Rodent-Proofing Your Premises
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
- Feeling of discomfort
- Agitation or anxiety
- Disorientation and hallucination
- Changes in behavior
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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
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.”
The National Pest Management Association explains why rodents invade cars
FAIRFAX, VA – Many causes are possible when vehicles experience problems, but it might surprise motorists to learn that a rodent infestation could be one of them. According to the National Pest Management Association, several innate factors drive rodents under the hood, leading to car damage, particularly during wintertime.
“Vehicles possess the ideal attributes that attract rodents in winter, including shelter and built-up warmth from commutes,” says Michael Bentley, Ph.D., a staff entomologist at NPMA. “Rodents hate being out in the open where they are vulnerable to predators, so when they see a car holding freshly generated heat that also offers protection from the great outdoors, they are drawn to it for cover.”
Entering into cars is easy — a mouse, for example, can squeeze through openings as small as a dime. Once inside, any crumbs the owner leaves behind, or other chewable items, will hold rodents’ attention, and that includes wires.
“Rodents are instinctively avid chewers. About three percent of their daily activity is just gnawing on objects like wires,” says Bentley. “Unfortunately, cars have an abundance of materials that rodents enjoy chewing through.”
Changes in car design may also attract rodents. Recently, numerous consumers have reported experiencing rodent infestations in their cars, attributing them to the materials manufacturers are using in their eco-friendly models, such as soy-based wiring, which is especially appealing to a rodent’s palate.
Costly car repairs aside, rodents can also have negative effects on human health. They can, for example, cause respiratory issues, including asthma and allergy symptoms.
To eliminate the likelihood of rodents infesting a vehicle, keep trash in tightly closed containers and seal up points of entry into the garage. Drivers should also regularly look under the hood for gnawed materials, nests, droppings and frayed wires.
There are many wild animals native to the United States that people likely encounter on a near-daily basis, sometimes without even realizing it. These common backyard creatures have found ways to co-exist with humans, which unfortunately can lead them to become nuisance pests and even occasional health threats. Though these wild animals may not always be a welcome sight for homeowners, they do have some interesting characteristics!
Squirrels are fierce fighters.
Squirrel varieties can be found in every region of the United States. A group of squirrels is called a scurry. Squirrels are extremely territorial and will even fight to the death to defend their area. Mother squirrels are especially vicious when protecting their babies. Squirrels frequently enter attics and chimneys in the winter. To keep them out, seal all possible points of entry around the house, screen vents and openings to chimneys and keep tree limbs cut back six to eight feet from the roofline.
Raccoons will eat almost anything.
Raccoons are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including fish, mice, insects, stolen eggs and human trash. Raccoons also sometimes "wash" their food by rapidly dunking it in water before eating. Their adaptable eating habits have allowed them to make themselves at home in many environments, from forests and marshes to cities and the suburbs. Homeowners should be sure to store trash cans and recycling bins in sealed areas or with animal-proof lids to keep raccoons, which are frequent carriers of rabies, off their property.
Opossums are good actors.
Opossums are the only marsupials found in North America. Female opossums give birth to young as tiny as honey bees that immediately crawl into their mother's pouch where their development continues. Typically, fewer than half of opossum young survive in to adulthood. Opossums are known for "playing dead" when threatened by predators. They will fall onto their sides and lie on the ground, extend their tongues and either close their eyes or stare straight in to space. Do not approach an opossum in this state, as they have sharp teeth and in rare cases may bite if they feel threatened. Opossums have been known to create messy dens in homeowner's attics and garages.
Bats are often protected by law.
Bats are protected by law in most states, so it is important to check with animal control or wildlife services for any regulations before bat-proofing your home. The best time to bat-proof is the beginning of autumn, when bats leave for hibernation. Bats can pose serious health threats to humans if they are not removed from structures; bat droppings can harbor a fungus that causes lung disease.
Voles are small, but mighty.
Voles, also known as meadow mice or field mice, are a type of rodent that can be found in most regions of the United States. They are active year-round, and do not hibernate. Their populations tend to fluctuate and are dependent on factors such as food quality, climate and physiological stress. Voles construct many tunnels with various burrow entrances and can cause extensive damage to orchards, young trees and field crops. They're even capable of ruining lawns and golf courses with their extensive tunnel systems.
