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Rodents In Your House

How does a rodent get into the house and what will it do once it gets in? 

Rats can wiggle their way into gaps and holes as small as a ½ inch. And if the hole is not yet ½-inch big, the rat can gnaw at it until it is. Mice can squeeze in through holes as small as ¼ inch. And, like rats, mice will chew and gnaw at smaller holes until they are big enough to wriggle through.

Additionally, both rats and mice prefer warmth over cold. This means that when the weather outside starts to turn cold, rats and mice will turn to houses and other buildings. And the more food and water they can find once they are inside, the more likely it is that the population will quickly grow.

It can be quite unpleasant and disgusting to see a rat or mouse in the house, but even worse than that, rodents can cause damage with their gnawing, nest-making, and urinating, and they also can spread disease. 

Once a rodent gets into a home, it will:

Search out Food
Before or after making its nest depending on how hungry it is, the rodent will roam your home in search of food.

As it roams, it will urinate and drop its feces along its path - contaminating everything along the way. If it makes its way to your pantry or other food storage area, it is likely to walk on the food and food packaging, so that next time you touch it, you are touching its urine trail as well.

Rodents will chew through the packaging to get to food, with teeth that are very sharp, enabling it to chew through boxes and bags you may think are safe.

Once a rat or mice gets into the food, it can be the source of foodborne illness, such as salmonellosis, which is transmitted when a person eats or drinks food or water that is contaminated by rodent feces and causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. According to CDC, certain rodents can also directly transmit diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM), Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis, South American Arenaviruses, and Tularemia.

Seek Water
Rodents need water to survive. Some foods will provide them with some water, but they will also need free water such as the water in the bowl left on the floor for your cat or dog; in the base of a potted plant; or even in a slow-draining tub or sink.

You may wish that it were only an old wives' tale but it is true that rats can swim through sewers and come up through toilet bowls or other drains. It is not a common occurrence, but it can happen.

Make Rodent Babies
Rodents are prolific breeders, so populations can build very quickly in a home or building if the rats or mice have sufficient food, water, and shelter.

Rats: Each female can have up to 7 litters in 1 year, with up to 14 young in each litter. Rats are full-grown in about 4 weeks, which means that quite a few generations can be born in a single year - from each female of the litter. Mice: The house mouse can have up to 10 litters in a single year with about 6 young in each litter. (But there can be as many as 12 mice in a single litter!) They are full-grown to adulthood within 7 weeks, so, again, if conditions are ideal, a mouse population can explode in just a few months.

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Do you have a rodent problem?

Do you have a rodent problem? 

Here are some signs and tips for determining whether you have a rodent infestation in your home:

Rodent Droppings
New droppings are dark and moist. As droppings age, they dry out and become old and gray and will easily crumble if touched. Droppings are most likely to be found near food packages, in drawers or cupboards, under sinks, in hidden areas, and along rodent runways. You will find the greatest number of droppings where the rodents are nesting or feeding, so inspect the area around the new-found droppings to determine if there is still an active – or new – infestation.

Animal Gnawing
In contrast to the droppings, newer gnaw marks will be lighter in color and become darker as they age. These will often be found on food packaging or the structure of the house itself. One way to determine age is to compare a gnaw mark you just noticed with those on a similar material that you know are older. If the newly found marks are lighter in color, it could be an indication of a continuing infestation.

The marks can also indicate whether you have rats or mice; larger gnaw marks will have been produced by the larger teeth of rats. Thus if you had a mouse infestation, but are now seeing larger gnaw marks, you may now have rats. And vice versa.

Foul Odor
Cats and dogs (or even a pet rat or mouse), may become active and excited in areas where rodents are present.

This is a result of the odor of the rodents and is most likely to occur when rodents have recently entered a structure. If you see your pet pawing at an area in which it had previously had no interest, get a flashlight and examine the area for rats or mice.  If an infestation is large, you may also detect an ongoing stale smell coming from hidden areas, indicating an active infestation.

Rodent Tracks and Runways
If rodents are currently active in or around your home, their runways and tracks are likely to be distinctive, becoming fainter as time passes. Tracks or runways are most easily detected with a flashlight or blacklight held at an angle toward the suspected area. You may see smudge marks, footprints, urine stains, or droppings. If you suspect an area is being frequented by rodents, try placing a very thin layer of flour or baby powder there. If rodents are active, you are likely to see their trails in the powder.

