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About one-third of 1751 genes studied in the first comprehensive survey of the mouse genome are essential to life, according to research by an international collaboration including the University of California, Davis, Mouse Biology Program. Mutations of these genes cause death at the embryo stage. Many of them have counterparts in the human genome, so understanding why these genes are so vital could help prioritize human genes for study.

"This is the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and it shows that one-third of the mouse protein-coding genome is essential to life," said Kent Lloyd, professor of surgery at UC Davis and director of the Mouse Biology Program and the NIH-funded Knockout Mouse Project. "This begins to inform what may be happening in people."

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, which includes UC Davis researchers, is generating and characterizing "knockout" mutations for all of the protein-coding genes in the mouse genome. The consortium aims to discover new functions for the roughly 20,000 genes mice share with humans, providing tools for investigating human disease.

The new study reports the results of the first 1,751 genes characterized by the consortium, finding that nearly one-third are essential for life. These include 410 that are fully lethal when mutated, and an additional 198 for which fewer than half of the expected number of mutants were identified, meaning that only a few variations of the gene lead to viable offspring.

Using high-resolution 3D imaging and automated, computational analysis of the images, the researchers established for each gene both the time of embryonic death and why the embryos died, shedding light on the function of these genes.

High-resolution computed tomography image of a 9 1/2-day-old mouse embryo. Using advanced imaging techniques, an international team including UC Davis researchers has been able to work out the function of hundreds of genes that are essential to develop a live mouse. Because these genes have human equivalents, they could be used to home in on important genes to study in human diseases.
Credit: Doug Rowland, UC Davis.

Human counterparts are candidates for precision medicine

Many of these genes have counterparts in the human genome, and these genes are thus strong candidates for undiagnosed human genetic conditions.

"Where we don't know the cause of disease, they may not have a full knockout, but a variant that doesn't work quite right," Lloyd said.

The mouse data could help prioritize genes to study through the national Precision Medicine Initiative, he said.

The knockout mice generated are available to other researchers who may be investigating particular pathways or disease phenotypes.

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium includes: the Knockout Mouse Project, a consortium led by UC Davis; a similar consortium led by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as international partners. All three U.S. organizations are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Source: ScienceDaily.com 

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Instead of building a better mouse trap, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have built a better mouse cage. They've created a system called EnerCage (Energized Cage) for scientific experiments on awake, freely behaving small animals. It wirelessly powers electronic devices and sensors traditionally used during rodent research experiments, but without the use of interconnect wires or bulky batteries. Their goal is to create as natural an environment within the cage as possible for mice and rats in order for scientists to obtain consistent and reliable results. The EnerCage system also uses Microsoft's Kinect video game technology to track the animals and recognize their activities, automating a process that typically requires researchers to stand and directly observe the rodents or watch countless hours of recorded footage to determine how they react to experiments.

The wirelessly energized cage system was presented this month at the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) in Orlando, Florida.

The Georgia Tech EnerCage is wrapped with carefully oriented strips of copper foils that can inductively power the cage and the electronics implanted in, or attached to, one or more animal subjects inside the cage. The system can run indefinitely and collect data without human intervention because of wireless communication and power transmission.

"It's always better to keep an animal in its natural settings with minimum burden or stress to improve the quality of an experiment," said Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who developed the EnerCage. "Anything that is abnormal or unnatural may bias the experiment, no matter what experiment in any field. That includes grabbing the animal to attach or detach wires, change batteries or transferring it from one cage to another."

Ghovanloo uses four resonating copper coils to create a homogenous magnetic field inside the cage. The built-in closed loop power control mechanism supplies enough power to compensate for all freely behaving animal subject activities, whether they're standing up, crouching down, or walking around the cage. The small headstage for the animal is also wrapped with resonators to deliver power to a receiver coil.

The Kinect is suspended about three feet above the cage. It has a high-definition camera, an infrared depth camera, and four microphones to record and analyze the animal behavior. It can capture both a two-dimensional high-resolution image of a rat's location and a three-dimensional image that would identify its body posture.

"We're building computer algorithms to determine if the animal is standing, sitting, sleeping, grooming, eating, drinking or doing nothing," said Ghovanloo. "We're hoping to reduce the expensive costs of new drug and medical device development by allowing machines to do mundane, repetitive tasks now assigned to humans." The Georgia Tech team is working in partnership with Emory University, hoping to impact the clinical efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS). A growing number of clinical trials are using DBS to treat disorders of the central nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. The cellular mechanisms that contribute to the clinical efficacy of DBS remain largely unknown, however.

Emory's Donald (Tig) Rainnie and his research team use freely moving rodent models to examine the effects of DBS on neural circuits thought to be disrupted in depression. They have tested the EnerCage system.

