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Dealing with your Mouse Problem

Yes.  I know mice can be really cute!  That may be the case until you have to deal with them.  These furry critters often invade homes once the weather grows colder.

They will gnaw their way through your home, leaving droppings while tracking bacteria and disease. Along with a host of health hazards, there are known neurological and emotional effects resulting from a mouse infestation.

To address an infestation, your first move to determine just what you’re dealing with. It’s important to distinguish mice from rats and to identify the specific species that is causing your problems. Once you learn about several common species of mice that are found throughout homes, you can take steps to rid your property of them and prevent more from returning.

 

Common Traits

Mice range from small to medium in size. They generally grow around two to three inches as adults. Some can grow even bigger. Different species can vary in color, but most mice are grey, brown or black. They all have small paws with nails, and their heads are characterized by whiskers and large eyes and ears.

While mice can bite if they feel threatened, the biggest problem is in the diseases they transmit, including salmonella, hantavirus, and forms of meningitis. Mice teeth never stop growing, so they’re constantly gnawing and chewing on rough materials in order to file them down. This causes them to chew through wiring and insulation inside homes.

 

Differences Between Rats and Mice

Mice are more curious than rats and more likely be seen running around.

On average, most mouse species are smaller than rats.

Mice like to burrow within walls, while rats dig under buildings and plants.

 

House Mice

True to its name, house mice like to situate themselves inside human homes, where it uses all the materials it can find to feed and build nests. They’ll use shredded material like paper, cloth, and cardboard for nests but will also eat glue, soap and residue. House mice are also known to transmit typhus, salmonella and bubonic plague.

 

How To Identify:

1/4 to 1/2 inch

Reddish black

Found throughout the U.S.

Can destroy wet and decaying wood

Pose a serious structural threat; consider seeking professional help immediately

Nocturnal

 

Deer Mice

Deer mice are known to transmit Hantavirus, which is a potentially fatal respiratory disease. They’ll often be found in outdoor structures, such as sheds and barns, and they can be prevented by sealing up common hiding spots. Keep an eye on small holes, cracks and crevices around your property.

 

How To Identify:

Slightly larger than the average house mouse, on average.

Can grow to 5” to 8” long

Light to dark brown with white feet and white belly

Found throughout the U.S., but tend to cause the most problems in rural areas around outdoor garages and sheds

Known to chew through wires, insulation, furniture and clothing

 

White-Footed Mice

White footed mice are known to make their way inside homes once the temperature begins to drop, so closer to Winter and Fall. Like other rodents, they can spread bacterial diseases after coming in contact with food, and they are also known for spreading lyme disease through ticks that they pick up in the brushy, forested areas they live in.

 

How To Identify:

Average adult length is 6” to 8”

Fur color can range from light to reddish brown, with white feet and bellies

Found in colder regions, such as the Northeast United States and Canada

Tend to thrive in bushy, forested areas

Omnivorous diet that includes insects, wood, seeds, nuts and fruit

So now what?

You should also be sure to contact a mouse control expert if you’re seeing widespread signs of an infestation, such as mouse droppings, home damage, and other significant signs of mice and rats.

Remember that exterminators can’t end your mouse infestation if you don’t take their advice. If your pest control technician applies traps or poisons, you will still need to heed their suggestions to seal up tiny entrances, keep dirty dishes from piling up, and store food properly. By working with exterminators as part of a team, even a rapidly multiplying mouse infestation can be controlled.

Bats In Your Belfry?

There are usually two problematic scenarios you may encounter with bats in your home:

  1. when a lone bat flies into a building, or
  2. when a maternity colony of bats roosts in a building.

 

The Lone Ranger

Individual bats occasionally will enter a home, most often during summer evenings in mid-July and August. These lone bats are usually young bats that are just beginning to fly. Fortunately, these incidents can be dealt with quite easily. The best method for getting a bat out of the house is to allow it to find its own way out. Chasing or swatting at the bat will cause it to panic and fly around the room, which needlessly prolongs the incident.

If you do encounter a bat flying in a room, follow this procedure:

  1. Shut all doors leading into other rooms to confine the bat to as small an area as possible.
  2. Open all windows and doors leading outside to give the bat a chance to escape. (Don’t worry about other bats flying in from the outside.)
  3. Remove pets from the room, leave the lights on, stand quietly against a wall or door, and watch the bat until it leaves.
  4. Do not try to herd the bat toward a window. Just allow it to calmly get its bearings, and don’t worry about it swooping at you. When indoors, a bat makes steep, banking turns, so it flies upwards as it approaches a wall and swoops lower near the center of the room.
  5. Within ten to fifteen minutes the bat should settle down, locate the open door or window, and fly out of the room.

If you have recurring problems with bats entering your home, you may want to have your attic inspected to determine if you are housing a bat maternity colony.

 

House Bat Maternity Colonies

Most bats in Ohio and Pennsylvania roost in secluded locations away from human contact, but two species, the big brown bat and the little brown bat, often attract attention because they repeatedly roost in buildings. These ‘house bats’ situate their roosts in hot attics, which act as incubators for their growing pups.

Because they live in such close quarters with humans, unique challenges are involved in the conservation of house bats. House bats have only one or two pups per year, so the protection of their maternity colonies is important to the survival of these beneficial mammals. The destruction of just one maternity colony through chemical extermination or vandalism can have a long-term impact on the populations of both bats and insects in a local area. Unfortunately, homeowners often consider maternity colonies a nuisance and may mistakenly believe that extermination or destruction of the colony is their only solution. There is, however, a safe, humane, and effective procedure for removing a bat colony from a building. This procedure, called bat-proofing, is described in the following sections.