Rodent Nests
Rodents will use materials such as shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter to make their nests. If these areas are found and have any of the other signs of current presence – fresh droppings, gnawing, odor or tracks – it is likely that there is an infestation in your home.

Signs of Rodents in your Yard
Rodents are attracted to piles of trash, organic waste, etc. for both food and nesting. If these are present near the home or structure, inspect them for signs of rodents. If there is no indication of rodents, it is likely that they are not coming into your home either. But if you do have such piles present, eliminating them can help prevent future rodent problems.

Rodent Population Size
Certain signs can also indicate the size of a population. If rodents are seen at night but never during the day, the population has probably not gotten too large and can be controlled with traps and bait. If you are seeing any rodents during the day, numerous fresh droppings or new gnaw marks, it is likely that the population has gotten quite large and require professional services.

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Rodent Removal Recommendations

Seeing even one rat in your house can mean that there is a whole family (with babies, aunts, uncles, and other family) of rodents living in your home's basement, the walls, or in and between stored items. This is because rats are most active at night when you are less likely to see them.

It is always best to call a rodent professional and extermination expert who has extensive knowledge and tools to know where the rodents will be and how to get them out of the house -- and provide recommendations to keep them out!

When you do work with a licensed professional, there will be a number of things you need to do to prepare for service, to ensure the treatment is as effective and long-lasting as possible.

Prior to performing this, or any service, the licensed professional will generally provide you with a specific list of preparation activities, "prep," to be completed before they arrive.

The following lists some of the most common requests or recommendations made by service companies.

Because a lack of preparation could make a treatment unsafe or cause rodent reinfestation of the entire home or building, many technicians will not treat areas that are not prepared to specifications.

Preparation Steps
You can help your rodent professional rid your home of a mouse or rat problem by completing the following steps prior to service:

Make sure that all food that is not in a can or jar is stored in the refrigerator or heavy plastic container during service, and for at least two weeks afterward. This includes chips, candies, nuts, cereals, bread, any grain-based food, pet foods, etc., that are normally stored in upper or lower cabinets, on counter tops, or on top of the refrigerator. Although usually bagged, rodents can chew right through plastic bags to get to foods.

Repair any holes in walls, around baseboards, or doors that don’t seal properly  This is because rodents can enter through gaps as small as 1/4 inch and rats through holes as small as 1/2 inch in diameter.

Remove all items from the top of the refrigerator and from beneath the kitchen sink to allow access to these areas.

When the technician arrives, discuss the situation making note of areas where rodents or signs of rodents have been seen.

The technician may be setting and placing a variety of baits and traps. Do not touch or disturb these during or after the service.

For ongoing control, clean, sweep and vacuum the home regularly. Take out the trash on a regular basis, keep lids on trash cans, and keep all areas as clean as possible.

Eliminate any unnecessary storage including boxes, paper, and clothing, because rodents (and other pests) will take shelter here, gnaw the items to make their nests, and even breed in undisturbed areas.

When you follow the steps listed above, the technician can more effectively rid your home of the problem. And it is more likely that you will be able to maintain a rodent-free home.

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Unless it's your pet rat or mouse in a cage (which may still cause some family members to jump on a chair if it gets loose!), any rodent in the home is not a good thing. Not only are rats and mice a nasty nuisance, they can contaminate food, chew up important papers and wiring, and spread disease.

How do you keep rats and mice out of the house - without using poison? 

Tips to Keep Rats and Mice Out of the House

Don't feed the birds! Birds aren't always neat eaters, they will let much of the seed fall to the ground, where it provides a free and easy meal for rodents and other wildlife and insects (such as squirrels, geese, and even ants) to hang around your house.

Don't leave your garage door open for extended periods, especially overnight. This is an open invitation for rats, mice, and wildlife (including unwanted wild people!) to enter and take shelter, potentially making their way into your home as well.

Don't store 50 pounds of dog food in your garage. The aroma of pet food, bird seed, or grass seed can attract the rodents, so it must be kept in airtight containers. While that metal trash can and lid may indeed keep mice from getting to your dog food, they won't realize that until after the smell has lured them into your garage.