"The requirement to use a tethered headstage to record neural data and apply the DBS has hindered progress in this field," said Rainnie, a researcher at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. "We provided critical feedback, via beta testing of the EnerCage system, on how to maximize the utility of the system for different behavioral applications. We found a key advantage of the EnerCage system is that it will allow researchers to conduct chronic DBS and track associated behavioral changes for days, if not weeks, without disturbing the test animals."

Until now, Rainnie says, that hasn't been possible, and it is key to understanding the long-term benefits of DBS in patients.

The next steps at Georgia Tech are designing EnerCage-compatible implants, such as one for delivering drugs, and expanding the system to a network of dozens of cages that can collect data from multiple animals at the same time.

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Rodent-Proofing Your Premises

Rodent-Proofing Your Premises

Everyone strives for a Rodent-free home.

Rodent-proofing your home, apartment, farm or other buildings involves identifying and eliminating the conditions that make it possible for rats and mice to survive - mainly their food, water and harborage. Once you know the problem areas, follow the four major steps below to reduce or eliminate these conditions.

Keeping Rodents Out of Your Home or Other Buildings

1. Remove Sources of Food & Water
Improving sanitation conditions is one of the best ways to prevent and to get rid of rodent problems. Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders that will eat any food discarded by humans. Eliminating their food and water is critical to controlling them.

Outdoors:
Pick up trash and discarded food.
Keep tightly sealed lids on garbage cans.
Store pet and bird food in sealed containers.
Get rid of standing water by filling holes or unlevel places in the yard where puddles might form or by eliminating standing water in buckets, pools, or other containers.

Indoors:
Clean up spilled food in cupboards and on floors.
Keep counters and food preparation areas clear of food at night.
Keep all food packages tightly sealed.


2. Get Rid of Rodent Habitats

Outdoors:
Remove clutter and debris.
Keep grass, shrubs, and other vegetation around your home trimmed.
Trim overhanging trees that cause shadowy areas where rodents feel protected.

Indoors:
Clear out boxes and other clutter in basements and storage areas.
Store materials off the floors on shelves, wherever possible.

3. Keep Rodents From Entering Cracks & Crevices 

Rats can fit through an opening about the size of a nickel. Mice can squeeze through an area smaller than a dime. Call Rodent Solutions to seal your home and prevent rodents from entering.  


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Rodents may be in your garage, attic, closets, cabinets, tool shed or yard. It’s a busy time for pest control companies and rodenticide sales. But nature can control rodent populations, if you let it. In the natural environment, there is balance. Every creature is prey to some animals and predator to others.

Raptors – owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures – are rodents’ natural predators. You should not spend money on poisons and put desirable wildlife, pets and children at risk of accidental poisoning. Let the birds of prey naturally remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Bald eagles are known to have used the same nest as long as 35 years. That makes them an excellent long-term control for rodent populations in the immediate area.

During breeding season, a family of five owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Even though the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have restricted public access to the most dangerous rodenticides, all rodenticides – including the types still available to consumers – are poisons that can kill wildlife, pets and children.

Unfortunately, even after stricter regulations on rodenticides were enacted, wildlife continue to be exposed to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone). Licensed pest control companies and agricultural producers are still free to use them. If consumers hire pest control companies, they should know that the materials the firms use could poison local wildlife. Only consumers can ensure that it doesn’t. The most effective pest control does not involve chemicals, but sanitation and exclusion.

Like most animals, rodents will congregate and multiply where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage them is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable. Sanitation is the first step to controlling rodents. For example:

Keep your home and yard neat and clean. Don’t give rats places to hide.
Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
Seal water leaks and remove standing water that can attract unwelcome animals, breed mosquitoes and waste water.

Contact Rodent Solutions to remove mice and rats from inside the building and seal the entries they used to get in: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Rodents can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter! 

We offer poison free solutions.  Find out more at http://rodentsolutioninc.com/why-choose-us

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Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency in the body's energy supply chain is a key driver of the aging process.

Now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that supplementing healthy mice with a natural compound called NMN can compensate for this loss of energy production, reducing typical signs of aging such as gradual weight gain, loss of insulin sensitivity and declines in physical activity.

"We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in aging mice," said Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, a professor of developmental biology and of medicine. "This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice. Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age."

Imai is working with researchers conducting a clinical trial to test the safety of NMN in healthy people. The phase 1 trial began earlier this year at Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

With age, the body loses its capacity to make a key element of energy production called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). Past work by Imai and co-senior author Jun Yoshino, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine, has shown that NAD levels decrease in multiple tissues as mice age. Past research also has shown that NAD is not effective when given directly to mice so the researchers sought an indirect method to boost its levels. To do so, they only had to look one step earlier in the NAD supply chain to a compound called NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide).

