources causing salmonella and E-coli.

Rodents coming into direct contact with humans and your pets spread diseases and viruses by:

  • People and animals handling or touching dead rats
  • Live rodents biting people and/or animals
  • Humans inhaling dried rodent excrement, while cleaning rodent affected areas- Never clean-up without a mask.
  • Humans ingesting food contaminated by rats

Nocturnal pests, rats tend to sleep and stay put during the day, moving about at night in search of food and water

Unless you actually see a rat in your house, chances are you might not even know there’s a population growing in your attic, basement or inside your walls. Since rats multiply at an alarming rate, Hulett suggests homeowners learn to recognize tell-tale signs of a rat issue early on, in order to prevent an infestation.

  • Scratching and scurrying noises in your walls and attic can indicate rodent activity, as rats make for your kitchen at night
  • Chewed food bags and rat droppings in your kitchen indicate rat activity
  • Chirping and squeaking noises in your walls and attic are indicators of rats nearby
  • Rats like to use regular pathways, so packed down areas near walls and greasy marks on walls indicate rodent activity.

Your first line of attack when dealing with a suspected rat situation: Contact a professional

Rats are intelligent and leery of anything new in their environments, relying on trained and licensed pest control professionals can save you time and money investing in traps and baits that either don’t work and/or in retrieving rat carcasses from hard to reach places, due to improper placement of traps and baits you are exposed to disease and unpleasant smells.

At Hulett, our integrated pest management system (IPM) uses the most current rodent capture equipment, in addition to non-toxic, environmentally responsible baits, placed in strategic locations to reduce rat populations. We then remove carcasses, until rats are eliminated. Monitoring for additional rodent activity, Hulett affixes locked, tamper-proof feeding stations to patio stones around your home’s perimeter that use an anticoagulant material to finalize your rat elimination process.

Exclusion seals the deal

  • Rats can squeeze through holes no larger than a nickel. Sealing or caulking all small cracks, crevices and holes in your home’s foundation and around   windows, doors and other entryways makes a huge difference in rats gaining     access to your home and loved ones.
  • Fitting all pipes, drains, vents and other potential entryways with screens can further deter rats from entering your home.

Make your home uninviting to rats

  • Maintain an uncluttered clean home, with attention to food storage and wiped down food surfaces.
  • Eliminate clutter inside and outside your home.
  • Remove debris and leftover construction materials from your property.
  • Repair or remove moisture-prone areas in and around your home.
  • Keep tree limbs and branches trimmed away from your home and your lawn cut short.

Hulett offers a variety of options in our Healthy Home programs that create a pest-proof barrier around your home, so you won’t have worry about rats, mice, and other household pests any time of the year. Customer satisfaction is our priority; we guarantee it. Contact Hulett for a free pest inspection today! Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Getting Rid of Mice for Good

Getting Rid of Mice for Good

Unfortunately, as the weather drops, mice are finding their way into warm, cozy homes. Luckily there are some things you can do in order to get rid of these mice and keep them away for good.

Here are a few facts about finding a mouse in your house:

  1. There is never just one mouse.
  2. Droppings are a major telltale sign
  3. Mice can cause more damage then what the eye can see

So what steps should you take in order to rid these unwanted creatures?

  • Don’t waste your time with home remedies. There is no science behind home remedies. Mice are used to living with humans so the smells associated with us are not a good repellant to them.
  • Try out the store-bought traps. Mousetraps are still very effective!
  • Find their entry point. It’s important that you figure out where the mice are coming in so you can help determine where they are living and building nests. These places are also the best areas to set your traps.
  • Make sure you stock up on caulk and steel wool. Once you handle the infestation, make sure no additional mice find heir way in. Block off any opening with caulking and steel wool and be sure to replace weather stripping.
  • Check your garage! Mice like to live under car hoods, where the engine is nice and warm. Be sure to keep them out of the garage so they don’t start eating your car wars and do some serious damage to your car.
  • Cut your shrubbery and branches away from your house. Unfortunately although they may look nice they are the perfect highway fro a mice and insect to get into your home.
  • Airtight food canisters are a great investment. You are less likely to attract mice if your food is more off limits.

Everyone has a different threshold for what they are willing to deal with so if necessary call your local professional to fix the problem! If they are licensed by the state they will take their time and get the job done properly with the latest techniques for treatment.

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.