Archive for August, 2009

Rats: Tips for Preventing Pack Rats

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Pack rats may be small in size, but they can get into even smaller spaces. A hole the size of a quarter can be an entry way for these rodents. It is important to check for any openings outside of your home. Not only should holes in the structure of a home be checked, but also screens that cover windows and doors, vent coverings, and door panels. Here are some more tips to prevent pack rats from getting into your home.

  • A great way to prevent pack rats in your plants it to put the planters on a rack so they are not resting on the ground.
  • A favorite of rats is dog or cat food, if there are food bowls left outside for your animal there is a high possibility rats will stop by, they might even use the pet food to help make their nests.
  • Trimming all trees is important. Make sure they are not touching power lines or anything else. Rats will use cables or power lines to get into the top of the tree. Also make sure no branches are too low as that will be a way to crawl up the tree.
  • With bushes it is best to keep them pruned regularly, and having the bottom not touch the floor is helpful.
  • With all shrubbery, bushes, and trees it is safest to have them free-standing.
  • All stacks of wood or clippings should be kept at a higher level and not on the ground.
  • If you have desert landscape, maintain your cacti. It might be best to have a professional gardener as cactus can be dangerous to work with.
  • Either for yourself or your gardener it is important to remove dead parts of a cactus, making sure the paddles are not turned over therefore providing shade for rats on the ground.
  • Keep any outside containers closed with a tight lid, including a trash can to a plastic storage container. This goes for both inside and outside of your home.
  • When trimming bigger plants, like oleanders or bougainvilleas, make sure they are thinned out enough where you can see the sunlight through them. The thicker they are, the more appealing they are to rats.
  • Rats will eat anything so make sure to clean up thoroughly after parties on your patio.
  • If your car is outside protect it by having a porch light on, an extra tip is to use yellow insect repellent lights to help keep the rats and other insects away.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees on a daily basis. If they can’t get in your tree that the next best thing to a free meal.
  • Pick up animal waste on a daily basis. Yes, as gross as it sounds that is another invitation for a rat to come feed.

Rats: Pack Rats Can Cause Serious Damage

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Pack rats can be a huge threat to a home, and cause a lot of damage. In any case, a pack rat invasion needs to be taken seriously due to the potential problems that can occur. One problem from pack rats is from the feces they leave within a home. The problem is even more damaging if it happens in a wall or an attic, because over time the feces will deteriorate the insulation.

Another problem that pack rats can cause is wire damage within the walls. Pack rats love to chew at wires to keep their teeth sharp. Not only could it cost a lot of money to repair the wires, it potentially could cause a fire.

Also pack rats will go into cars and chew on the wires. This can be a huge problem for a couple of reasons. First, obviously is the damage pack rats can do to wires. If the car is frequently used wire damage can be extremely dangerous. If the car is not used often the pack rats can still cause just as much damage. For one, if the car just sits there, a pack rat will frequently chew on the wires. Or worse yet, pack rats will start to build a nest within the engine of the car. If pack rats move into your car, it could potentially cost thousands of dollars to repair.

rats pack rats cause damage and problems

Here is a great example of what a car looks like once a pack rat has called it home. Do not let a pack rats nest over take your car!

If a pack rat does build a nest in your car it may be very challenging to completely remove or destroy. Having to take the nest out of the car could cause more problems to the car itself, and the nest needs to be broken down in the correct manner to ensure it is completely gone. As a homeowner it is imperative to make sure the pack rat nest is completely destroyed. If the nest is not destroyed completely or worse, just left there, it will just become another pack rats home later on. Other animals live in pack rats nests so even if you think you have killed all the pack rats, there is still a risk for other pests to come live in the nest. Other pests such as spiders, snakes, kissing bugs, and even small mice may move into a pack rat nest, even if a pack rat is living there. Also if the nest is just left on or in your home and never destroyed, at some point another pack rat will find it and take over. Therefore if a pack rat nest is not destroyed properly and in a timely manner the homeowner might end up back at square one with their pack rat problem.

