Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pests > Mice and Rats

Mice and rats are often a seasonally recurring problem for many homeowners. Rats are a big issue in large urban areas including Toronto. Factors such as availability of food (often garbage), congestion and temperature can influence the level of infestation associated with rats. The three varieties of mice plague areas north of Toronto including Markham, Richmond Hill, Stouffville and Vaughan where farms and more open space prevail. Because these areas include open fields and agricultural land, they are good breeding grounds for outdoor mice such as deer and field mice. These mice tend to start to come into homes for food and shelter as the weather gets colder.

House Mouse

Common Name: House mouse

Scientific Name: Mus musculus

Colour: grey to light brown to black

Physical Characteristics or Attributes: a pointed nose, small round ears, and a long hairless tail. Generally they have a body length of between 7.5 to 10 cm and a tail length of between 5 and 10 cm. They have short hair and little hair on their ears and tails.

Geographic Range: This is the worldwide pest that is active in both urban and agricultural settings.
Habitat: most preferred dark areas in nature these would be burrows. They are found in both homes and commercial structures often in basements and areas where food is present such as kitchens and pantries.

Diet: Naturally mice are herbivores, consuming fruit and grain from clients but mice will eat almost anything that they can including a variety of household foods and garbage.

Social Structure: social structure of house mice depends on environmental conditions including the availability of resources. In areas of high resource availability there is less female to female aggression and they will be socially structured in a polygamous situation meaning that there will be several females living with one male and their offspring. In areas such as fields and other outdoor locations there tends to be more female to female aggression and male to male aggression. Territories are marked by your own from the males. Generally males leave their natal group to form new territories while females will remain with their birth family.

Life Span and Chronological Development: mice reach reproductive maturity around 50 days old. The breeding year round with the average gestation period being 20 days. An average letter contains 10 to 12 pups. Pups will be weaned around 3 weeks.

Interesting or Typical Behaviours: house mice are generally nocturnal with their main activities occurring during the night time. They are generally quadraped (moving on all fours) except when eating, fighting or orienting themselves. Host most rely on pheromones for social communication, consequently their urine has a strong smell. Mice utilise both whiskers and their tails to feel the world around them which is exemplified do to their lack of colour vision.

Evidence of Infestation: infestations can be found in houses to evidence such as scratching, droppings and high pitched squeaking noises.

Service Types: Interior, Exterior, Home Protection Plan (Baiting and Trapping Treatments)

DIY Products: Snap Traps, Glue boards, Live Traps

Deer Mouse

Common Name: White-Footed Mouse or Deer Mouse

Scientific Name: Peromyscus leucopus and Peromyscus maniculatus

Colour: white feet, white or light coloured underside and Brown on the rest of the body. The tales are duly coloured with the upper portion being brown or gray while the underside of the tale will be white.

Physical Characteristics or Attributes: White footed mice are around the same size or slightly larger than house mice.

Geographic Range: White footed mice are native to North America.

Habitat: generally White footed mice occupy both agricultural and nearby residential areas.

Diet: Like house mice, they are naturally herbivores but will adopt an omnivore eating pattern if the environment provides that. Generally they will cache food for later eating.

Social Structure: Normally deer mice are solitary except for mating season when they live monogomously with their young. During extreeme cold spells, up to 15 individuals may live together in one nest.

Life Span and Chronological Development: the lifespan of mouse is usually between 4 and 20 months. Mice are weaned at about 3 weeks and become reproductive between 35 to 49 days.

Interesting or Typical Behaviours: typically white-footed mice spend much time in the trees sometimes taking over bird or squirrell nests. Deer mice utilize several different forms of communication including posturing, grooming, scent and vocal signals.

Evidence of Infestation: infestations can be found in houses to evidence such as scratching, droppings and high pitched squeaking noises.

