Over 20 million households in the United States seek professional assistance every year to eradicate rodents that have infested the premises. Odds are that at some juncture in time you will face the prospect of a mouse or rat infestation in your residence. For that reason, it is important to arm yourself with some basic, essential facts about rodent infestation.
What is a Rodent?
Before diving into some of the specifics about rodent infestations, you need to understand some basic facts about rodents themselves. There are two primary types of rodents that tend to infest residences and businesses in California and across the United States. These are mice and rats.
There are hundreds of different species of rodents. Indeed, 40 percent of the entire mammal population on the plant are in the rodent family.
Rodents are omnivores, which means that they eat plants and vegetation as well as insects. They will also eat scraps of meat found in garbage.
Rodents ae distinguished by the fact that they have incisors that grow throughout their life. For this reason, rodents frequently gnaw on objects of different types.
Life Cycle and Reproduction of Rodents
A typical mouse or rat living in the wild is likely to have a lifespan of less than a year. There are a number of different types of predators that target mice and rats in the wild. In addition, the elements associated with life in the wild take their toll on rodents as well.
If a mouse or rat is able to find a sort of sanctuary in a house, business, or some other structure, odds are that the animal will be able to extend its life fairly significantly. A rodent that resides in a humanmade structure is likely to life approximately two years, on average.
There are some minimal differences in the reproductive cycles of different rodents. With that said, the reproductive cycles of mice and rats are very similar. A female mouse or rat reaches sexual maturity at about six weeks of age; a male mouse or rat becomes sexually mature a little bit later in life.
A mouse or rat theoretically can have approximately 10 litters a year. This particularly is the case is a mouse or rat nests in a humanmade structure and is protected from the elements. If mice or rats live out of doors, they will not breed during the colder months of the year.
Where Do Rodents Live?
Rodents are quite ubiquitous when it comes to the environments in which they reside. For example, mice and rats can be found across the United States. Different species of mice and rats populate different geographic locations in the country.
Rodents reside in fields, forests, and in just about every type of environment out of doors. Again, different species of mice and rats have preferences for particular types of environments.
Food and shelter draw mice and rats to seek refuge in humanmade structure, particularly houses, businesses, barns, and similar buildings. When a rodent enters into a humanmade structure, the animal will find nesting places out of the main throughways of a house or business. For example, mice and rats that infest a residence or business will nest in areas that include:
- Between walls
- Under floorboards
- Above false ceilings
- Utility rooms
How Do Rodents Infest a Residence or Business?
Rodents infest homes and businesses in a number of ways. You need to bear in mind that rodents like mice and rats are highly flexible animals. The typical mouse can squeeze through a space as small as a dime while a rat can get through a hole the size of a quarter.
In addition to being able to make their way through preexisting holes on the exterior walls of a structure, rodents are also capable of gnawing through a variety of different materials, including those that are utilized on the exterior of homes and businesses. A rodent can gnaw through a variety of materials that include:
- Vinyl siding
The one element that rodents cannot gnaw through is cement, provided that it has been properly cured in the first instance.
Strategies to Prevent Rodent Infestation in Your Home or Business
There are some specific tactics that you should seriously consider implementing to lessen the odds of a rodent infestation in your residence or business. These include:
- Tightly and thoroughly seal any holes on the exterior of your home or business, using cement whenever possible
- Keep garbage cans inside and outside your home or business tightly sealed
- Keep food stored in tightly sealed, highly durable and sturdy containers
- Keep pet food stored when pets are not eating
- Eliminate clutter from inside and outside your home or office
- Eliminate pools or puddles or water and fix leaky plumbing
- Keep firewood away from the exterior walls of your residence or business
- Don’t plant vegetation directly next to exterior walls of your home or business
The Dangers of Rodents
Rodents can cause dangers in two primary ways. First, mice and rats can cause serious damage to a house, business, or other structure. For example, rodents will gnaw on electrical wires. A full 25 percent of all home fires can be traced to rodents gnawing on wires and associated electrical equipment.
In addition, rodents spread disease, particularly through their droppings. Examples of diseases passed through rodent droppings include salmonella and hantavirus.
If you do end up with a rodent infestation, consider seriously engaging the services of a professional eradicator or exterminator. In addition, in order to ensure that the potentially dangerous aftermath of a rodent infestation is appropriately addressed, obtaining the assistance of a professional rodent dropping cleanup company is also highly recommended.