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

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

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

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

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

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

Human counterparts are candidates for precision medicine

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

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

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

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

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

Source: ScienceDaily.com 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple Rodent Control Tips

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

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

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

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

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You could make an argument either way.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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The 7 Things Mice Love Most

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.

 

  1. 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.

    natural_rodent_control
  2. 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.

    how_to_get_rid_of_mice
  3. 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.

    natural_rodent_repellent
  4. 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.

    repel_mice_naturally
  5. 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.natural_mice_control
  6. 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.

    repel_mice_naturally
  7. 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!

    natural_rodent_control

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

 

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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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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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