The same should be said about the enticing aroma of garbage. Controlling these smells can mean all the difference between having no mice and having several families of them nesting in your garage and eventually in your walls.

Seal your air conditioner lines and other gaps that are the size of a dime or larger.

Resist overdoing it on the landscaping. Abundant, dense plant life near the home creates an irresistible sanctuary and safe haven for rodents just outside your home. Unfortunately, the same lush beautiful landscaping so many of us admire and aspire to have are just as attractive to many of the pests we want to keep out of our homes.

Clean up spilled "mouse food" immediately. A few pieces of dog food on the garage floor or some spilled bird or grass seed will be irresistible to a hungry mouse outside.

Signs of Rodent Presence
When a mouse or rat decides to visit, it's rarely seen. Usually, signs that rats or mice have invaded your home are chewed holes in boxes and bags of dry goods in a pantry or dog food and grass seed bags in the garage.

Rodents have been known to chew through electrical wiring, causing expensive repairs, or even causing fires. Often, it's their droppings (feces) that are noticed first. But the true danger in a mouse or rat's visit is often invisible. Various diseases, including Hantavirus, are transmitted by the accidental inhalation of dust from a rodent's dried urine.

The most effective way to control a rodent population in your home is prevention. With a little bit of garage cleaning, yard work, and caulking, you can avoid the major hassle of extensive cleanup that is necessary, even if only one or two mice have a party in your pantry.

Rodent Solutions offers rodent proofing services to prevent rodent infestation.

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For humans, rats are often the stuff of nightmares, but it seems that the rodents may be as likely to experience bad dreams themselves as they are to star in ours. In a new study in Nature Neuroscience, researchers placed rats in a maze and allowed them to explore. At a certain point in the maze the scientists blasted the animals in the face with a bit of compressed air from a keyboard cleaner—a harmless but uncomfortable experience for the rats. Later, as the researchers monitored the animals sleeping, they could see patterns of connectivity in the animals’ hippocampi corresponding to their mental map of the maze. For the first time, however, the scientists saw activity in another region of the brain involved in emotion—the amygdala—whenever the rats’ brains recalled the location of the scary air puff, New Scientist reports. Whether rats actually experience this phenomenon as fear in the context of a dream is impossible to know without asking them, however.

Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/09/rats-may-have-nightmares-too-say-researchers-who-monitored-their-sleep

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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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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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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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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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Tips For Dealing With Wildlife

Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Generally if you find a baby animal it is best to leave it alone. Often the animal is not orphaned, and the parent may be out getting food for the animal, or watching the baby. Never pick up baby animals and remove them from their natural environment!  To report an injured or orphaned wild animal, contact any of the FWC's 5 regional offices for a list of wildlife rehabilitators or consult one of the rehabilitators on this list.

Additional information about reporting injured manatees or sea turtles is on our website.

Nuisance Animals

Nuisance wildlife is wildlife that...

  • causes (or is about to cause) property damage,
  • presents a threat to public safety, or
  • causes an annoyance within, under or upon a building.

Human activities can attract certain wildlife species looking for an easy high-calorie meal or shelter under a convenient structure. Unfortunately this can bring them into conflict with the interests of people, and the wildlife can be considered to be a nuisance.  Most wildlife/human conflicts can be resolved by removing the attractant.  If removing the attractant is not feasible or has been tried and is not working, other measures to remove nuisance wild animals can be taken. Trapping a nuisance animal should be a matter of last resort.  Before removing an animal, please read the nuisance wildlife regulations and information.

Wildlife that cannot be taken

The taking of nuisance alligatorsdeerbearsbatsbobcats, most migratory birds, their nests or eggsturkeysbobwhite quail; or state-listed or federally listed species of special concern, threatened or endangered species is prohibited or may require additional permits.

Protected and regulated species

You can learn more about the rules regarding wild animals online.  Most regulations for wildlife are found in Ch. 68A of the Florida Administrative Code.

Nuisance Alligators

Alligators are considered a nuisance when they are more than four feet in length, and are determined to be a threat to the welfare of the public, or the public's pets, livestock, or property. Only a licensed nuisance alligator trapper may capture or remove an alligator. More information about living with alligators is available on this website.

If you need to report a nuisance alligator, call toll-free, 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

You can find more information about Nuisance Alligators online.

