Rodent News Ɩ Cure All Pest Control Ɩ Brisbane

Does your pest controller know as much about rodents as we do?
September 30, 2014 Cure All Pest Control

Does your pest controller know as much about rodents as we do?

Rodent Mythconceptions

rodent myths1)  Rats must gnaw on wood or other hard surfaces or their teeth will continue to grow.

Rodents maintain the sharpness of their continually growing incisor teeth by grinding their lower teeth against the uppers.  Grinding teeth on objects is an addition to tooth grinding and also occur to enlarge holes for nesting.

2)  Rodents do not have bones and/or have a collapsible skeleton to allow them access through small holes.

If a rodent can push its head through a hole, the rest of their body is flexible enough for their body to pass through.  Rats and mice have vertebrates, but are muscularly flexible as an adaptation that enables them to squeeze into and through tight places. A mouse can fit through a gap under a door just 6mm wide or through a hole 16mm diameter (roughly the size of your little finger).  A rat can squeeze through a gap just 12mm wide and a hole about the size of your thumb.

3) Rodents dying from anticoagulant poisoning go outside looking for water.

Initially there is no effect on rats from ingesting anticoagulant rodenticides.  It is only when the naturally circulating ‘clotting agent’ is depleted because the precursor produced in the liver is no longer being produced that there is any effect on the rodent.  The rodent becomes lethargic.  They will try to find somewhere safe to hide from predators and avoid fights with other rodents. They most commonly die near their nest.

4)  Rodents dry up without smelling after eating rodenticide

The rodenticides do not cause rodents to dry up or ‘mummify’.  Odour from dying rodents is more likely the larger the rodent. There are several very effective products to remove the odour (rather than simply masking it).

5) Cheese is a favourite food of mice.

Mice do not eat processed food in the wild.  Their typical diet is based on seeds and fruit.  However ideal baits include peanut butter, chocolate and meat (especially bacon).  Moist foods are ideal in dry climates because mice get most of their water food.  Note: Catchmaster glueboards come in peanut butter and chocolate aromas as well as unscented

6)  Super rats can grow as large as cats in city areas.

Norway rats in cities are often smaller than those living around farms. The heaviest rat captured in London sewers was 410g but the maximum weight of a Norway rat recorded in literature was 850g.

7)  Sewer rats are blind and mutated.

Rats naturally have poor eyesight and have developed their other senses to counter this.

8)  Rats have become resistant to most rodenticides.

It is true that many rats and mice, especially in Europe, are now resistant to the first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. In fact, some were not particularly susceptible to the earlier anticoagulants from the start.  So far most rodents are still quite vulnerable to the second-generation anticoagulants.

9) Mice require water to survive

Water is not essential for mice to survive.  They are able to obtain their water needs from most of the foods they consume.  They are often found in cereals in the holds of ships as they reach their destination.

10) There is only one rodent – catch it and solve the problem.

Most likely there is more than one rodent around – a single female may produce 60 offspring annually.  They can reproduce all year round in stable environments where there is adequate food, water and shelter.  Catching one is unlikely to solve the problem.

11)  The customer has a dog or cat so they will not have a rodent problem.

Cats and dogs may chase and kill some mice and rats but they cannot control rodent infestations.  Rodents can avoid pets by travelling in areas where cats and dogs can’t catch them.  Pets are often too well fed to prey on rats.  And the pet food will generally attract more rodents than pets will scare away.

12) Mice travel all around a house in search of food.

Mice only explore a limited home range of about 10 metres from the nest.

13) Place peanut butter on glueboards to increase their attractiveness.

The peanut butter weakens the stickiness of the glue – use pre-scented glue boards to attract rodents to an area and unscented glue boards where rodents are running.

14)  Rodents do not have bladders and continually urinate.

They do have bladders.  They continually urinate marking their territory as a form of communication

15)  Baits are ineffective in cold storages.

HALF-TRUE.  Rodents rely on their sense of smell to find food.  The aroma of the bait is limited in cold storages, especially with so many other food aromas present.  Attract rodents to an area to trap or bait by supplying the most limiting resource – nesting material (eg shredded paper or cotton wool) near the traps and/or bait.

16)  The most important damage caused by rodents is from chewing.

