Rodent Damage & Diseases
Rodents in general are very adaptable. They can easily alongside humans to take advantage of convenient food and water sources in addition to the structures to offer more protection from predators and the elements. Rodents are known to cost homeowners and business owners a hefty sum in damages as they chew through insulation, utility lines, the structure, and personal possessions such as furniture, books, linens, and so on. Rodents can create conditions that lead to allergies and spread diseases including Hantavirus, Lyme disease and food borne diseases. Rodents will also contaminate food and food preparation surfaces from fecal and urine deposits. These pests are difficult to control, even with the traps, baits, and other pest control products available to the public, and are effectively managed with professional services. Today, we at Eagle Pest Services would like to share the brief fundamentals of the rodents in Virginia.
Common Types of Rodents
Norway Rats: Known as the “big rats” these rats average 16 inches from the end of their tail to the tip of their nose, and weight over 17 ounces (just over a pound). The tail is shorter than the length of their bodies. Their generally shaggy fur is brown or gray and instead of fur, their ears and tail are covered in scales. These rodents have capsule-shaped droppings that can help identify their presence. When compared to other urban rodents, these rats are bulky though they take advantage of indoor living, they do prefer to live outdoors and nest in underground burrow. They will also nest in sewers, basements or the ground level of homes and businesses. They tend to burrow in thick vegetation to offer more concealment and when they the vegetation is dense around the home, the increase risk if them coming inside is high.
Norway rats are omnivorous and will eat anything from eating garbage to eating what other edibles they can find including grains, meats, seeds, cockroaches, fruit, and other food wastes. Though they are not social pests, Norway rats do live in communities with dominant and subordinate members.
Roof Rats:Roof rats measure in about 15 inches from the tip of their nose to the end of their tails. They feature a longer tail, larger ears and eyes and a pointed nose. They are smaller and sleeker than Norway rats and their black or brown fur is smooth. Roof rats are also referenced as black rats, ship rats, or house rats. These rodents prefer outdoor freedoms and as accomplished climbers they stick to high places such as in trees with dense leaves and branches for protection. In homes they live above the ceiling, in attic space, and in the wall voids. Roof rats are especially known to gnaw through wires and pipes when they infest homes. When they come into homes, it is generally because the food or water is scarce or to escape extreme weather conditions. Though these rats are omnivorous and will eat nearly anything, they prefer eating fruit and nuts.
Common House Mouse: The house mouse white or light-colored bellies and the short hair varies from light brown, gray, and black. The ears and tail have hair, but it is sparser. These mice from the tip of their tail to the end of the nose average about 7 inches long and weight about an ounce. Their droppings are rod-shaped and pointed on both ends. House mice are commonly invading homes and business throughout Virginia. They adapt well to new environments and their nesting habits cause minor damage. They only require ¼” crack or hole to gain entry to structures. These rodents prefer living indoors where food and water are readily available, and they have shelter from the elements and predators. They will often hide in the wall voids but will nest in clutter, unsanitary places, and other such areas.
White Footed Mouse: The white-footed mouse is generally found in the rural and sub-rural areas of Virginia. They prefer habitats such as forests and brush lands, but more specifically, the forests edge where vegetation is low and scrubby. They nest in area of grass, weeds, or other low growing vegetation and inside, these mice will also construct nests in the walls at ground level of buildings. These mice are known carriers of Lyme disease as they live close to the ticks that pass it along. Their diet typically consists of insects, nuts, seeds, and berries.