Scientists have shown that supplementing healthy mice with a natural compound called NMN can compensate for this loss of energy production, reducing typical signs of aging such as gradual weight gain, loss of insulin sensitivity and declines in physical activity.
Credit: © Irina K. / Fotolia

NMN can be given safely to mice and is found naturally in a number of foods, including broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, edamame and avocado. The new study shows that when NMN is dissolved in drinking water and given to mice, it appears in the bloodstream in less than three minutes. Importantly, the researchers also found that NMN in the blood is quickly converted to NAD in multiple tissues.

"We wanted to make sure that when we give NMN through drinking water, it actually goes into the blood circulation and into tissues," Imai said. "Our data show that NMN absorption happens very rapidly."

To determine the long-term effects of giving NMN, Imai, Yoshino and their colleagues studied three groups of healthy male mice fed regular mouse chow diets. Starting at five months of age, one group received a high dose of NMN-supplemented drinking water, another group received a low dose of the NMN drinking water, and a third group served as a control, receiving no NMN. The researchers compared multiple aspects of physiology between the groups, first at 5 months of age and then every three months, until the mice reached 17 months of age. Typical laboratory mice live about two years.

The researchers found a variety of beneficial effects of NMN supplementation, including in skeletal muscle, liver function, bone density, eye function, insulin sensitivity, immune function, body weight and physical activity levels. But these benefits were seen exclusively in older mice.

"When we give NMN to the young mice, they do not become healthier young mice," Yoshino said. "NMN supplementation has no effect in the young mice because they are still making plenty of their own NMN. We suspect that the increase in inflammation that happens with aging reduces the body's ability to make NMN and, by extension, NAD."

In skeletal muscle, the investigators -- including the study's first author, Kathryn Mills, the research supervisor in Imai's lab -- found that NMN administration helps energy metabolism by improving the function of mitochondria, which operate as cellular power plants. They also found that mice given NMN gained less weight with aging even as they consumed more food, likely because their boosted metabolism generated more energy for physical activity. The researchers also found better function of the mouse retina with NMN supplementation, as well as increased tear production, which is often lost with aging. They also found improved insulin sensitivity in the older mice receiving NMN, and this difference remained significant even when they corrected for differences in body weight.

In a paper published earlier this year in Cell Reports, Yoshino and his colleagues revealed more details of how NAD works in influencing glucose metabolism and the body's fat tissue. In that study, the mice had a defect in the ability to manufacture NAD only in the body's fat tissue. The rest of their tissues and organs were normal.

"Even though NAD synthesis was stopped only in the fat tissue, we saw metabolic dysfunction throughout the body, including the skeletal muscle, the heart muscle, the liver and in measures of the blood lipids," Yoshino said. "When we gave NMN to these mice, these dysfunctions were reversed. That means NAD in adipose tissue is a critical regulator of whole body metabolism."

Added Imai, "This is important because Jun showed that if you mess up NAD synthesis only in fat tissue, you see insulin resistance everywhere. Adipose tissue must be doing something remarkable to control whole body insulin sensitivity."

During the long-term NMN study in healthy mice, Imai also said they monitored the animals for any potential increase in cancer development as a result of NMN administration.

"Some tumor cells are known to have a higher capability to synthesize NAD, so we were concerned that giving NMN might increase cancer incidence," Imai said. "But we have not seen any differences in cancer rates between the groups."

The phase 1 trial in Japan is using NMN manufactured by Oriental Yeast Co., which also provided the NMN used in these mouse studies. Outside of this clinical trial, high-grade NMN for human consumption is not commercially available. But there's always broccoli.

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While we should all feel blessed to be surrounded by raccoons, dogs and bats that make our fauna diversity more interesting and exciting, these animals can also be a potential source of rabies, a completely preventable disease that can turn 100 percent fatal when not treated immediately.

Compared with third world countries, nations like the United States fare better when it comes to fighting rabies. That doesn't mean, however, it no longer exists. Early this year, some bats found in Irvine Regional Park in California tested positive for the rabies virus.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that can be passed on between animals and between animals and humans through saliva. In very rare cases, rabies is spread through corneal transplant.

This means that humans can acquire the virus if they have been bitten or their open wounds or cracked skin is licked by a rabid animal. Humans can also develop rabies if they've been scratched by claws covered with saliva. It cannot be transmitted through other means like urine or blood, or by petting a rabid animal.

Once the rabies gets into the body, it attaches itself to the nerve cells, gradually destroying the nervous system. In its last performance, it attacks the brain, killing the person.

The incubation period is usually two to 12 weeks, but in some situations, clinical symptoms can occur less than two weeks up to at least a year, depending on how much virus the saliva had, the person's immunity and the location of the bite. The closer it is to the brain, the faster the symptoms can appear.