 

If You Are Housing a Bat Colony

One way to tell if you are sharing your house with a bat colony is to simply go into the attic and look for roosting bats. During the day, bats will likely be roosting in narrow crevices in the attic walls, between the rafters, or tucked into the space between the rafters and roofing material. When you enter the attic, the bats will quickly retreat out of sight (rather than taking flight). If you can’t see them, listen for the squeaking or scurrying sounds that will verify their presence.

If you are uncomfortable entering the attic when bats may be present, you can inspect the attic at night for bat droppings. The dry, black droppings are about the size of a grain of rice, and accumulate in piles below areas where the bats roost. (Mouse droppings look similar, but you would find them scattered in small amounts throughout the attic.) If you find bats living in your attic during the day, or if you find large accumulations of bat droppings, then you probably have a maternity colony in your house.

If you have a bat colony in your attic and you want to remove it, you must use the proper methods to do so. Do not use chemical poisons or repellents to eliminate a bat colony. Poisons often scatter dead, dying, or disoriented bats throughout the house and neighborhood, which increases the risk of children or pets coming into contact with sick bats. Repellents, such as moth balls or flakes (naphthalene), sulfur candles, or electromagnetic or ultrasonic sound devices do not permanently remove bats from a home. Unless their entrances are sealed, the bats will return as soon as the chemical repellents wear off.

The best way to safely and permanently evict a maternity colony is to seal all of the colony’s entrances.

 

Bat-Proofing your home

Bats usually enter at points where joined materials have warped or shrunk.

To identify which of these areas are providing access, look for tell-tale bat droppings on the side of the house below a suspicious crack or crevice. Also, entrances that have been used for a long time may have a slight brown discoloration at the edges. Inspecting inside the attic can also reveal openings that need to be sealed. Inside, bat droppings often accumulate below bat entrances and exits. During the day, turn off the attic’s lights and look for openings that are allowing outside light, and possibly bats, to pass through.

 

Sealing Entrances

Once the bat entrances have been located, the next step in bat-proofing is to seal these openings. Here at Complete Pest Solutions, we use window screening or hardware cloth to cover louvered vents or large gaps and cracks in the building. We also fill in smaller cracks, use expanding foam insulation or caulking.  Unlike mice, bats will not gnaw new holes in the building, so sealing the existing holes will keep them out. Complete Pest Solutions will take care of the entire process from safely getting the bats to exit the home and sealing it so they don’t come back.  We warranty our bat program for 3 years.

Wasp and Hornet Prevention

Wasp Nest

Wasp and Hornet Prevention

 

Complete Pest Solutions offers its clients the option to prevent Wasps and Hornets from nesting on structures within your property.

Our program is unique in that we are treating areas where Wasps and Hornets will typically create nests before the nests are built.

The goal of the Wasp and Hornet Prevention program is to stop the insects from nesting on the structures of your property, such as your home, decks, swing sets and sheds.

Complete Pest Solutions’ Wasp and Hornet prevention service is warrantied until Nov. 1 every year. If during coverage time a nest is discovered on a structure that was already treated, we will treat the areas at NO ADDITIONAL COST.

Areas Treated For Wasp and Hornet Prevention

  • Treat all soffits
  • behind gutters and shutters
  • dust behind light fixtures
  • set off aerosol in the attic.

If you’re really concerned about stinging insects and you want a proactive, season-long approach versus a reactionary approach, then you should consider the prevention program.

At Complete Pest Solutions, we can easily answer any questions you may have on our wasp and hornet prevention program. Our knowledge of wasp and hornet biology and behavior are what sets us apart from other pest control companies. Our cutting-edge programs are specifically designed around proven scientific research to effectively prevent wasps from nesting on your property structures. Unlike other companies, we offer a 100% guarantee our Wasp Prevention Service.

If you’d like wasp and hornet prevention as well as protection from other household pests, you can also enroll in Complete Pest Solutions Quarterly Service Plan.

Stinging Insects & Allergies

Many of us, when asked, regard summer as our favorite time of year. Baseball games, picnics, family vacations and the like all contribute to the fond memories we carry throughout our lives. If you are like me, summer is when you may have been stung for the first time. Not fun!

For most of us it’s not such a big deal. You may have developed redness and swelling at the site. Mom kissed you, put a penny on it and sent you back to play. Yet, people who are allergic to stinging insect venom are at risk for a much more serious reaction. This life-threatening reaction is called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis).

Understanding the differences between a normal reaction and an allergic reaction can bring peace of mind to all you moms out there. It is also important to have an accurate diagnosis so you can manage your child’s condition and be prepared for an emergency.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to an allergen. In stinging insect allergies, the allergen is the venom injected from a sting. Most of the serious reactions are caused by five types of insects:

1. Yellow jackets– Yellow Jackets are black with yellow markings. They can be found in various climates. Their nests are usually located underground, but can be found in the walls of buildings, cracks in masonry or in woodpiles.

2. Wasps– Wasps are slender with black, brown, red and yellow markings. They live in a circular comb under eaves, behind shutters or in shrubs and woodpiles.

3. Hornets– Hornets are black or brown with white, orange or yellow markings. Their nests are gray or brown and are usually found in trees.

4. Honeybees– Honeybees have round, fuzzy bodies with dark brown and yellow markings. They can be found in honeycombs in trees, old tires, structures or other partially protected sites. Many people don’t mind having them around. And many are starting to keep these hardworking insects around for their delicious raw organic honey. Those with serious allergies, though, can’t take the risk.

5. Fire Ants– Fire ants are reddish-brown ants living in large mounds, mostly in warmer climates. They attack with little warning, inserting highly concentrated toxins that cause burning and pain.

Knowledge goes a long way to prevent an incident. Unless you have an active hive that is being aggressively protected, these stinging insects will more than likely leave you alone. Those with severe allergies should be on heightened alert only because they have more severe consequences to contend with. Be careful and have fun!