Delta Pest Control & Lawn Service  
El Paso Texas and Southern New Mexico
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TPCL 6613 • NM 0227 • LI 7294 • BP 3758 • CID 376760
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RODENTS (Norway Rat, House Mouse, Roof Rat)
Characteristics - Warning Signs - Control

  Rodents are known to transmit diseases like: Hantavirus, Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, Meningitis, Salmonellosis, and Rat-Bite Fever.
Mice can squeeze through openings the size of a dime.
Roof rats are agile and can swing beneath rafters.
Mice alone contaminate 10 times the amount of food they actually consume.
Roof rats can jump as far as 4 feet from branches to roof tops, and climb pipes and wires.
Rats are omnivores, and have enough predatory instinct left in them to consume birds, fish and even smaller rodents.
Rodents can follow a sewage waste trail all the way up to household toilets and sinks.
Rodents nibble away at one-fifth of the global food supply every year.
Rats get into food so often, the U.S. FDA actually allows a set amount of rat droppings in commercial food products.
Mouse feces can contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning (salmonellosis).
Rats are the largest single group of mammals in the animal kingdom.
A pair of brown rats can produce as many as 2,000 descendants in a year if left to breed unchecked.
Rats are incestuous - mother and son or brother and sister matings are common.
Rat mothers have been known to eat their young in certain situations.
Rats' front teeth grow 4½ to 5½ inches each year and they wear them down by gnawing on everything around them.
A rat can tread water for three days and survive being flushed down the toilet.
A rat can fall as far as 50 feet and land uninjured.
Rat-borne diseases are thought to have killed more people in the last 1000 years than all of the wars and revolutions ever fought.
RodentDomestic rodents are comprised of three species of rats and mice that live in close contact with people. They are found almost everywhere that people live. The three species - Norway rat, house mouse and roof rat - are not native to North America; originally arriving with relocating European settlers. These domestic rodents are easily distinguished from native rodents by their tails which are scaly and mostly hairless.

Infestation can happen in the best of homes and as the months get colder, pesky rodents start seeking shelter in warm places. Rodents inhabit buildings and damage property by gnawing at doors, window casings or almost any potential point of entry. Norway rats also burrow under foundations, walks, driveways and streets, often causing stress cracks and breaks. The damage that rodents cause is varied and extensive, with losses reaching millions of dollars annually.

Rats and mice are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day except when infestations are heavy. They usually spend their lives in a very limited area called their home range which is no larger than necessary to provide life necessities. The home range might be less than 10 feet in diameter or up to 300 feet in less than favorable conditions. Rats generally range farther than mice who rarely wander more than 50 feet away. You will often find these rodents around piles of rubbish or behind and under wood, cardboard or paper boxes.

Rodents will go where food is readily available. Mice and rats are usually attracted to residential homes by the smell of anything edible. They love to eat vegetables, nuts and fruits. They can often be found in garbage that is not covered and also feed on bird seed, snails, garden vegetables and dog droppings.

Domestic rodents can reproduce year-round when adequate food, water and shelter are available. The average female mouse can produce up to 8 litters per year with an average litter size of 4 to 7 young. Rats can reproduce up to 6 times a year with litters averaging between 4 to 8 offspring each.

If you see rats or mice in daylight, it generally indicates a high or moderately high population in the area. When rats are present, they can be observed in trees, on wires and fences, or running along pathways in vegetation. Mice are more often observed inside a structure than outside.

Finding droppings is another sign of rodent presence. Droppings are most commonly found in cabinets, pantries, and in the nooks and crannies of flooring. Fresh droppings are usually moist, soft, shiny and dark, while old droppings are dry, dull, gray and crumble when touched. Rat droppings can be up to 1/2 inch long while mouse feces average about 1/8 inch long.

Rats follow odor trails and use the same pathways between food, water and shelter. They also prefer body contact with a vertical surface such as a wall or fence. Since rats regularly travel these same paths, they often leave behind runway markings and rub-marks with their greasy fur coats. Mice rarely leave detectable rub-marks unless infestation is heavy.

Other tell-tale signs of domestic rodent activity are sounds like scratching, gnawing, and squeaking in your walls, rafters, or cabinets; tracks or foot prints in dust or mud; fresh gnawing damage found in wood, cloth, plastic, or paper products; and a characteristic musky odor that identifies their presence.