Treatment for Rabies

There have been reported cases of people who survived rabies, but almost always, people die after the signs and symptoms of rabies appear. These include:

- Prickling sensation or itching in the wound site

- Fever

- Feeling of discomfort

- Agitation or anxiety

- Disorientation and hallucination

- Headache

- Fatigue

- Changes in behavior

- Insomnia

- Difficulty drinking water

- Hypersensitivity to light

There's also no diagnostic test that can determine if the virus has already entered the body and how far along it is in destroying the brain.

However, people who have been bitten by an animal with rabies can be treated with a vaccine, which can be administered before or after the bite (the latter, called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, is more common). When the vaccination is performed, it can differ according to the degree of contact with suspected rabies:

These shots can be provided in hospitals, animal bite centers and vaccine clinics.

First aid can also be done prior to the vaccination. This includes washing the wound with running water and soap, then cleaning the area thoroughly. Exposure to rabies can also be prevented or significantly reduced by vaccinating pets annually.

Source: http://www.techtimes.com/

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Almost all homeowners know the feeling of unease that accompanies finding mice or rodents in your home. Whether in the kitchen, attic, basement or dining room - a rodent sighting can incite surprise and fear in even the most composed homeowner. Unfortunately, these common pests are resourceful creatures that can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack, and require very little space to travel inside. Mice can easily fit through spaces as small as a nickel!

Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the cooler fall and winter months, and once inside can cause more than just an unpleasant infestation. Rodents put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. More frequently, though, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacteria, such as salmonella, on their bodies and contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. The common white-footed deer mouse is also known to transmit the potentially fatal Hantavirus.

Simple Rodent Control Tips

Fortunately, there are many ways homeowners can proactively prevent and get rid of rodent infestations in their homes:

  1. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  2. Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  3. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both. 
  4. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  5. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  6. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  7. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
  8. Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
  9. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
  10. If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem. 

If you spot evidence of a rodent infestation, do not hesitate to act to handle the problem. Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, and a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight if left untreated.

Rodent control and management are important for health and safety reasons.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063

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Even minor flaws in a new home should not be ignored as they can potentially lead to pest damage.  Here are some tips to follow when purchasing a home.

Overlooking tiny cracks

Even tiny cracks and crevices in the foundation, doorways and walls where pipes enter the home could be inviting ants, roaches, spiders, rodents and other pests inside.

A rat can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter and a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Cockroaches, ants and spiders can enter through tiny crevices, too.

Pests are attracted to shelter, food and water. Homeowners should promptly clean up all water and food spills, seal any cracks and crevices around doors, windows and pipes and install weather stripping around and under all doors, including garage doors.

Obtaining second-hand furniture

Buying a home is an expensive investment and it may be tempting to save money with furniture from a thrift shop or garage sale, but bed bugs, spiders and even scorpions have been known to dwell in second-hand upholstered furniture.

Once inside, they can spread from room to room. That's why it's important to inspect and quarantine -- for several months if possible -- all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home.

Ignoring insulation

A home's attic can be a gateway inside for many pests, such as rodents and cockroaches, that nest in insulation. It's important to inspect insulation for pest activity and damage: insulation that is wet, matted down, chewed or covered with droppings.

New insulation technology incorporates materials specifically designed to help deter household pests.

Ignoring flooring and siding damage

Termites are called "silent destroyers" because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in a home or yard without immediate signs of damage. They cause more than $5 billion in damage every year in the United States, according to the National Pest Management Association.

House foundations, wood framing, furniture and shelves are all possible feeding sites for termites. In spring, termites can be seen swarming around windows or doors. Other signs of termite activity include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings and areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage.

Brick and mortar homes are not termite-proof as they have wooden components, such as framing and flooring, that can host termite infestations. It's important to work with a licensed professional to provide regular inspections.

Not repairing leaks

Minor leaks may seem to be just that -- minor -- but leaks or condensation, combined with increasing temperatures in the spring, can create ideal conditions for cockroaches and other pests.

American cockroaches, "camel crickets" and springtails can enter homes through tiny cracks and are attracted to damp areas, both in the attic or crawl space and indoors in the basement, kitchen or bathroom.

Small steps make a big difference. Fix leaking faucets, water pipes and A/C units and eliminate standing water on the roof or in gutters to help prevent an infestation.

Source: http://www.msn.com/

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Why Hire Us?

After a professional inspection, we didn't feel that there was evidence that the rat infestation was originating from the outside of a customer's home. We recommended a vapor test by the top leak detection company in our area Specialized Plumbing Technologies before they hired us to trap. The customer stated that her plumbing was working fine. I convinced her to trust me after a lengthy conversation and showing her diagrams. If I was telling her to spend money outside of my company, I was sure. This is what was found inside her wall. It was a completely destroyed plumbing vent pipe allowing rats from the sewer into her walls over and over. Our construction background is another thing that makes us different from our big box franchised competition and helped not waste this customer's money with never ending trapping. Make sure you always hire a rodent company with construction experience/education in their background.