Groundhogs are true hibernators.
Groundhogs are among the few mammals that enter into true hibernation, which generally starts in late fall near the end of October and continues until late February. These rodents will gorge themselves all summer to build up their fat reserves. After the first frost, they enter their underground burrows and hibernate until spring, where they survive off of their accumulated body fat. During hibernation, the groundhog's heart rate plunges and its body temperature will not be much higher than that inside the burrow. To keep groundhogs out of crawlspaces, it is important to inspect homes for access points, such as broken vent covers or holes in the foundation. Burrowing groundhogs have been known to destroy building foundations.
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
Nearly 1/3 of American homes have reported a mouse problem at one time or another, and it’s not hard to believe considering how much we have in common with these furry little pests. Whether you are a passionate chocolate lover, or a fitness fanatic, there’s a good chance you’ll find something on this list that you love too. As a matter of fact, your similar interests may just be inviting them in.
Since most mouse problems occur during fall and winter months when mice are seeking warmth inside people’s homes, you’ll want to know exactly what mice like so you can make sure they don’t like your house.
- Eating -- Most rodents prefer seeds and grains, but will nibble on almost anything. However, the stereotype that mice love cheese isn’t true because their sensitive noses find it a bit too smelly.
- Chewing -- Rodent teeth never stop growing, so they need to chew all the time to file down their incisors. They also chew up various things to make soft bedding for their nests.
- Gettin’ busy! A female mouse can have her first litter at just 6-8 weeks old and reproduce about every two months after that. Needless to say, there is no such thing as ‘just one mouse’ and you can go from one sighting to an infestation in the blink of an eye.
- Sneaking around -- Night time is the right time if you are a mouse. Since visual acuity is not a strong suit for mice, evening hours and dim lighting are not a setback. And since you’re sound asleep, they can have the run of the house.
- Athletic training -- You might not believe it, but mice can jump more than three times their height; they are capable swimmers, and they can climb almost any terrain. All of that means that the best way to keep mice out is to make sure they don’t want to come in in the first place.
- Staying close to home --Even though mice can be found all over the world, they prefer to spend most of their time less than 20 feet away from their nest or burrow. This means that when you see signs of mice, they didn’t just ‘eat and run;’ they are always nearby.
- Pets -- Rodents don’t mind eating Fido or Fluffy’s sloppy seconds. If you leave a dish of food out 24/7, rats and mice will come and grab the nutricious morsels up to 20X daily, then ‘cache’ ( stock pile) for later consumption!
Instead, keep the food dishes empty until meal time so you know you’re only feeding your fur-family members and no one else.
Despite our common interests, these pests are not people. Rodents can carry many diseases like salmonella and Hantavirus, and are a health risk for people – their hair can even aggravate asthma.
Source-Rita Stadler www.earthkind.org
Researchers have developed a new mouse model that could be used in Zika research to better understand the virus and find new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.
A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.
Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika.
"This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and potentially help to develop treatments or vaccines," says Mohanraj Manangeeswaran, senior staff fellow in the FDA's Office of Pharmaceutical Quality. "Because the mice used in this model have immune systems that allow them to survive initial infection, they could be particularly helpful for studying the long-term effects of Zika virus infection."
The new mouse model employs a mouse strain called C57BL/6, which is commonly used in disease research. The scientists infected 1-day-old C57BL/6 mice with Zika virus and found that they develop symptoms of neurological disease, such as unsteady gait and seizures that gradually fade over two weeks.
The researchers compared their new mouse model with young mice that have immune system defects and are known to die several days after Zika infection. They found significant differences in disease progression, immune system response, and neurological effects between the two models.
Across the country, chilly temperatures and early snowstorms are forcing more than just people indoors. Rodents including mice, rats and squirrels are seeking food, water and shelter in homes. Unfortunately, more bad weather could be on the way as the Farmers' Almanac is forecasting a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from rodent infestations during colder months.
"Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests."
The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread bacteria and contaminate food sources. These rodent droppings are known to trigger allergies and cause diseases including Hantavirus and Salmonella. In addition to health risks, rodents can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the risk of a house fire.
NPMA offers the following tips to avoid a rodent infestation:
- Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
- Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
- Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.
For more information about household pests and to find a local pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
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.”
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)