Nuisance Bear

If a bear is seen around your neighborhood, it is important to immediately discourage repeat visits. What you can do is determine if there are any attractants in your neighborhood that will cause the bear to return.  If you have unsecured garbage, pet food, barbecue grills, or other food items available in your yard, you should secure those items as soon as possible. A nuisance bear is one that looks for handouts, hangs around because it thinks food is available, or becomes aggressive, etc.  More information about living with bears is available on this website. If you have a nuisance bear in your neighborhood or on your property, please contact your local FWC regional office or call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Nuisance Deer

White-tailed deer will occasionally cause damage to cultivated crops.  For small gardens, this situation often can be improved by installing an inexpensive electric fence.  When it is not possible to install an electric fence or deterrent fence, and under special restrictions, deer causing damage to crops can be harassed (scared) with a gun and light at night, when authorized.  Find out more information on the Gun and Light at Night Permit.

In cases where a Gun and Light at Night Permit is not eliminating the depredation or is not feasible, and in situations where deer are causing extreme damage to a crop, contact your local FWC regional office to request a Depredating Deer permit for temporary relief.

Protected Fish and Wildlife

A FWC permit is required for take of any state listed species. Protected fish and wildlife include those species listed as endangered, threatened or species of special concern. FWC rules prohibit activities that may have a negative effect on protected fish and wildlife without a permit.  More information about living with wildlife is available on this website.

Rabid Animals

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is agency primarily responsible for rabies response, prevention, treatment and control.  If you suspect an animal of having rabies or if someone has been bitten, contact the local County Health Department.  Public health staff will investigate animal bite reports.  The DOH can request help from the Sheriff's office, Animal Control or the FWC, but their staff will make that decision. View the listing of Florida County Health Departments at www.doh.state.fl.us/chdsitelist.htm.

For more information about rabies control and prevention in Florida, visit the DOH on the Web at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html.

Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Problems

In the spring, bird species around the state start to build nests. Occasionally, this nesting behavior comes into conflict with human activities. Nuisance bird issues are not as easy to mitigate as nuisance mammal issues. Most birds are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Joint state-federal permits are issued under very limited circumstances to keep or remove native wild birds or their eggs or nests. For information on Migratory Bird and Eagle Permits, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

For more information contact the FWC's Division of Habitat & Species Conservation, Species Conservation and Planning Section. Often, nesting birds will use the nest for only a month or so before their young are ready to go. It is usually advisable to leave these birds alone until they are done with their nesting cycle.

Migratory nongame birds that cause damage to trees, crops, livestock or wildlife, or that are concentrated in such numbers that they are nuisance, may be taken with permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by calling 404-679-7070.  Blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds and American crows can be taken without permits when they are causing damage.

You can find a comprehensive list of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Information about dealing with problem ducks or geese is available on our waterfowl website.

If you are experiencing a problem with roosting vultures, please contact USDA Wildlife Services APHIS Wildlife at 352-377-5556 or toll free at 866-487-3297 for assistance in scaring off the birds.

Dealing with Aggressive Raptors

Birds of prey, also called raptors, include hawks, eagles, falcons and owls. Each spring and summer, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) receives reports of raptors diving at people. These incidents, which are usually caused by hawks, have happened in both urban and suburban areas. Most of these events occur during the nesting season and near an active nest where there are chicks or eggs.  The raptors dive at people who come too close to the nest. The birds view those people as threats to the nest and the babies.  In many cases, the birds dive at people but don't make contact. However, there have been injuries from these birds when they do make contact. Reports show that the birds may dive at people as far as 150 feet away from their nests.  To learn how to handle this situation, read our guide to dealing with aggressive raptors.

Source: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/assistnuisance-wildlife/

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Roof Rats

What are roof rats? Roof rats - also called black rats or ship rats - are smaller than Norway rats, but cause similar issues. This rodent gets its name from its tendency to be found in the upper parts of buildings. The roof rat is thought to be of Southeast Asian origin, but is now found throughout the world, especially in tropical regions.

Pest Stats

 Color:  Brown with black intermixed; Gray, white or black underside

 Legs:  4

 Shape:  Long and thin with scaly tail; large ears and eyes

 Size:  16" total (6-8" body plus 6-8" tail)

 Antennae:  No

 Region:  Coastal states and the southern third of the U.S.

