Winter is coming....
Like humans, mice and rats tend to seek food and shelter during the colder months of the year. That often means in the walls, up in the roof, and beneath the floorboards, squeezing into cracks as small as a quarter of an inch wide. Mice and rats prefer to nest relatively close to a readily available food source, usually opting to travel no more than 3 to 5 metres from their nest for sustenance.
While rodents don’t tend to eat a lot – usually about 3 grams of food a day for mice, and up to 30 grams daily for Norway rats – they’ll happily sample new foods until they find something they like. You may also notice their consumption from the signs they leave behind: nibbles from a block of chocolate or holes in the bread bag. However, even though they may only take a little bite, you won’t be holding on to the rest!
That’s because of the bigger problem this behaviour poses, which is the risk of contamination – rodents tend to contaminate ten times more food than they eat. This occurs through distribution of droppings, saliva and urine. While the first item on this list is at least relatively easy to detect, the others are not – you could easily be putting your mouth on a can or bottle that has mouse wee on it. Yum! Plus, as well as the direct risk of illness from bacteria, breathing in particles from rodent waste can also cause sickness.
The rodent life cycle – live fast, die young
Even a small number of rodents can cause considerable damage, but if you happen to be hosting even one breeding pair, your problems will increase exponentially. A female mouse can spawn approximately 5 to 10 litters of between 3 and 14 offspring a year. It only takes 30 days before these new mice can themselves start reproducing. At this rate, it won’t be long before you have a mouse house party on your hands.
Eating you out of house and home
Though rodents are small, don’t be fooled – they can cause damage out of proportion to their size! They love to chew, and not just on food; these animals have been known to gnaw their way through electrical wiring, insulation, and even wood, from infrastructural beams to furniture. Repairs can be expensive, and some of this destruction is actually dangerous – chewed wires can result in a house fire!
There are numerous methods by which people try to deal with a mouse infestation themselves, including traps, poison, and even electrical devices designed to deter them with sound. However, these little beasties are clever and often adapt. Poison can present its own problems, too; it can pose a threat to household pets, and you may also find rodents decomposing in hard-to-get-to areas, resulting in an unpleasant odour, maggots and even blow flies. In addition, these methods can only offer temporary relief if you’re not eliminating all of the rodents at once, or sealing off their entrance points to your home.
If your premises are suffering from a rodent problem, it’s best to call in a professional, ensuring your uninvited houseguests are evicted once and for all. With proper rodent pest control, they won’t be coming back!