Service Types: Interior, Exterior, Home Protection Plan (Baiting and Trapping Treatments)

DIY Products: Snap Traps, Glue boards, Live Traps

Field Mouse

Common Name: Field Mouse or Voles

Scientific Name: there are about 20 different species of field mice in the genus Apodemus.There are three major species of Voles under the genus Micotus.
strong>Colour: Chestnut to yellow-brown

Physical Characteristics or Attributes: They are very small short ears and a tail about one 3rd of the total body length. Adults weigh about 46 g.

Geographic Range: Occurs throughout Alaska, Canada, the United States and parts of Mexico.

Habitat: prefers fields and meadows containing grasses, shrubs and hedges. Different species may occupy deciduous and coniferous forests depending on population levels and abundance of other small animals.

Diet: They are herbivores and insectivores. The diet primarily consists of grasses, seeds and roots but they will occasionally eat insects and other invertebrates.

Social Structure: they live independently but for the breeding season wearing one male will roam several female territories. Occasionally this will lead to competition among males. During the nonbreeding season the home ranges overlap in certain situations may temporarily nests together.

Life Span and Chronological Development: they produce large litters because their life span is less than a year meaning that they can only produce one or 2 litters in their lifetime. The gestation period is 21 days, eyes are opened by 8 days, and they are weaned at between 12 and 14 days. They reach sexual maturity by 28 days for females and males reach sexual maturity by 35 days.

Interesting or Typical Behaviours: they utilise chemicals to communicate with each other about the Idenity, proximity, and sexual style is of their neighbours. They also use posturing and vocalisation as well as other signals including squealing, growling, and chattering of the teeth during confrontations.

Evidence of Infestation: evidence is often noticed on food goods such as gnaw marks. Also droppings are an indication of a rodent infestation.

Service Types: Interior, Exterior, Home Protection Plan (Baiting and Trapping Treatments)

DIY Products: Snap Traps, Glue boards

Roof Rat

Common Name: Black Rat

Scientific Name: Rattus rattus

Colour: Black to light brown

Physical Characteristics or Attributes: 12.75–18.25 in (32.4–46.4 cm) long, including a 6.5–10 in (17–25 cm) tail, and weighs 4–12 oz (110–340 g)

Geographic Range: They live worldwide, dispersed usually around human settlement.

Habitat: Due to the adaptability, rats can live indoors and outdoors in a variety of habitats.

Diet: omnivores. Rats eat a wide range of foods, including seeds, fruit, stems, leaves, fungi, and a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates.

Social Structure: They often meet and forage together in close proximity within and between sexes.

Evidence of Infestation: Droppings, rubbing marks, scratching and gnawing noises

Service Types: Interior and Exterior, Home Protection Plan

DIY Products: Rat T-Rex Snap Traps, Rat Bait Stations

Norway Rat

Common Name: Brown Rat or Sewer Rat

Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus

Colour: Brown and Gray

Physical Characteristics or Attributes: up to 25 cm (10 in) long, and a similar tail length; males weigh on average 350 g (12 oz) and females 250 g (9 oz).

Geographic Range: They have a wide geographic range living worldwide along site humans.

Habitat:

Diet: Omnivore. Rats will eat almost anything.

Social Structure: Brown rats live in large, hierarchical groups, in their nests which are often in cellars or sewers. Rats lower in social order are the first to die when food is in short supply and numbers must be reduced. However if a large part of the group is exterminated, the remaining rats will increase their reproductive rate, to restore the old population level.

Life Span and Chronological Development: The brown rat can breed anytime during the year with suitable conditions. A female rat can have up to 5 litters per year. The gestation period is 21 days, and contain litters of 5-14 rats. They reach sexual maturity at 5 weeks and can live as long as three years, but most barely manage one.

Interesting or Typical Behaviours: Through selective breeding of this species there are now domesticated brown rats for pets and laboratory uses. Brown rats have acute hearing, use  ultrasound signals to communicate to eachother, and have a highly developed sense of smell.

Evidence of Infestation: Droppings, rubbing marks, scratching and gnawing noises

Service Types: Interior and Exterior, Home Protection Plan

DIY Products: Rat T-Rex Snap Traps, Rat Bait Stations

 

 

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