Habits

Roof rats are primarily nocturnal. They forage for food in groups of up to ten and tend to return to the same food source time after time. These rats follow the same pathway between their nest and food.

Habitat

Roof rats live in colonies and prefer to nest in the upper parts of buildings. They can also be found under, in and around structures.

Threats

Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly dangerous bubonic plague. Though transmission is rare today, there are still a handful of cases in the U.S. each year. Roof rats can also carry fleas and spread diseases such as typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.

Roof Rat Prevention

To get rid of roof rats and prevent them from entering a home, seal up any holes or cracks larger than a quarter with silicone caulk. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the building and cut back limbs overhanging the roof. Roof rats are drawn to any accessible food sources, so clean up fruit that may fall from trees in the yard and keep garbage in tightly covered receptacles. It's also important to regularly inspect the home and property for signs of a roof rat infestation, including rodent droppings, gnaw marks, damaged goods and greasy rub marks from their oily fur.

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BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER!!! Yesterday we were called to a Sarasota/Bradenton area home at the same time as one of our competitors.

Just because a company spends a lot of money on advertising, doesn’t make them a good rodent pest control company.

They are a much larger company who may or may not dress their yellow vehicles to appear like a rat/mouse. The company showed up to do a rodent inspection on the home with only a 6 foot ladder leaving them unable to get on the roof to look for possible entry points up there (which is the source of most rat/mouse issues) or check the integrity of the chimney (which extended much higher than the roof). We asked him, “if you can’t inspect the entire home for a pest proofing, how can you guarantee a customer you can handle their rat problem completely?”  Of course the tech just ignored me. Please remember, just because a company has more employees & spends more on advertising, does not make them the best choice. At Rodent Solutions, we believe in quality customer service, not the quick $$$.

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Rodents Fear Men (Women, Not So Much)

Men stress out rodents, according to a new study, which found that even the smell of a man could elicit fear in mice and rats.

The study, published in the latest issue of Nature Methods, demonstrates how the hardwiring of some animals may cause them to react differently toward men or women. It has important applications for laboratory studies involving rodents, since the sex of the experimenter could affect research outcomes.

Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University’s Department of Psychology and colleagues used what is known as “the mouse grimace scale” to compare mouse responses to pain in the presence of male or female experimenters. Reading about this study may make some grimace, themselves.

The researchers induced pain in mice via injections of an inflammatory agent. They then compared facial grimacing of the mice in the presence of either a male or a female experimenter.

Mogil and his team noted a marked reduction in pain sensation, known as “stress-induced analgesia,” when a man conducted the experiment. In keeping with that finding, the mice in the presence of men also showed increases in body temperature and corticosterone levels. Corticosterone is a stress hormone.

The same thing happened when the female experimenters donned T-shirts that previously had been worn by men, strongly suggesting that the odor of the men is what triggered the stress.

The rodents left behind their own smelly evidence.

“Supporting the assertion that exposure to male odor is stressful is the significant increase in fecal boli deposited by mice in the 30-minute testing period in which they were exposed to male, but not female, worn t-shirts,” the researchers wrote.

It could be that testosterone or male pheromones trigger fear in rodents, but the exact reasons remain a mystery.

Pet rodents doted on by male caretakers seem to display no such fear, so it may be possible that life experiences can overcome any mice or rat predispositions.

Laboratory animals, however, obviously don’t receive that kind of pet pampering, so the study could have far-reaching implications for future research involving mice, rats and other rodents.

As Mogil and his team conclude, “Our findings strongly suggest that standard laboratory practice should account for experimenter sex when investigating any phenomenon possibly affected by stress.”