Any and all of these potential problems pack rats can cause can have unfortunate outcomes. Whether its wire damage in a house that causes a fire, wire damages within a car engine that causes a crash, or wire damage within a car that causes an explosion, pack rats need to be handled by a professional exterminator as soon as you see any evidence of pack rats.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Mouse: The Common House Mouse, Where it Lives

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The common house mouse can live inside or outside your home, either way it is not good. No matter if they are indoors or outdoors the common house mouse likes to be in secluded places, corners and dark areas. When the common house mouse is inside a house it can be found in these areas:

  • Behind rafters.
  • Near food.
  • Inside of walls.
  • Within ceilings.
  • Behind things like refrigerators, furniture, cupboards, bathtubs and counters.
  • Near a boiler, if you have one.
  • In the basement or attics, because there is often stuff stored there.

Outside the common house mouse makes its home in:

  • Wood piles.
  • It can also burrow anywhere in the ground that is secluded.
  • Storage areas.
  • Near any food that is kept outside.
  • An outdoor refrigerator or freezer.
  • Near garbage.
  • Under bushes.
  • In thick grass or vines on walls.

A pantry is a perfect example of a common house mouse’s dream home. They can eat straight through the cardboard and plastic, and become a homeowner’s worse nightmare all at the same time. Keep an eye out where any food is stored, as it is one of the common house mouses favorite places. Also seeing any food or food storage destroyed might tell you there is a common house mouse in your house.

mouse common house mouse where it lives

This pantry is a dream for a common house mouse. There are so many boxes to chew on, and they all have a surprise inside.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Mouse: The Common House Mouse and the Diseases it Carries

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

There are some diseases that have been linked directly to rodents. A virus that the common house mouse carries is the hanta virus. This virus can be fatal, and is only transmittable through breathing in the air where rodent urine, feces, or dead bodies can be found. If a person is infected with the hanta virus they will not necessarily notice symptoms right away. Once the symptoms become noticeable they will be similar to the flu and last for up to five days, then a person will suffer from breathing difficulties. Oftena person is so ill at this time they are taken to a hospital for treatment, if not treated soon enough the outcome can be deadly, as the survival rate without proper treatment is low. This one virus from small little mice can cause a huge danger to any home.

It is a serious matter and as soon as you notice common house mice in your home a professional pest control agent should be called. Having your house treated by a professional exterminator will help prevent any diseases from spreading as soon as possible. If you cannot afford to call an exterminator there are at-home methods to get rid of mice, but that adds the risk of being exposed to the feces and diseases and the risk of not cleaning it up entirely or missing areas. In any case, the best choice is to have a professional pest control company handle the problem. If you detect the common house mouse within your home you can confirm it by the particular smell the common house mouse leaves behind. It is a musky smell from the common house mouse’s feces. Wearing a mask is a precaution if you do find droppings, and see a doctor to ensure your health has not been affected.

The hanta virus isn’t the only disease the common house mouse spreads. The common house mouse carries many other diseases as well, such as:

  • Murine typhus: it is treatable with antibiotics and the symptoms resemble those of the measles or rubella. Best to go see a doctor at the first sight of the marks on your skin that look like the measles or rubella.
  • Rickettsialpox: is not deadly and occurs when bitten by a mouse, the bite mark will swell and a rash will break out, other symptoms are similar to the flu. See your doctor once you realized you have been bitten.
  • Tularemia: occurs when bitten by a mouse, a physical symptom is that an ulcerated skin lesion will form. Other symptoms are chills, headache fatigue it is treatable with antibiotics. See you doctor once you realize you have been bitten by a mouse.
  • Bubonic plague: symptoms are red marks on the skin that turn black, heavy breathing, aching, and vomiting blood. As soon as any of these symptoms become apparent go to your doctor. Bubonic plague is a skin infection that can be treated with antibiotics, so it is imperative to get to a doctor right away.

Protect your home, your family and your pets by having a local exterminator eliminate the disease-infested rodent, the common house mouse.

Mouse: The Common House Mouse’s Nest

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

You can find a common house mouse nest in any of the areas where they like to live. Identifying the nest is easy; these mice use scraps of things or chew off pieces of objects to use as building material. Common household items can be found in the makings of the nest. Here is a list of some things you might notice missing or chewed on:

  • Rags
  • Paper
  • Pillows
  • Dry goods, like rice, seeds, or grains. Any food can be used.
  • Blankets
  • Cushions
  • Fabrics from furniture, towels or even clothing.
  • Insulation
  • Packing materials

All of these items can be found in the nest, they also use outdoor items. Twigs, pine needles, grass, and leaves can also be used to form the nest. It will depend on what the common house mouse has access to.

mouse common house mouse nest

Here is a nest made in the laundry room of a home, between some dog food storage boxes.

