Some people think they are cute, we do not.
Rats and mice are dirty, they don't wash their hands before eating your food.
They are scavengers and will eat almost anything.
Rats and mice only need a 12.5mm and 6mm hole respectively to gain access into your house
They can cause significant damage to your property, including
risk of fire if they chew through electrical cabling.
staining of walls and ceilings due to urine.
unwanted smells due to nesting or frequent activity.
You are concerned for your children or pets coming into contact with them.
Or they simply freak you (or your partner) out whenever you see them.
They can be evicted! Call Defender Pest Control Specialists Now for a free quote and we will DEFEND you!
Rodents (from the Latin "rodere" meaning "to gnaw") are likely to send most people running in the opposite direction at the mere sight of them. And with just cause!
Rodents are serious pests that affect many urban communities, homes and farms throughout Australia. Not only do they spoil food by eating or contaminating it, rodents are also responsible for causing physical damage and spreading one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in human history: the Black Death (or bubonic plague as it is also known), which claimed the lives of 25 million people in 14th century Europe.
After humans, these animals are some of the most successful mammals on the planet. They are exceptionally well adapted to living in close proximity to humans, having learned to exploit human resources for their survival. Humans provide the key ingredients to their existence: food, water and shelter. Wherever humans are, rodents are, and the availability of these basic resources influences their number and distribution.
Australia has around 60 species of native rodents, eight of which are native rats (Rattus) that evolved from ancestors introduced to the country around 1 million years ago. The common roof rat or black rat (Rattus rattus) was likely imported into Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet, where it literally jumped ship. The roof rat is now one of the most widely distributed animals globally (after humans and house mice), with the species living on every continent in the world, Antarctica excepting.
Along with the roof rat, the two other introduced pest rodents in urban Australian environments are:
The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus); and
The house mouse (Mus musculus)
The Roof (Black) Rat
Of slight build and with large prominent ears, a tail longer than its body length and a pointed snout, the roof rat is an excellent climber and commonly encountered in urban settings. Its superb climbing skills enable it to tightrope walk, travelling between buildings via connected cabling. Internally, roof rats are likely to nest in the insulation founds in roof voids and wall cavities, and range throughout a building to feed. Externally, roof rats will nest in trees and vines.
The Norway Rat
The Norway rat is the larger of the two pest rats with a thickset body, small close-set ears, a tail shorter than its body length and a blunt snout. The Norway rat is possibly the most economically damaging pest rodent, infesting warehouses, factories, shops, supermarkets, sewers and rubbish dumps amongst many other locations that offer food and shelter. Unlike the roof rat, the Norway rat is a burrower, living in burrows near their food and water supply and in areas that provide safe refuge. Their burrows often have ‘bolt holes’ to facilitate speedy exits. The Norway rat is likely to reside in the roof and wall voids of buildings in the colder winter months, however they are also known to live internally all year round.
The House Mouse
The house mouse is the smallest of the pest rodents, with large ears, a tail equal to its body length, and a pointed snout. The House Mouse is generally found in urban areas, being closely associated with humans, however that is not to suggest they can’t be found in rural areas. In rural areas, mice have been known to multiple to plague proportions during occasions of mild weather, abundant food and shelter, and reduced natural enemies. These mice then migrate causing significant damage and losses both on farms and inside buildings. Mice typically prefer to nest in secluded and confined locations, where it is warm, dry and dark, and in shallow burrow systems outside of buildings.
Rats and mice are social animals, living in nests constructed out of whatever soft materials they can find. Whilst each rodent has nesting behaviours typical to their species, both rats and mice may live and nest within a building for an indefinite period, provided they have safe access to food, water and shelter. Often, however, they will enter a building only seasonally, such as during the colder winter months, where an internal environment is likely to provide more comfortable nesting and breeding conditions, and where access to food and water is likely to be more abundant.
Both rats and mice are typically considered to be omnivorous scavengers in their feeding habits, eating a variety of food items (grains, meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, etc.). Their need for water varies: the roof rat is capable of reducing their water intake if their food has a high moisture content; the house mouse is highly adaptable and can live on the moisture found in a grain without the need for any supplementary water; whereas the Norway rat requires regular access to water. Rats will hoard enough food to last them a number of weeks, and both rats and mice will hoard food in what they consider to be safe dining places. Mice will nibble and feed at several different safe dining locations.
Rodents are nocturnal animals, typically feeding at night when their natural predators are otherwise inactive. Daytime sightings and activity are often indicative of a large infestation.