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The team is hard at work this morning performing an attic restoration on a Sarasota home that had a raccoon infestation.

Three juvenile raccoons and two adult raccoons were removed from the Sarasota attic.  The raccoons made several different latrine areas in the attic putting the health of residents at risk from the dangers of raccoon roundworm (See our“Health Risk” page for more details) .  The good news is, we were able to get their homeowners insurance to cover the entire process!  An attic decontamination involves a three step process.  First we remove all the raccoon feces contaminated attic insulation.  Second we spray the entire attic with an enzyme treatment to neutralize any remaining health risks.  Finally we blow in new fiberglass insulation to a value of R-30. We perform attic restorations to protect homeowners from the dangers of raccoon roundworm and rodent feces.  Please visit our “Attic Restoration” page or call us for more information on the process.

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Hey guys! The party is up here!

This raccoon made his way into a Sarasota/Bradenton area attic through a roof joint.  The customer snapped this picture and sent it to us before we arrived.  The raccoon chose to make his way out of the attic temporarily through the soffit and ended up taking a dip in the customers pool before leaving through an open screen door.  We later were able to catch him and relocated him so he would no longer feel the need to invade their space.

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Forget soulmates. Male prairie voles have no idea who they’re raising kids with—at least, not until they mate.

Sex can change a lot about a relationship. For male prairie voles, it can even change their brains.

Prairie voles, small, furry rodents native to North America, are one of the few mammals that form (mostly) monogamous partnerships. Many share homes and parenting duties, preferring to snuggle with their partners over any other vole.

So you might think that a little rodent romance would go into choosing these special life partners—but at least on the male’s end, this doesn’t seem to be true.

Before male prairie voles put a ring on it, they can't tell one single lady from another, according to a new study in the October issue of Animal Behavior.

But after forming a bond, the males show a significant preference for their partner, and somehow learn to recognize the distinct smells, appearances, and potentially behaviors of individual single females.

The skill may help them either be better partners and fathers—or cheaters, scientists say.

“What they’re really saying is that the mating effect is profound,” says Sue Carter, the director of the Kinsey Institute and an early pioneer in prairie vole research.

“When animals form pair bonds, they’re changed for life," says Carter, who wasn't involved in the research. “This may apply to humans as well.”

Because prairie voles fall in what can be anthropomorphized as love, researchers turn to them as tiny models of human love and attachment.

A few years ago a Cornell University professor of behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience, and team made a surprising discovery: Single male prairie voles could recognize other males, but it seemed like all single females looked and smelled alike to them.

“I remember when I read that original paper I thought well this doesn’t make any sense,” says Nancy Solomon a biologist at Miami University in Ohio who was not a part of that research.

That's because males looking for long-lasting love would probably need to tell potential partners apart. 

To confirm this odd finding, the team tested whether mating changes how male voles perceive females. They gathered 28 adult males who had never mated before from their breeding colony, and let half of them form relationships with females in the lab. The other half had to hang out with their single male siblings.

Then, the scientists allowed both partnered and single males to repeatedly interact with a single female they’d never met through a clear barrier, through which the rodents could see and smell.

Familiarity, in this experiment, was designed to breed boredom.

“Then, we provide them with a brand new female that they’ve never met,” explains Ophir. “And if they start to show an interest in this brand new female, it suggests they can tell the difference between the familiar one and this new one.” In rodents, interest means sidling up to the female and sniffing her, a lot.

The single males, though bored with the female they’ve been getting to sniff, didn’t show that spike of interest. But the paired males did.

“There’s something about forming a pair bond that changes these male prairie voles’ ability to recognize others. So there’s sort of change in cognitive capacity,” Ophir says.

He suspects that paired males experience changes in their brain hormones associated with forming bonds, such as oxytocin and vasopressin. For instance, the levels or the number of receptors for those hormones might shift, reconfiguring the rodents’ abilities to learn and remember individual females.

Solomon, who was surprised by the early result, says she's now a believer.

“Now that I read the argument that [the researchers] make in this paper, it makes sense that it doesn’t matter who it is—just that it’s a female if you haven’t mated,” Solomon says.  

From a human perspective, not being able to recognize one potential partner from another while dating could be a problem.

So why would prairie voles have evolved to be able to recognize individual females only after they’ve mated?

Young males are trying to find a mate—any mate. So Solomon speculates that the males might be able to recognize whether another vole is a sexually mature female prairie vole (preferably, apparently, a larger one)—even if they can’t tell apart individuals. 

In addition, these young males may have a more pressing need to distinguish between other threatening males than between females.

After they’ve mated, the (mostly) monogamous male voles have to recognize whom they’ve had babies with in order to defend the nest and share parenting duties.

