Should an expecting female rat slip through the cracks of your home, she’s likely to bring six tiny newcomers into the world within three weeks. Just over a month later, those little fellows are grown and ready to start new families of their own. They’re also capable of calling to others nearby without humans hearing. A single rat, or a family of them, could invite additional unwanted guests into your home while you’re trying to get rid of the ones already there.
If your home is taken over by mice or rats, contamination is only one of your concerns.
Rodents are resourceful. They will borrow bits and pieces from your personal possessions to build their nests and eat their way through walls and wiring to clear pathways for their daily adventures. Let Beeline Pest Control help you reclaim your living quarters or put proactive measures in place to keep rodents from invading in the first place.
Deer Mice also tend to come inside when cold weather threatens. They’re similar in size and appearance to their previously-mentioned cousins with light reddish-brown backs and white bellies. They have fewer little ones than their counterparts but grow up just as quickly, leaving you plagued with five or more adults in less than two months.
Both these little intruders are fairly harmless to people and pets as long as they’re living where they should. Once they’re in human territory, though, they can leave behind a trail of contamination. Anything both you and the mice come in contact with in your home increases your risk of exposure. They’re proven carriers of
- Salmonella: An intestinal bacteria causing fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
- Leptospirosis: Bacterial infection bringing about body aches, diarrhea and vomiting, high fever, and yellowing of the eyes and skin.
- Hantavirus: Leads to fever, body aches, chills, difficulty breathing, and kidney failure
- Rat-Bite Fever: Not necessarily contracted through bites, rat-bite fever can cause elevated body temperature, aches, and pains, rash, skin lesions, as well as sore throats and has been linked to increased risk of future health issues, such as meningitis, liver damage, and pneumonia.
- Bubonic, Septicemic, and Pneumonic Plagues: Though all these conditions begin with fever and muscle weakness, their symptoms vary from that point. Pneumonic plague leads to severe respiratory issues whereas Bubonic causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, a cough with bloody mucus, and extremely swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms of Septicemic plague include abdominal pain, internal bleeding, and shock.
All these conditions can be spread through contaminated food and water, inhaling particles from droppings, and bites from fleas feeding on both you and infected mice. Intruders carrying these viruses and bacteria place your family in danger. They also bring along dangerous threats like tick and flea epidemics.
Though mice are significant problems on their own, three common rat species also call Texas home: Roof, Cotton, and Norway Rats. Quite a bit more massive than their diminutive cousins, each of these intruders can grow to be more than a foot long. Meeting up with one of these critters during a middle-of-the-night trip down the hallway might be enough to elicit a mild heart attack, but they are perfectly capable of introducing illnesses as well.
In addition to the health hazards listed for mice, rats carry Murine Typhus, which can be transmitted courtesy of their byproducts as well as the fleas they play host to and bring into your home. Symptoms of this illness include pain in muscles and joints, persistent cough, rash, nausea, and a fever as high as 106 degrees. To make matters worse, they are not opposed to munching on smaller rodents and won’t hesitate to bring the carcasses of those meals into your house to feed their continuously multiplying families.
Voles, also referred to as meadow mice, are small mouse to rat-sized rodents. They are pudgy, with blunt faces, small eyes, short ears, short legs, and a short tail. Voles reach a length of 5 to 7 inches at maturity. Their dense fur is grayish to brownish, and the under parts are generally gray, sometimes mixed with yellow or buff. A handful of species of voles are widely distributed throughout the various ecosystems of Texas.
Voles may breed throughout the year, but most commonly in spring and summer. They have 1 to 5 litters per year. Voles are prey for many predators (for example, coyotes, snakes, hawks, owls, and weasels). An increase in voles can bring more predators into the area for the abundance of prey base. Voles cause many types of damage. They feed on and girdle nursery stock, fruit trees, and ornamental plantings. They damage lawns by building runways under the snow. They also damage root crops, bulbs, and tubers. Most damage by voles occurs under the snow during the winter. Voles are adapted to digging and build many tunnels and surface runways with numerous entrances. They are active throughout the day and do not hibernate in winter. Vole activity is closely tied to the grasses that are their primary food. Eliminating ground cover of weeds and tall grasses through repeated mowing, tillage, and herbicide application will reduce vole populations and the damage they cause. Habitat Modification: The elimination of weeds, ground cover, and litter around lawns and ornamental plantings can reduce habitat suitability for voles and lead to a decreased likelihood of vole damage. For example, lawns should be mowed regularly and mulch should be cleared 3 feet or more from the base of trees. Additionally, soil cultivation destroys vole runway-systems and may kill voles outright. For these reasons, plots of annual plants often are less susceptible to vole damage than perennial plants.
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