Rats are very much creatures of habit, using the same routes to travel to and from food sources. They are often referred to as being “neophobic”, as they have a tendency to dislike anything new. Mice, by comparison, although seemingly cautious, are very curious and adventurous. Both rats and mice are competent climbers (the roof rat more so than the Norway rat), and the Norway rat is an accomplished swimmer, capable of negotiating S-bends in toilets and swimming in a 48km/h current without drowning!
Rats and mice often groom themselves when at rest, licking their fur and feet. Rats typically groom once or twice a day, whereas mice will groom themselves much more frequently. Both rodents also have a need to constantly gnaw. This gnawing habit is necessary to control the size of their characteristic front incisor teeth. It is also this gnawing habit that causes serious damage to doors, skirting boards, water pipes, electrical cabling, upholstery, books, food containers & packaging, equipment and machinery. Gnawing has brought down telephone systems and short-circuited electrical panels, in the most extreme cases, causing fires.
Signs of Rodent Activity
The first clue of a rodent infestation is finding their droppings. Droppings may be found anywhere, however they are most commonly found in kitchen cupboards, drawers and pantries (where there is food!). Other key signs of a rodent infestation includes:
Sounds: bumping, squeaking, gnawing sounds, typically during the evening and at night
Damage to food packaging & disappearance of food: as a result of gnawing to get to the food and then the food having been taken away to their safe harbourage for consumption
Odours: rodent urine has a distinct, musty smell in poorly ventilated areas. Long-term rodent infestations also create a distinct odour.
Gnawing: gnaw marks on furniture, doorways, cables, soap and food containers, amongst many other materials, is indicative of rodent activity, as gnawing is required to keep their incisor teeth down.
Tracks: footprints and tail marks on dust covered surfaces, such as in roof voids and under houses.
Runways & grease marks: markings caused by continual contact of rodent fur along runways such as walls or entry points.
Burrows: can be found along walls or fences, under buildings and decking, stored items and vegetation, for example.
Sightings: you may see them scurrying under furniture or along a wall.
Rodents & Disease Transmission
It is not surprising that many countries have introduced legislation aimed at managing and reducing rodent infestations. Rats and mice pose a serious threat to human health. Of the many diseases transmitted to humans from rodents, the most sinister and extensive is the distribution of food-poisoning organisms caused by the contamination of food, food packaging and food preparation areas with urine, faeces and hairs.
Think you have rodents?
At Defender Pest Control Specialists, our rodent treatment consists of a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the infestation and to ensure the noises you are hearing are not Possums, a native protected animal. This includes an inspection of the ceiling cavity, subfloor (if applicable), internally and around the perimeter of the premise.
Our Technician will use a range of treatment methods to target the infestation:
Recommendations to better proof the premise from rodent access. If you are currently experiencing a rodent issue DO NOT proof the household for at least 3 weeks post treatment - you do not want to trap a rodent in the house, ceiling or subfloor as they can cause ongoing damage or discomfort to the occupants.
Initiate a rodent baiting program utilising a range of single feed products. Multiple types of baits are utilised in each baiting program to ensure there is no bait avoidance. Baits vary from soft to hard, with differing active ingredients and bases, which appeals to different rodent tastes and makes the overall treatment more palatable - we want the rats and mice to consume the baits and we offer a buffet of single feed baits to gain control.
Alternatively, where appropriate, a liquid bait or rodenticide dust can also be used.
Baits are contained within bait boxes suitable for use around children and pets. These units and their placement ensures only targeted pests have access to the baits.
Large infestations may require a follow up treatment. These are typically conducted 1-2 weeks after the initial treatment to check bait consumption.
Call us straight away if you suspect that you have a rodent infestation in your home or property! Rodents are difficult for any one homeowner to control effectively, but they can be overcome if you know their attractions, capabilities and weaknesses.
Rodent Prevention Tips
There are many actions homeowners can take to prevent a rodent infestation in their home. The most effective include:
Proofing the home by installing door seals on the bottom of exterior doors and garages, sealing external cracks and holes, especially where utilities and pipes enter into the property.
Removal of vegetation, wood piles, and stored goods from around the perimeter of the household. Rodents do not like being out in the open, long grass and stored goods provide great cover for them to move around freely.
Reducing any bridging opportunities from the ground to above the roof line, e.g. trees which overhang the roof.
Storing food in airtight containers and disposing of garbage regularly. These measures are also effective in reducing and preventing ant and cockroach infestations, and should be undertaken as a matter of good domestic hygiene.