There’s also another, sleazier reason prairie voles may need to tell apart females after they’ve mated: To help them cheat on their partners.

“It’s possible that if you’re better at recognizing other members of your species, you might be more or less likely to cheat on your partner,” Ophir says.

“You could make an argument either way.”

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/

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A proactive approach to ensure a defense against pest infestations needs to be top of mind for every homeowner or building manager.

Here is a Checklist of common areas vulnerable to pest problems, as well as offers advice on how to possibly prevent a problem before it happens.

1. Attics - An attic offers a fantastic retreat for rodents like rats and mice to spend the winter. Be sure to replace all damaged roof tiles and attic vents before it snows. It is best to store items in sealed plastic bins to avoid rodents nesting and damage.

2. Pipes and drains - Cockroaches, ants and other insects are attracted to moisture and excess water. Now is the time to inspect and repair any damage. Be sure to replace water-damaged wood to prevent attraction of wood-infesting pests once the snow melts.

3. Chimneys - Birds, bats and squirrels like to make homes in chimneys. Install a suitably sized chimney cap to keep animals out and prevent secondary pest infestations.

4. Garages - Many people use a garage more for storing items. However, rodents love to find nesting sites there. Store items off the floor on shelving and be sure to place all food items in plastic containers. Check around doors for gaps and seal all openings a quarter inch or greater.

5. Kitchen - The kitchen is often the one room singled out by pest control professionals as the highest risk of a pest problem. It is important to store food in airtight containers. Make it a point to regularly empty contents of garbage cans and clear up any food debris. Check the expiration dates of cereal and other dried food items, and discard expired items to prevent infestations by stored product pests.

6. Bird Feeders and Trash Cans - Bird feeders don’t just ensure a steady food supply to birds in the cold weather. Mice are especially attracted to bird feed, including seeds and discarded hulls. Therefore be sure to keep the ground surrounding bird feeders free of seeds and debris. Trash is an additional food source for rodents and other wildlife during the winter months. All trash cans should be secured with tight-fitting lids.

7. Foundation and walls - Rodents and other pests will look to gain entry into crawlspaces and other protected areas this time of year. Be sure to identify and repair any openings in the foundation, and around utility pipe entryways. Also, replace damaged dryer and other vents.

8. Windows and doors - Cracks or gaps around windows and doors are easy to overlook. However, in the time it takes to say “cheese” a rodent can zip through an opening just a quarter of an inch in size. It pays to cover these gaps from both an energy saving and a pest prevention point of view. Be sure to install weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as door sweeps beneath doors.

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Diseases Spread By Nuisance Wildlife

Whether hiking, camping, canoeing or simply taking in the wonders of nature, many people enjoy spending time outdoors all year round. However, while wondrous and beautiful, being out in nature doesn’t come without risk – especially if people come into contact with wildlife, which often carry numerous infectious diseases.

Some of these “wildlife diseases” are well known (even though they are not typically associated with wildlife) while others are less known, but all are concerning when it comes to public health.

PLAGUE
The plague or the “black death” is best known for ravaging Europe during the Middle Ages and killing more than half the population. However, the plague, while not widespread, still exists in the United States. In fact, some of the highest number of animals infected with the plague in the world are in the U.S. and is most commonly found in the southwestern parts of the country.

This infection is caused by the bacteriaYersinia pestisand is typically carried by the fleas found on rats, ground squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs and ferrets. In fact, entire prairie dog colonies regularly are wiped out by outbreaks of plague. 

In humans, the disease typically presents in two forms: bubonic and pneumonic types. The bubonic form is characterized by a bacteremia and infected lymph nodes (enlarged lymph nodes were given the Latin namebulbus– from the Greekβολβόςorbolbós –and hence the name bubonic plague). Human mortality in untreated cases of bubonic plague is 25 to 60 percent. However, the pneumonic form (pneumonic from pneumonia, or involving the lungs) is even more dangerous. The pneumonic form is characterized by an acute pneumonia and, unlike bubonic plague, is much more contagious and rapidly fatal if untreated, with 100 percent mortality within one to three days.

Veterinarians, hunters and ranchers have been killed by this disease – often as a result of handling the carcass of a dead animal or while trying to aid an injured/sick animal in which case they are inadvertently bitten by an infected flea.

Immunization and avoidance of contact with fleas or animal carcasses are the two best ways to avoid contracting this potentially life-threatening infection. Active immunization may be necessary for those people who partake in activities that increase their exposure to wild animals and live in areas where the plague is common. Additionally, avoiding contact with fleas and wild animals is highly recommended. Hunters should use special precautions in transporting dead animals.

