RODENTS & WILDLIFE
Scientific Name: Polistes humilis
Lifespan: Roughly one year, on average.
Problem: Painful stings. Can sting multiple times.
Rodents owe a majority of their survival success to their ability to adapt to different habitats. They are opportunistic food scavengers and will consume most types of food. If a certain food source runs out, they are very likely to adapt to an entirely new food source. In addition, they are mostly active just after sunset and just before sunrise – hours during which most people are asleep, and their surroundings are quiet. These factors can make rats and mice sometimes difficult to control by homeowners and businesses.
Rats and mice are also very successful breeders. A female rat can reproduce every 3 weeks, and usually gives birth to about 6-10 young at one time. And a female mouse reproduces every 3 to 4 weeks and usually gives birth to about 5-6 young, although sometimes up to 12. This means that both rat and mice colonies can grow large quite quickly.
Rodent control is important in order to avoid contracting and spreading a number of serious diseases, which rats and other rodents are known to transmit. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists nearly a dozen different diseases directly linked to rats. Rats and mice are both capable of transmitting disease to humans through their hair, droppings and urine. As an example, a single mouse can excrete 40 to 100 droppings every day.
Mice are extremely mobile. Because of their smaller body size, they can fit into spaces as small as a dime, while rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter. They will utilize power lines and foliage to gain access to attics and rooftops, and once within a structure will use pipe chases and interior wall voids to move from area to area.
Mouse and rat issues will generally be more plentiful in areas where construction may be older and sanitation may not be ideal. They can infest any structure, whether it is a home or business. While mice and rats can be problematic inside of any structure, recognition of a rodent problem is NOT usually a reflection of how clean of an environment one lives or works in.
If a rodent makes its way into a structure, it can cause serious problems other than just keeping the client awake at night. These critters can chew electrical wires and cause fires, they can chew through water pipes and cause floods, and they damage just about anything they can sink their teeth into.
When it comes to wildlife, the value people place on these larger animals underlie their attitudes about when and how animals may be used. People who use wildlife for subsistence may revere animals even though they harvest wildlife for food and clothing. On the other hand, people who misuse or try to exterminate wildlife do not value animals at all until they are dead.
Conservationists place the highest values on preserving habitats, ecosystems, and sustainable wildlife populations. They accept regulated harvests of surplus animals when appropriate.
But strict protectionists value individual animals. They tend to oppose hunting and trapping out of concern for individual animals. Some protectionists have a mistaken belief that hunting or trapping will threaten the entire population. Animal rights activists believe all animals have the same rights as humans. They oppose any human use of animals and may even value an animal’s life as much as (or even more than) a human life.
Excluding wildlife from a structure is usually the best and most humane approach to long term wildlife control. While trapping a nuisance animal solves current animal infestation issues, it does not address future wildlife invaders. By locating all points of animal entry and implementing repair and exclusion techniques, the chances for future animal infestation and damage are greatly reduced.
Exclusion techniques are applied to remove intrusive animals and prevent future access of the structure by wildlife. Rather than just trapping and relocating animals, it is just as important, and sometimes safer to determine how an animal is getting in and work to seal points of entry without trapping the animal inside. This solution also helps motivate the animal to leave the property, as well as reducing the likelihood of other animals getting in.