Rodents can cause thousands of dollars of damage by chewing – eg from delaying loading of a ship by chewing through electrical wires in a substation at the top of a gantry loading grain (Brisbane port) to flooding a house (twice) from chewing plastic water pipes in a house at Kellyville (NSW).  However the greater concern is from parasites (eg fleas from rodents transmitted plague) and contamination and diseases of people and food with their urine, droppings, fur and dead bodies.  Some attribute the Kraft peanut butter recall of 1996 due to salmonella in peanut butter to rodents – one death and 640 people poisoned and the cost to Kraft was $55 million.

17)  Seeing rodents during the day indicates a large population.

Rats and mice are more active when there is less danger, which happens most commonly at night.  But they will run to secure food (as happened in Garrards Melbourne office when bait was placed on the floor) or avoid confrontation. Also they are more likely to be active in movie theatres during the day when less people are present.

18)  Rats travel in packs.

Although they live in social groups where they establish a hierarchy, they move about as individuals with no evidence of any co-operative behaviour.  They may be seen to quickly follow another along a defined route but do not travel in packs and tend to stay in a relatively small area, travelling for food and water. This is whether within buildings or out in crops.  In 30 hours of video in a sugar cane crop various rats (Rattus sordidus) visited and ate bait but there was only ever one rat visible at a time.

19)  Presence of rodents always indicates poor sanitation.

Even the cleanest premises can harbour rodents.  If rodents can find access into a building and a harbourage, they may feed on pet food, grain, seeds or vegetables rather than garbage.

20)  Rats are always aggressive, never shy.

Rats can become aggressive if cornered, as will many wild animals, but their first reaction is to run at sign of danger.  Rats create runways leading to food and water. Over time they are capable of memorizing the muscle movements required to quickly move along these runways if chased or frightened.  The memory of muscular movements is called kinesthetics.

Foraging rodents are known to attempt to lick or chew the food residues off a sleeping individual (eg mice bit the ears and fingers of an aged ‘digger’ in a Dalby nursing home).

21) Leptospirosis can be transmitted by drinking from a can contaminated by rodent urine.

There are several similar eRumours that warn drinking from cans on which rodents had urinated can transmit several diseases such as Leptospirosis.  Leptospira require constant immersion in water to survive so when the urine dries, the bacteria dies.  There are no known cases but it is potentially feasible, though highly improbable that the urine could stay moist and the bacteria could survive long enough to infect a person.

22)   There are as many (or even ten times more) rats in cities than people.

Sounds believable but is not factual.  Any estimation is an educated guess that no one can either verify or dispel.  The one-rat-per-person claim first appeared in 1909 and was based on one rat per acre over the 40 million acres of English countryside.  There also happened to be 40 million people living in England at that time.  One ‘statistic’ often states is there are 10 rats for every person in New York.  In fact no one knows and distribution of rodents will vary between and within cities depending on many urban environmental factors.

23)  There are fewer rats around today than there used to be.

There are probably as many rats in most cities and towns as there have been for decades. It is true that rat and mouse populations took a downturn when automobiles in the city, and tractors on the farm replaced horses. Since the 1950s, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in organized campaigns to control rats in many cities and towns.

We know how to limit rat problems, but time, money and energy are required. As cities age, some buildings, streets and sewers fall into disrepair. With city budget constraints and the lack of a viable customer base for pest management professionals in many inner-city areas, organized and sustained rodent management efforts can be limited. Under the right circumstances (such as a garbage strike), rat populations can reach problem levels in a few months, and every individual needs to take steps to protect his own property.

24)  Mother rats teach their off spring to avoid traps and poisons

Young rodents avoid objects and food items simply by following their mother around just after being weaned. If the mother rat bypasses a trap or bait, a young rat may also bypass these items. The mother rat likely passed the baited traps due to more attractive resources further along or because she is fearful of any new objects.

25)  Rats can enter a house through the toilet bowl.

FACT – IT IS TRUE !! They only have to swim a short distance and can do that easily.  About 15 years ago a shocked family in Hawthorne (Brisbane) found a wet rat on the lip of their downstairs toilet.

26)  HACCP Auditors demand rodent bait stations be washed.

Unfortunately it is true but not correct.  If a bait station is rank, full of spider webs and old bait it should be cleaned.  But actually adding a few rodent droppings to a new bait station encourages rodents to enter.  So the compromise should be – ‘Brush it out but don’t wash it out.’


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