RABIES
Unfortunately, like the plague, rabies is also not uncommon in the United States. The vast majority of rabies cases occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Transmission occurs from bite wounds or any other situation where infected saliva gets in cuts or skin abrasions (hence the common name for rabies“Bite Wound Disease”). However, rabies can be transmitted through aerosol transmission - breathing the air in areas where infected animals reside, such as inside bat caves.

In wild animals, changes in behavior could come as a result of a rabies infection. Odd behaviors such as a lack of fear of humans or seeing typically nocturnal animals out during the day could be cause for concern. While domestic animals once formed the largest reservoir for the disease, since the 1960's, wildlife species have become the leading carriers of rabies.

The disease is caused by the rabies virus (Rhabdovirus), which infects the central nervous system, the brain and ultimately causing death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses more symptoms appear such as anxiety, confusion, paralysis, agitation, hallucinations, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.

Unfortunately, once rabies disease has developed there is no treatment and for practical purposes rabies is still considered 100 percent fatal. Thus, early preventive measures remain the only way to guarantee survival after a bite by a rabid animal. Waiting for symptoms to begin is a death sentence.

Again, immunization and contact avoidance are the two best ways to prevent contracting this fatal infection. People who regularly work with wildlife should be vaccinated against rabies. Otherwise, the best protection for people and their pets is to avoid being bitten. In case of a bite from a wild mammal, it’s important to seek immediate medical care because rapid treatment with rabies immunoglobulin (antibodies) and vaccination can block the infection before it takes hold.

HANTAVIRUS
Unlike the plague or rabies, which have been well recognized for many centuries, Hantavirus has only recently become recognized. The name hantavirusis derived from the Hantan River area in South Korea, related to an outbreak of Korean Hemorrhagic Fever among American and Korean soldiers during the Korean War (1951-1953). This was later found to be caused by a relatively newly discovered genus of viruses: Hantaan virus. Still more recently, Hantavirus infections were finally recognized in the United States. In 1993, an outbreak of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome occurred in the Four Corners region in the southwestern United States (leading to the original name "Four Corners disease”). The viral cause of the disease was found only weeks later and was called the Sin Nombre virus ("Virus sin nombre", Spanish for "nameless virus")

In the United States, deer mice (along with cotton rats and rice rats in the southeastern states and the white-footed mouse in the Northeast) are the vectors of the virus. These rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. The infection is transmitted to people when they breathe air contaminated with the virus which occurs when fresh rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up and their particles become airborne.

The virus can also be transmitted through bites from infected mice, albeit this transmission is less common. Researchers also believe that people may be able to contract the virus after touching something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva and then touching their nose or mouth; or if they eat food contaminated by urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent.

Early onset of Hantavirus infection is nonspecific and includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. However, the life threatening form of infection, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, is characterized by a sudden onset of shortness of breath with rapidly evolving pulmonary distress that can be fatal in half the cases despite intensive care and mechanical ventilation.

Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry Hantavirus is at risk for infection. Rodent infestations in and around the home, and structures in more rural areas such as cabins or barns as well as campgrounds, put people at risk of Hantavirus exposure.

However, prevention and control is the primary strategy for avoiding contact with infected rodents. People who live in areas where Hantavirus is common should contact a licensed pest professional to outline the best prevention plan and elimination techniques in case of an infestation.

TULAREMIA
Tularemia, also known as “Rabbit Fever” as it is commonly transmitted during the rabbit skinning process, is caused by the bacteriaFrancisella tularensis.

Humans can become infected not only through contact with infected animals or carcasses, but also as a result of the bite of infected ticks, deer flies, and other insects. Transmission is also possible through the inhalation of airborne bacteria and ingestion of infected food or water. In the summer, most cases come from infected tick bites. In the winter, cases are reported by hunters who trap and skin infected animals. Landscape workers have also been identified as a segment of the population who is at an increased risk for tularemia infections. Person-to-person transmission of tularemia does not occur.

The clinical manifestations, or symptoms, ofFrancisellainfection may range from asymptomatic illness to septic shock and death, in part depending on the virulence of the infecting strain, portal of entry, inoculums (amount of bacteria a person is exposed to) and the immune status of the host. A common type of tularemia is ulceroglandular tularemia, which normally results from the bite of infected ticks, or contact between broken skin andF. tularensis(such as the blood of an infected animal when a hunter skins a rabbit). A more rare and severe form of the disease, pneumonic tularemia, is caused by inhalation of the bacteria.

Immediate treatment with the appropriate antibiotics is recommended, as Tularemia can be fatal if left untreated.

Tularemia is found across the United States, but most cases are in Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

Symptoms often appear abruptly three to five days after infection, but can take as long as two to three weeks to appear. While a fever is the most common symptom, others include joint pain, chills, loss of appetite, and malaise. Infected people may experience swollen lymph nodes, headache, chills, dry cough, sore throat and ulcers at the site of infection, sore eyes, weakness and diarrhea.