Source: http://news.discovery.com/

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Ancient villagers on the U.K. archipelago of Orkney likely dined on food items we’d consider luxuries today: venison, oysters, crab, mussels, cod, and … voles? A group of researchers says it’s possible that these resourceful Neolithic people did not turn up their noses when roasted rodent was on the menu. Their finding—based on pits full of singed vole carcasses in the ancient village of Skara Brae (above) unearthed in the late 1970s—would make this the first evidence for rodent-eating in Neolithic Europe, scientists report this week in Royal Society Open Science. To build their case, archaeologists examined four trenches at the 5400-year-old village, full of thousands of vole and wood mouse skeletal fragments. Scientists quickly ruled out natural causes of death, because voles are known to steer clear of human settlements and because the trenches lacked any signs of burrowing. A trench within the village compound also contained more adult skeletons than any of the other pits, suggesting that villagers were selectively hunting larger animals, and treating them like protein-rich snacks, according to one of the researchers. Burn patterns on the bodies closely resemble those caused by roasting on a spit over embers, rather than incineration after decomposition, the scientists say. This became especially evident after comparing them with rodent remains from similar sites in Patagonia and South Africa, where the animals were commonly on prehistoric plates. The scientists admit that there could be other explanations for the rodent bones—the grain-farming villagers could have simply seen them as meddlesome vermin that needed to be culled—but the burn marks don’t quite fit those theories. So the researchers are sticking to their favorite hypothesis: that these skeletons are the remains of some of Europe’s first rodent barbeque dinners. Source: ScienceMag.org

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Chicago has received more than 7,500 rat complaints from residents in 2016 so far, a five-year high for the first quarter. Some residents have a solution to their rat problems beyond the cities abatement tactics: feral cats.

CHICAGO— Some denizens of America’s great cities probably wouldn’t mind a visit from the Pied Piper right about now.

Several major U.S. cities—including Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.— have seen significant surges in rat complaints from their residents in recent months, according to city data reviewed by USA TODAY.

Grousing about rats has long been city-dweller sport, but the long-tailed, sharp-toothed nuisances have now become so populous and so aggressive that some cities are getting creative in their efforts to stay ahead of rodents even as some frustrated city residents are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.

In Chicago, which historically notches more rat complaints than any other city, residents' reports of rodent activity rose by about 70% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

With the city on pace to shatter the more than 41,000 complaints it received in 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently acknowledged in a radio interview that rats in the Windy City have become “a real problem.”

After several years of a scaled back rodent patrol in Chicago, the Emanuel administration announced this month it will bolster the number of technicians searching for burrows and laying poison from 18 technicians to 28 by next month.

The administration went on a community relations blitz, hanging doorknob leaflets that called on residents to do their part to eliminate food sources for rats by not overfilling dumpsters and cleaning up properly after their dogs.

To further drive home the getting tough-on-rats message, an ordinance recently introduced in Chicago’s city council makes it clear that homeowners who fail to keep their yards free of dog waste, garbage, or other materials that attract rodents could be fined up to $500.The city also began requiring developers to include rat abatement plans as part of any new construction project.

Separately, the Chicago Transit Authority hopes to put an end to rat canoodling with a new bait that targets both male and female rat fertility. Rats reach sexual maturity within weeks after birth.

“We are being very, very aggressive in how we bait, so we can get control of the rodent population before summer gets here,” said Charles Williams, Chicago’s streets and sanitation department commissioner.

Boston touts itself as having one of the most innovative rat abatement programs in the country and historically gets fewer complaints than some of its bigger city counterparts. Still, complaints have nearly tripled in the first quarter of this year – a spike city officials there attribute to last year’s launching of a 311 system that makes it easier for Bostonians to call or use a phone app to report rats and other nuisance complaints to city officials.

The city's Inspectional Service Department tapped researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help launch a pilot program that uses dry ice to kill rats hiding in burrows in the city.

The dry ice, made of solid carbon dioxide, can be packed into the burrows where it asphyxiates the rats. City officials say it proved effective during their first month of testing, and the method has the added bonus of being less of a danger to humans and other animals than setting out poison.

And at about 50 cents per pound, the initial testing suggests dry ice might be a cheaper instrument for killing rats than rat poison, said Inspectional Service Department Commissioner William "Buddy" Christopher Jr.

Christopher said he’s “not extremely concerned” about the uptick thus far.

“I think our aggressive, pro-active stance is maintaining,” Christopher said. “Our staff stays on top of this. They’re constantly looking for new ways to deal with old problems.”

Washington, D.C., last year could boast of a four-year decline in rat complaints, but now the city is on pace to ruin its good news streak. If complaints continue at the same rate, the city will likely surpass last year’s mark of 2,004. Through April 15, the District’s Department of Health tallied 699 complaints.