If you find a common house mouse nest within your home call your local pest control company to come out and remove the nest. One problem the nest can cause is the spread of the diseases the common house mouse carries. If the mouse has been living there, there will be fecal matter which needs to also be removed by a professional. Also by removing the nest, it will lower the homeowner’s chance of having the common house mouse moving back in.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Mouse: The Common House Mouse Can Cause Serious Problems

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

These rodents can cause a lot of damage to a home. The common house mouse constantly needs to keep its teeth sharp. In order to do so they are constantly gnawing on objects. The bad part is that the objects can be structural beams or wires. They can even chew all the way through wood, plastic and clothing. If the common house mouse can chew through wood they can cause an actual break in a beam, part of the roof/ceiling, a furniture leg, table legs or anything else made of wood in your house. The common house mouse also will gnaw on other objects they can’t chew all the way through, like pipes or any other metal or steel objects. These damages can be dangerous most especially when it is a structural piece. The common house mouse also gnaws on plastic and clothing items. While this might not seem as dangerous as gnawing on the beams that support your home, it actually is. When the common house mouse is in physical contact with clothing or any other item there is a chance it will spread any of the diseases it carries. When a human physically touches the item there is a risk of a disease being transmitted. This risk can be higher if the common house mouse had urinated on any of the items, as the common house mouse’s urine carries diseases as well.

Not only do the common house mice gnaw and chew on objects they will also burrow into things. They will make holes in anything such as a wall, furniture, and cupboards. Depending on where they burrow this can also cause a structural collapse of the home.

One more thing these rodents can damage is wires. Between the chewing and the gnawing, wires are a great treat for the common house mouse. The unfortunate outcome of the common house mouse chewing on wires is that it can cause electrical problems later down the road or even worse cause an electrical fire. This is just another one of the numerous reasons why homeowners should have professional pest control specialist out to their home.

Another thing that a common house mouse can contaminate is the insulation within the home. This is another dangerous impact of the common house mouse because if they are living in the walls and on the insulation they are also using it as a restroom. Common house mouse feces and urine can deteriorate the insulation. Also that is how most of the diseases the common house mouse carries get transmitted to humans. See the list of diseases the common house mouse carries on our blog.

An additional thing they can contaminate with their diseases is food. This can happen in a few different ways. The most popular is inside the home. The common house mouse will find a way to your pantry and cupboards and take what they can; and, while they are roaming around crawling on everything they are leaving traces of diseases. Also, if any fruit or anything non-perishable is left out in bowls on the counters or a table the common house mouse can crawl all over the fruit leaving waste; and if the fruit is not cleaned before consumption it can be a problem later on. The other way the common house mouse can contaminate food is outside. If you grow vegetables, fruit or have citrus trees those items are just another food supply for the common house mouse to contaminate. The worst is if you are an actual farmer and have food for other animals like hay, grains, or oats as those items are some of the common house mouse’s favorite foods. Even more frustrating to farmers is if the crops are contaminated they can no longer be sold, and you lose out on your paycheck.

Mouse, Not Just Any Mouse… The Common House Mouse

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The common house mouse can become a pesky unwanted house guest very easily. Like many other rodents, these mice can enter a home through an opening the size of a nickel. Once they are in your home they will make themselves really comfortable, eating your food, sleeping in your walls, and tormenting you at night. Although the common house mouse looks harmless, it packs a serious punch of diseases, ruins furniture, damages the inner home, and drives homeowners nuts.

These mice are nocturnal so at night they run around and collect things from your house for their food and shelter. This also makes it harder to catch them in the day, but if you were to see a common house mouse they are smaller than rats and just as nasty. The 5-8 inch rodent also has large ears, a hairless tail, fur that is brown to gray in color, and the underbelly is usually light.

mouse common house mouse.

Here is a close up of a common house mouse, this one seems to have just eaten some oats out of the pantry.

Other than the common house mouse’s physical appearance there are some more interesting things about the rodent. The common house mouse can only see up to 6 inches in front of him, they also are color blind, can run up to 8 miles per hour, can jump up to 12 inches high, can jump down from 8 feet high, they can flatten their bodies in order to get through a small space, swim, they usually make their home anywhere humans are, and a weird thing is they usually stay within 50 feet of their home. These mice often are with child, so staying close to home would make sense.