There are several forms of tularemia, each specific to a particular route of entry byF. tularensisinto the body. Ulceroglandular tularemia is the most common form of the disease and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, ulcers at the site of infection, and swollen lymph nodes.

Inhalation of the bacteria leads to pneumonic tularemia, the most severe form of the disease. Pneumonic tularemia is characterized by non-specific respiratory symptoms including hemorrhagic inflammation of the lungs and bronchopneumonia. This, in addition to low suspicion of tularemia (due to its relatively low occurrence), makes it challenging for physicians to correctly diagnose isolated cases.

Diagnosis is made on a combination of suspicious signs and symptoms, followed by laboratory confirmatory testing. Treatment typically requires intramuscular or intravenous antibiotic therapy for 10 days.

Although these wildlife diseases are dangerous and pose a significant risk to humans, they are not a reason to stop enjoying the great outdoors. By following a few simple precautions, humans can safely interact with wildlife and keep any health dangers at bay.

Source: www.pestworld.org

If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063

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How To Protect Your Car From Rodents

Rats! You can buy the most reliable car on Earth and still find convoluted electrical gremlins, fluid leaks, and even outright failure when rodents take up residence and begin chewing on wiring, hoses, plastic, and other critical car parts. But we’ve found a deterrent for these four-legged terrorists.

Rodent-inflicted damage is an age-old problem that some observers say is increasing as automakers use more plant-based biodegradable materials to reduce waste. It turns out that rodents sharpening their teeth and feasting on cars is more prevalent than you might think. We uncovered various technical service bulletins from Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, and Subaru instructing their technicians how to remedy chewed wiring harnesses. So many people have been looking for solutions that the topic was trending on Reddit recently.

Readers posted several solutions, from covering the wires with a metal mesh to painting them with hot sauce. Some Consumer Reports staffers also have stories of small furry creatures chewing through power steering lines, filling engine intakes with acorns, and plugging up air-conditioning ducts with their nests.

What you can do

We found a clever solution in a TSB from Honda: rodent-deterrent tape, essentially an electrical tape treated with super-spicy capsaicin, which Honda describes as “the stuff that puts the fire in a bowl of five-alarm chili.” The tape (part number 4019-2317) is available through dealers for about $36 for a 20-meter roll, about 22 yards.

We bought a roll of rodent-deterrent tape to check out. Beyond the cute rodent graphics and gray color, it deceptively seems like regular electrical tape to us humans. There is no tear-inducing odor, but it does carry a label that warns against prolonged exposure to skin. Despite dares and double dares, we did not taste it and will trust that it is potent enough to deter even the most ravenous varmint.

Other suggestions for dealing with rodents under your hood include installing a metal mesh around wiring harnesses and rubber hoses and across any openings where rodents could crawl into your ventilation or intake systems. 

Even if these measures don’t work, you can take heart: “A mouse ate my wiring harness” excuse at least sounds more creative than “The dog ate my homework.”

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As much of the country continues to experience rainy weather, pest problems are also pouring in on office and property managers, threatening the reputation and structural integrity of their building as well as the health of their tenants.

Mice and rats become particularly active when precipitation levels are on the rise because rain spurs vegetation, which then provides plenty of food. In fact, the correlation is so strong that many rodent trap suppliers base their production on rainfall.

Along with structural damage to electrical equipment and dry wall, rodents pose a serious health risk to humans and are known to spread more than 35 diseases worldwide. These diseases can be spread through rodent bites; contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva; or by handling the pest. Preventing these pesky invaders requires proactive techniques and regular maintenance. Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, you can help take action against rodents this summer and keep them from raining on your parade.

When implementing an IPM program, it’s important to talk with a pest management professional about how to identify and prevent a pest infestation. Here are a few ways to help keep pests from making an entrance into your facility:

  • Train your staff on how to identify signs of mice and rats, which include droppings, gnaw marks, rub markings, and live or dead pests.
  • Rodents can’t survive without water, so check your building for sources of excess moisture. Be sure to clean up spills immediately, and inspect any soft drink machines and HVAC units for potential leaks.
  • Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime, while rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter. Seal cracks and crevices in your building’s exterior with weather-resistant sealant and add metal mesh to prevent rodents from gnawing through.
  • Trim all vegetation back two to three feet from the side of the building and consider installing a 30-inch wide gravel strip around your exterior. This is because rodents typically avoid being out in the open.

By adding these tips to your regular maintenance routine, you can help prevent pests from seeking shelter from the rain in your building. Be sure to talk with a pest management professional about other steps you can take to help ensure your summer stays dry and pest-free.

You can also call Rodent Solutions at (941) 704-0063 for an Onsite Inspection of any Rodent Infestation.

Source: http://www.buildings.com/

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