For any rodent control program, it is essential that you first identify the species present. Some toxicants are selective and differ in effectiveness among the three species. Baits also are more attractive to some species than others. Behavioral differences also influence the placement and the effectiveness of traps. You should also survey the area of infestation to determine the domestic rodent's major sources of food and shelter so that these resources can be eliminated.

After rats or mice have been controlled in a given are, populations soon recover if nothing is done to eliminate the food source or available shelter. Sanitation and exclusion are key in controlling rodents. Do not allow rubbish to accumulate and pick up garbage frequently. Store pet food in metal containers with tight fitting lids and do not leave pet food out overnight. Take steps to exclude rodents by making openings in outer walls, doors and floor/wall junctions tight enough to prevent rodent entry. For effective rodent proofing, there should be no opening larger than 1/4 inch.

Because of the health concerns related to rodents, anyone suspecting a problem should contact a licensed pest management professional. Contact the professionals at Delta Pest Control to help identify and eliminate your rodent problems.
Norway Rat
Also called brown rat, sewer rat, street rat, common rat, wharf rat or Norwegian rat. Found commonly in urban and suburban neighborhoods eating contaminated food, spreading diseases, and damaging property with their gnawing and burrowing.
Brown RatThe fur of the brown rat is coarse and usually brown or dark gray with lighter colored underparts. Their length can be up to 10 inches with a tail slightly shorter or the same length as the body. Adult body weight averages 19 oz. in males and about 12 oz. in females, but a very large individual can reach 900 g (32 oz).

The brown rat is a true omnivore and will consume almost anything. When given a choice, they select a nutritionally balanced diet, choosing fresh, wholesome items over stale or contaminated foods. They prefer cereal grains, meats and fish, nuts, and some types of fruit. Food items in household garbage offers them a fairly balanced diet and also satisfies their moisture needs.

Brown rats harbor lice and fleas that carry bubonic plague, typhus, trichinosis, tularemia, infectious jaundice, and many other serious diseases. These rats also cause considerable damage to property including crops, destroying and pollution of human food storage, and damage to insides and outsides of buildings.
Roof Rat
Also known as black rat or ship rat, these rodents are excellent climbers that can often be found in the upper parts of structures. Because they are often living overhead, between floors or above false ceilings, there is less tendency to see signs of roof rat tracks, urine, and droppings.
Black RatDespite its name, the black rat can also be brownish in color with a lighter gray underside. This rat is usually 7 to 8 inches in length with a dark scaly tail that is longer than the combined length of its head and body. The roof rat has large hairless ears, a pointed nose, smooth fur and its body is smaller and sleeker than, its cousin, the Norway rat’s.

Roof rats prefer to forage for food above ground in elevated areas indoors and outdoors. They are agile climbers and travel through trees and along vines, wires, rafters, and rooftops. They often use trees and utility lines to reach food and to enter buildings, but can also be found foraging in dense ground cover. Roof rats may nest in your neighbor’s yard but find food in your yard.

Black rats are omnivorous, but shows a preference for grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables. These rats may cache or hoard considerable amounts of solid food, which they will eat later. These food caches may be located in attics, in dense vegetation such as hedges, or in a variety of other hiding places generally near their nests.
House Mouse
House mice have pointed snouts, small rounded ears, and long nearly hairless tails with obvious scale rings. They are generally grayish brown with a gray or buff belly and have an adult body length (nose to base of tail) of 3-4 inches and a tail length of 2–4 inches.
House MouseWhen the temperatures outside begin to drop, house mice, since they don’t hibernate, begin searching for a warmer place to live. Often attracted by the smell of food and the warmth of a structure, the house mouse can use any opening, such as utility lines, pipe openings, and gaps beneath doors, to gain entry into a home. House mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime.

Although more commonly active in the evening, it is possible to see a house mouse roaming in your home during the day. Most often these animals are spotted scurrying along walls or running from a normally undisturbed hiding place. Seeing mice during daylight hours does not necessarily mean that a high population is present. They are good jumpers, climbers, and swimmers, but mice only travel an area averaging 10 to 30 feet in diameter. They seldom travel farther than this to obtain food or water even though they feed 15 to 20 times per day.

Where there are mice, there are droppings. These small pellets are commonly found anywhere the animals have visited or traveled. Approximately 3 to 6 mm long, the droppings may be rod shaped with pointed ends. People may confuse house mouse droppings with those of the American cockroach. Even though the general size and appearance of these droppings are similar, mouse droppings usually have hair embedded in them from where the mice have groomed themselves. Roach droppings also are not pointed and usually have ridges running down the sides.
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