Coming from the badger state, we know how persistent small mammals can be. In some cases this can be fun and inspiring or even entertaining to watch. In other cases this can be flat out frustrating. The latter is definitely the case when it comes to rodents interfering with our lives. When rats or mice invade our personal space, it is time for some Madison Rodent Control.
Keeping them out
The simplest answer to Madison Rodent Control is just to keep them out. Generally speaking this can be achieved through means including:
- Keeping doors shut
- Maintaining weatherstripping
- Repairing cracks in the foundation
- Keeping windows and screens in good repair
- Trimming trees and shrubs away from the structure
- Blocking any holes or gaps 1/4 inch or larger
Despite many people’s efforts to achieve the above list, rodents still manage to find their way in.
How rodents sneak in
The first point in rodent entry has to do with the size of the head. If they can get their head through the gap or opening, they can manage to squeeze the rest of their body through. This is phenomenal to watch, but less appealing when it is getting into our living or working space.
The 2nd point in rodent entry has to do with that which is unseen. Not every aspect of our structures is available for adequate inspection. A few unseen entry points include:
- Underground access points
- Space below low decks
- Space below low bay windows
- Entry points concealed by shutters or siding
- Entry points above line of sight e.g. roof
- Entry points where our inspection angle conceals the rodent passage point
There are many other situations that may conceal the access point being used by the mouse or rat, but it illustrates the types of visual obstacles you may encounter when hunting for entry points.
The 3rd point in rodent entry involves their patience and sneakiness. More accurately, it is their opportunistic behavior. A rodent may start out enjoying the protection of a shrub by the house. Soon it realizes that it is slightly more comfortable in the garage. Then it notices people leave a few seconds of open doorway time as the door slowly swings shut behind someone carrying in groceries. Since they have incredible senses of smell, they know that food awaits them inside. This may happen in a short period of time, or it may drag out over weeks. Nonetheless, those rodents will take advantage of whatever good opportunity is provided.
Finally, rodents may simply be so determined to enter a place that they force entry. This could be something like a smell or warmth pressuring them to go the extra work. It may also be they really liked that pathway that you blocked off and they are making it happen again.
What rodents want
As we learn from the cinema, some of those rats and mice are not all that different from us. They are smaller and simpler, but there is a reason we are biologically related. Rats and mice need:
- Food – a mouse, for example, doesn’t need much. Just about 100 calories a day. It is happy with whatever it can get since it is a scavenger, but out of efficiency, calorie dense foods are most appealing even if they were thrown in the trash already
Water– while rodents need water to survive, they have the incredible ability to extract most or all of their water needed from the food they consume
- Shelter – this may be protection from predators, a nesting site, or protection from the elements. Shelter needs will change throughout the year. They stay pretty close to their shelter. Mice, for example, have a typical range of about 30 feet.
When we are analyzing the rodent situation, it is important to think in all directions. This can be up, down, sideways, at angles, etc. Their 30 foot range may start in the kitchen and go upstairs and over a room via plumbing connecting the kitchen to the bathroom which leads to little Tommy’s chocolate stash. When inspecting for rodent pathways, changing levels or angles of perception help a lot. Also, the use of a tracking powder can be helpful to follow their footprints and paint a clearer picture.
It is easy to get caught up in the cute small animal wave, but rodents carry serious health risks along with them. As they track in and out of trash or sewers or anywhere else they want to go, they can bring with them a host of unwelcome germs. Diseases associated with direct rodent activity include:
- Hemorrhagic Fever
- Lassa Fever
- Rat-Bite Fever
They also have diseases associate with indirect rodent activity. These can come from something like a tick or a flea that they bring in with them. These diseases include:
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Cutaneous Leishmaniasis
- Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis
- La Crosse Encephalitis
- Lyme Disease
- Hemorrhagic Fever
- Powassan Virus
- Relapsing Fever
- West Nile Virus
There are many different styles of traps and bait stations available for rodent control. Choosing the tool to best fit the structure and situation is the key. If dealing with rats, ensure that the bait stations have large enough openings and the traps have strong enough springs. Beyond that, there are live traps, low profile traps, multi-catch traps and many more options. More important than picking the right trap is placing it along linear travel lines. Rodents like to use their vibrissae (their whiskers) to feel the edge as they run and guide their travel. Make sure they can enter from either side.
A great measure for combatting rodents is to bring in the Madison Rodent Control Experts. We can help with identifying potential entry points, harborage spots, rodent identification, source elimination, and simply knocking them out of your home or business and setting up a plan so they can’t get in. Regardless of the season outside, it is always rodent control season in Madison.