Common house mice can have over 100 babies in a year. They reproduce anywhere from 5 to 14 times a year. Each time they have babies the number can range from 3-12 babies. If these rodents were in your house for two months alone they could have repopulated. This would be a great reason to have a professional exterminator come to your home and take care of the problem.

Not only can the common house mouse leave babies for you, they also leave feces. A rodent’s feces can be a huge problem, and should be dealt with by a professional pest control specialist. Not only is it gross, but diseases can be traced back to rodent feces. This should be taken very serious because the diseases they carry can cause real health problems. See our blog about the diseases the common house mouse carries.

Other problems can occur from common house mice being inside a home. The common house mouse can cause damage to the structure of the home and much more. Like rats, the common house mouse gnaws on objects which can be a huge threat to the home. The common house mouse can cause a lot of damage for such a small rodent; check out our blog post with all the problems that can occur from the common house mouse being inside a home.

Once inside a home there are a couple things a common house mouse will do. One thing is that it will find a place to live. Many times the place the common house mouse chooses to live is close to a food supply of some kind, or at least a short trip to food. See the many areas of a home the common house mouse likes to live on our blog.

Once a common house mouse finds its spot to live, it then needs to make a nest. The common house mouse does this by collecting things around your home. Due to the common house mouse being nocturnal they scrounge around at night looking for things, many times this is when a homeowner will hear mice running around at night. There are a variety of things a common house mouse can use within a home to build a nest. Check out our blog about the common house mouse nests.

The most common way to prevent rodents from getting into the home is to have a routine check by a professional exterminator; unfortunately not everyone can afford to do this. The alternatives are do-it-yourself remedies. There are a number of things any homeowner can do to help prevent rodents from entering their home. There are also things to do to keep them from lurking near your home; sometimes being on the property is just as bad. Since these mice like to live near humans it is very important to thoroughly check your house and property to keep the common house mouse out.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Ticks – Removing a Tick from a Bite

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Tick bites need to be taken very seriously. There are simple steps to removing a tick from a bite. Although many times people have received a bite from a tick and are unaware they have been bitten, so there is no process of removing the tick. Anytime someone knows they have been bit by a tick they should act on the cautious side, as ticks are the carriers of many diseases. If you are unaware that you were bit and develop flu-like symptoms and are unsure why, it is best to go to a doctor, just in case. Even if you know that you were bit by a tick flu-like symptoms are still a side effect, it is only later that they may develop into something worse.

If you are bit by a tick and remove it you should keep the tick, just in case a week or so later you become ill. Keeping the tick will help your doctor figure out what could be wrong. Removing a tick is simple, but tricky as its mouth parts are embedded in the skin. Here is how to remove a tick:

  • Put gloves on.
  • Get tweezers to assist in the removal, do no use your fingers because you might squeeze the tick.
  • Put the tweezers as close as you can to the ticks head.
  • Forcefully pull straight forward, yanking the tick away from the skin.
  • Do not twist and or turn the tick when pulling.
  • Sometimes the mouth parts may stay embedded in the skin, if so take your tweezers and remove them. If they seem too deep it is best to go to a doctor to have them removed.
  • Once the tick is removed put it in a container with some alcohol, to kill it. Keep the tick in the container in case you become ill later.
  • Some people will just flush the tick down the toilet; it’s up to the individual.
  • Clean the bite mark thoroughly.
  • Put an antibiotic cream on the mark to help prevent an infection, although it will not help prevent any diseases the tick might have spread.
  • Make sure all items used during the removal process have either been thrown out or cleaned thoroughly.

Ticks also bite pets, like dogs and cats, if you are to find a tick on your pet these same steps can be used in removing the tick. Whether it’s a bite on a person or a pet, make sure to keep an eye on the bite mark for up to two weeks. During this time a disease may have been transmitted. For people it is also important to pay close attention to the symptoms they might develop.

Ticks – Tips to Help Prevent

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Ticks can be hard to prevent. There are many opportunities for a tick to latch onto a person; therefore, it is hard for people to prepare for tick attacks. Many times ticks get inside a home by latching on to a person or animal while they are outside. Once inside the home ticks will hide in crevices, in corners and in places that are elevated. To help keep them away, thoroughly vacuum your home even taking the vacuum extension to the walls and ceiling lines. Also keeping any pet beds or play things clean, and always check them for ticks. Overall if a tick does get inside it can not survive indoors, so it will not stay for too long. Therefore preventing ticks outdoors can be more crucial for a home owner.

