In the classic movie, “The Princess Bride,” Wesley and Buttercup stroll through the Fire Swamp after narrowly escaping the Lightning Sand, discussing the terrors of their location. Suddenly, Buttercup stops in her tracks and asks, “But Wesley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?”
“Rodents of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.”
Anyone who has seen the movie knows that what happens next involves a life-sized rat and a battle to the death.
While it may seem like we contend with sizable, large rodents in New Jersey, they don’t approach the size of a grown adult. That doesn’t mean you have to have a rodent of any size in your home, office or commercial building.
Rodent Identification and Extermination Services
The first step in any rodent extermination is to contact a professional. As tempting as it may be to say, “Oh, it’s just a little mouse,” exposing yourself to any rodent means exposing yourself to microscopic parasites, potentially harmful diseases and the possibility of a growing rodent infestation in your home. The professional exterminators at Pride Pest Service will not only identify the rodent you are dealing with; they will also trap it, remove it and limit all access points for other rodents in the future.
An Ounce of Prevention…
The best place to end a rodent infestation is the exterior of your home or office building. Sealing, caulking or otherwise blocking entry and exits into the walls of your building makes it impossible for rodents to take up residence inside. Certain landscaping around your home or building can also allow rodents to nest away from the elements. Removing these bushes or trees means disrupting a rodent’s habitat and forcing it to find shelter somewhere else. Finally, practicing basic sanitation can limit your rodent risk. Remove garbage immediately from your home or office building. Clean up food particles left behind from eating or cooking and keep food in glass or plastic air-tight containers instead of the cardboard boxes they came in.
A Three-Fold Approach to Extermination
The professionals at Pride Pest Service engage in a three-fold approach to exterminating any rodent population. It involves trapping the rodents you see, monitoring your home or office for the rodents you do not and excluding any new rodents from entering your building. As tempting as it may be to set a few traps and hope for this best, this three-step system is the only way to make sure your entire premises is rodent free for months and years to come.
The first order of business is to trap the rodents that likely caused your call to Pride Pest Service in the first place. We only use environmentally responsible, non-toxic trapping processes that are safe to use around children and pets. We strategically place baited snap and glue traps in the rodent’s pathways to maximize their effectiveness and minimize the time they are running free in your home. Your Pride Pest Service exterminator will then monitor these traps for your, remove any carcasses we may find and reset or re-bait the traps as needed.
It would be nice if trapping rodents inside your residential or commercial building were the only step to getting rid of your mice, rat or vole problem. But to truly ward off an infestation, you must monitor rodent activity outside of your home or office. Before beginning their trapping procedures, Pride Pest Service’s experts will walk the perimeter of your home, looking for access points and evidence of rodent pathways. Our exterminators will set traps with rodenticide outside in the hopes that these rodents will take the bait and carry it back to their nests. These tamper-proof bait stations will then be inspected periodically and re-baited if need be.
Of course, sealing off your home is the best way to keep rodents from coming and going as they please. Rodents are capable of entering at any point that is 1/4 of an inch in diameter or larger. That is why our extermination experts walk the perimeter of your home or office looking for any points at which rodents could be accessing the interior. We then use caulking or wire mesh screens to block off these access points as a part of our extermination services. Larger access points, landscaping issues or structural problems will need to be addressed by qualified professionals. We will make those recommendations if necessary.
Rats and Mice and Voles, Oh My!
When we talk about rodent extermination, we’re not just talking about mice. Rats and voles are a part of the New Jersey landscape as well. While at first glance these rodents appear to the same type of creature, some distinct characteristics set them apart. Among the list of commonly found New Jersey mice, these are the most popular.
Norway Rats (Brown Rats)
As much as we don’t like to think about it, rats (not mice) are the most common rodents in the US. Norway rats, in particular, are adept at living in large colonies very near humans. Also known as “brown rats,” “sewer rats,” or “barn rats,” Norway rats have a gray or brown body with a white underbelly. They also typically have coarse fur with a blunt nose and small ears. Typically weighing up to 11 ounces with seven- to ten-inch bodies, Norway rats have scaly tails that are often shorter than their long bodies.
It is possible for Norway rats to build long, winding underground tunnels underground to move from one food source to another. They typically eat meat and grain making them frequent companions to farm animals in grain silos and other storage areas where animal food is kept. These rodents also carry fleas, parasites, and disease that are harmful to humans and pets making them a public health problem.
Roof rats are the species of rodent that was responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague (which you can still catch today). Also known as “ship rats,” roof rats are typically found in tropical areas but have often been unknowingly transported to New Jersey on ships. Today they can be found in port cities with their black fur, lighter underbelly and large eyes and ears.
Typically, roof rats are six to eight inches long and weigh in at around 10 to 12 ounces. Their tails are usually more than double their body’s length and are used to balance on small branches, ropes, chains and other structural supports on tall buildings or ships. A roof rat is an omnivore but tends to be attracted to fruit, vegetables, and grains. They pose a serious threat to any food store, especially those found outside.
Voles are often considered a nuisance rather than a danger to people, weighing just one to two ounces and measuring two to three inches long. These small brown rodents typically have a gray belly and a rounder head than mice. Voles are particularly skilled at digging and love to tunnel underground to feed on bulbs and tubers living there. While they typically do not enter homes or buildings, voles can kill young trees, feast on gardens, destroy grass and plants, and make a nuisance of themselves outdoors.
The adult white-footed mouse can be as long as 3.5 inches, not counting the tail. These mice are typically timid around humans and are usually not discovered until they build their nest or begin eating the food from your cupboards. As omnivores, they are particularly attracted to nuts and insects. They can also carry a variety of viruses that can be harmful to humans.
A deer mouse is typically larger than other mice you might encounter in a home or other building. They are known by their two-toned coloring, usually with a darker brown body and a white underbelly. Deer mice first gained public attention when it was discovered that they were the primary carriers of hantavirus, a disease that is harmless in rodents but potentially fatal to humans. That is why it is vital that humans do not come into contact with mice feces, urine or saliva. Call a qualified professional to remove the mice from your home and teach you how to dispose of any droppings properly.
What we call a “House Mouse” is a wild animal that lives in conjunction with humans. These small mice usually have a naked tail and a pointy nose. They are also the mice most commonly used in medical and biological laboratories. Their bodies are usually 3-4 inches long with a tail that is 2-4 inches long. These mice may sometimes be kept as pets but are typically nocturnal and avoid bright lights. When they infest a home, they will typically live in walls, ceilings or other dark areas where they build their nests and come out at night to feed. Gestation for the house mouse is typically 19-21 days, and females can give birth to between 3 and 14 babies at a time.
Regardless of the type of mouse that has taken up residence in your home, office or commercial building, it is important to act fast to make sure the rodent does no reproduce. The next time you see these smaller cousins of the R.O.U.S., give Pride Pest Service a call to have them quickly and humanely removed from your home and away from your family, co-workers or loved ones.