The district's Department of Health said mild winters have been good for rodents, but the department insisted it was primed for battle.

“I can assure you that we are ready for them,” department spokesman Ivan Torressaid in an email “The DOH is and will continue to strike hard.”

In New York, which has seen complaints to its 311 system soar over the last five years, there has been no relief. Rat complaints jumped by 39% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year. The Big Apple's 311 system tallied more than 15,000 rodent complaints last year, compared to more than 10,600 in 2012.

And San Francisco, where complaints had stabilized over the last five years, now reports a modest increase in the number of rat complaints, so far this year compared to the same period of 2015.

William Tatum, a Chicago streets and sanitation worker, on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, fills a rat burrow with poison and newspaper. Chicago has seen a more than 70% increase in rat complaints in the first quarter of 2016 compared to same period last year. (Photo: Ryan Connelly Holmes)

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When New Yorkers see something scurrying, they say something and that has brought rat complaints to the city's 311 hotline to a recent high of more than 24,000 so far this year, officials said on Thursday.

"The rats are taking over," New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer told Reuters. "I'm a lifelong New Yorker and I've never seen it this bad... I see them on my way home, they're standing upright, they say, 'Good morning, Mr. Comptroller.'"

With more than two months of grumbling still left in 2015, rodent-related grievances were already at 24,375 as of Wednesday, said Mayor Bill de Blasio spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas. That's up from 20,545 in 2014 and 19,321 in 2013. And that's just above-ground rats - complaints about vermin in the subway are routed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and not recorded by the 311 line, Grybauskas said.

A city Health Department rodent expert, Carolyn Bragdon, laid the blame, in part, on a new 311 mobile phone app in use since February 2014, making it easier to rat out the pests to the city's hotline that has been operating since 2003.

"Whenever you launch a new vehicle for complaints, you tend to see increases," Bragdon said. "Over 90 percent of the increase in complaints was due to the app."

So far this year, rat complaints consisted of 17,356 calls, 2,347 online remarks and 4,672 mobile app entries, statistics show. Last year there were 16,964 calls, 2,361 online remarks and 1,220 mobile app entries.

Although the rodent issue in the Sarasota/Bradenton area is not to be compared to the one in NYC, it is still a extremely large.  The new building going on in the Sarasota/Bradenton area is forcing rodents (rats, mice, squirrels) out of their natural habitat.  The rodents are forced to find a new home when land is cleared.  More often than not, the rats/mice/squirrels prefer your attic in the evenings for protection during reproduction.  Don't let a rodent infestation happen to you.  Call Rodent Solutions for a FREE inspection of your home.  A Rodent Solutions technician will identify all areas in your home that could allow for a rodent Infestation to begin.  Call us today! 941-704-0063        

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With Halloween and cooler weather right around the corner, sightings of creepy creatures indoors are sure to be on the rise as they search for cozy places to hole up for the winter. Rats, bats and spiders are the stuff nightmares are made of, and for good reason; these creepy critters are capable of spreading disease, and incurring serious harm to people, and even causing property damage.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers the following guide on three common, creepy fall invaders, along with a few tips for preventing your home from turning into a true haunted house!

Rats
These primarily nocturnal pests are known to gnaw through almost anything to obtain food or water, including plastic or lead pipes. Rats are able to fit through an opening the size of a quarter, and once inside they are capable of spreading diseases such as plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.

Tip: Before bringing decorations out of storage and into the home, inspect all boxes for signs of infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. When it's time to put away decorations, store them in a plastic, sealed box to keep rodents out.

Bats
Bats are frequently associated with vampires and haunted houses, causing an unfounded fear in many people. However, it is important to note that bats are common carriers of rabies, a disease that can be fatal in humans, and their droppings can lead to histoplasmosis, a lung disease.

Tip: Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home. If an active bat infestation is suspected, it is important to contact a licensed pest control professional because bats are protected by law in most states.

Spiders
While most spiders that invade homes are simply an annoyance, albeit a creepy one, the brown recluse and black widow spiders will bite when threatened and can cause painful -- possibly fatal -- reactions. Prompt medical attention is required if you've come into contact with one of these venomous spiders.

Tip: Avoid coming in to contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been in storage, such as Halloween decorations.

 

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