Household pets, like dogs and cats, are often carriers of ticks. Ticks are usually attracted to dogs more than cats. It is crucial to check your pets thoroughly for ticks on a regular basis. Pets can also be taken to their veterinarian for medicine to help prevent ticks. Tick collars are also a popular choice to keep ticks off of dogs. Pets that are often outside are more likely to become victims to ticks, especially if they have a resting area that is outside. It is also important to check for ticks in the areas your pet might frequent; for instance near their water and food supply, a dog house, and or a play area.

Often time’s ticks attach to a dog while it is in the grass. Keeping your back yard kept up is also important in tick prevention. Having the lawn kept short, the shrubs trimmed, and bushes maintained are things that can be done with in the back or front yard of a house to help prevent ticks. A homeowner can even set up their landscaping in a particular manner to prevent ticks. Do this by keeping the greenery in one section, then putting a buffer, like gravel, between the other areas. Also if you have a play area or a patio area, then keep the greenery further away as ticks are more likely to be on the vegetation. Another tip for landscaping, if your home is near the woods, put a buffer of gravel or wood chips between your yard and the woods. There are also do-it-yourself prevention pest control sprays and dusts that can be used. Although it might be best to have your local pest control company come out to ensure it is done correctly, especially if you have pets. Any time you are outside doing yard work or just hanging out wear tick repellent that contains DEET in it. The best kinds have over 20% of DEET in them. If you do not like chemicals you can always just protect your skin with long sleeves and pants.

The repellent, long sleeves and pants are also good methods to use when out in the wilderness. While camping or hiking you always want to protect yourself, also wear light colored clothing so you can see ticks more easily. Some people even tuck their pants into their socks to be extra careful that ticks can not get to them. While in the wilderness stay away from touching trees and vegetation, and be careful around moist areas and water as all of these are popular places for ticks to attach onto people. No matter what always check your body for any ticks.

Ticks: The Diseases They Carry

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Ticks are the carriers of many diseases. Some of the diseases they carry can be cured with medicine while some can be fatal. Therefore people need to be aware of what can happen when bitten by a tick. Many times, people may not even realize they have been bitten by a tick until they start to develop symptoms that resemble certain diseases. Go to the hospital or to your doctor if you have any symptoms of the diseases ticks carry.

It may be hard to determine if the symptoms you feel are those of a disease a tick may carry. Many times the symptoms of diseases ticks carry are similar to those of the flu. The best way to figure out if it is the flu or a reaction from a tick bite is to go to a doctor. Also, consider the environment where you live and any place you have been recently; are these places prone to ticks? Do you own pets? These questions may help determine if you’ve been in contact with a tick since ticks are found in many places such homes, dogs, trees, grass, etc. Read more on the specifics of the tick, and where you can find the nasty buggers.

There are many varieties of ticks, but in the U.S. some of the most common are the deer tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. All of these ticks are carriers of diseases. These diseases include:

  • Lyme disease is carried by the deer tick and lone star tick. Bite symptoms include a circular-shaped rash, headache, fever, and fatigue. More serious issues such as heart problems may occur if left untreated. See your doctor immediately if you notice a circular rash.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is carried by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. The symptoms for RMSF may not appear right away and include headache, muscle pain, fever, nausea, and lack of appetite. Once infected, you’ll feel stomach pain, joint pain, and, in some cases, a rash. It is best to go see your doctor, as RMSF often requires hospitalization.
  • Tularemia is carried by the American dog tick, lone star tick and Rocky Mountain wood tick. Symptoms can take 3-5 days to develop. They include inflammation of the face and eyes, mouth sores, sore throat, pain and/or swelling in the lymph glands and possible skin ulcers. It is best to go to your doctor right away if you recognize any of these symptoms. Tularemia can become deadly if it is not properly treated.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis is carried by the lone star tick. Symptoms will begin to appear within 1-2 weeks. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, headache and malaise. Additional symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, problems with your senses and problems with your speech. This disease is rarely fatal, but should be taken very seriously. See your doctor right away.
  • Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI) is carried by the lone star tick. STARI symptoms often resemble symptoms similar to Lyme disease. The main symptom they share is the circular shaped rash, which can take up to a week before it becomes visible. The STARI rash looks more like a bulls-eye with the bite-mark in the center. Other symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle pains. Go to your doctor for antibiotics to get rid of the rash.