Rodents are a type of pest which consists of small mammals known for their large incisors. When people think of rodents, they might consider rats and mice, but many other common pests and animals are also classified as rodents. Squirrels, beavers, chipmunks and gerbils are different types of rodents and can be considered nuisance animals, although not as often as mice and rats. Because their defining characteristic is their teeth, home and business owners should be wary of being bitten by rodents. Both mice and rats are known for spreading disease through their bites, including ailments like rat-bite fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and Lassa fever. Bites should be treated immediately, and amateur pest controllers should avoid handling live specimens. Even if a rodent is dead, people should wear gloves or avoid as much physical contact as possible.
Rodents often plague properties out of a desire to find food. They’re attracted by the main resources of life, and will choose homes which provide adequate shelter, food, and water. Because of these standards, homes and businesses with open food containers, standing water, crevices in the walls, and food messes will attract many different rodents. In California, the most common rodents are rats and mice, which have been known to chew through food containers and even parts of buildings to reach sustenance. The most common first sign of a rodent infestation is the presence of droppings, although chewed food packaging and rustling from the walls are other indications.
Rats are a commonly found rodent with a bad reputation. They are known for their bite and range between 12-20 in. long with scaly tails and hair that ranges in color from black to brown to gray. Many rat breeds will hunt for food in groups and will return to the same food source until it has been depleted. Their feces spread disease, and rats are known to be carriers of fleas and other pests that can also cause illnesses. Rats should not be handled by amateurs or people without gloves, especially if they are alive. They have strong jaws and can bite through packaging and weak structures to locate sustenance. Some breeds in California can even chew through pipes. Unlike mice, rats will eat almost anything edible they find and are not picky, although they are nocturnal.
People in California tend to encounter house mice or deer mice. Both are rodents which range in size from 6-8 in. long and can produce between 24-72 pups a year. Mice infestations escalate quickly because of their reproductive capacity, and they often find their way into homes and businesses in search of cereal grains and other edibles. Mice are characterized by their dark eyes and rounded ears. They are smaller than rats and less likely to bite, but can also spread disease through their feces or by contaminating food and water. Like rats, they are nocturnal and do not usually come out when people are awake. If someone sees a mouse during the day or when surrounded by people, this is a major sign that there is a large problem lurking around the corner.
Rodent infestations can be troublesome and turn severe quickly. The best solution is to call a professional that can locate all of the rodents quickly and eradicate their nests. Trained pest controllers can also handle rodenticides safely and efficiently and can find the best traps to use based on the specifications of a property. Rodents can be dangerous, carry disease, and even bring other pests into a home or business. It’s best to eliminate them as quickly as possible to prevent disease and protect the people on a property.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!