RODENTS AND WILDLIFE

Like any other insect or pest, rodents require a learned process of elimination and control. Don’t be misguided by how “simple” the products on shelves in hardware stores make it look. Rodent removal is a very complicated process that can also be dangerous for homeowners and commercial properties.

Do not deal with these animals yourself!

Once they find their way into your home or yard, it is important to get them out as soon as possible before they cause extreme damage.

Because a rodent’s front teeth never stop growing, they become non-stop chewing machines to keep them a manageable length. Without constant chewing, their teeth will grow up through the upper roof portion of their mouths causing starvation and death. To satisfy their need to chew and survive, they will chomp their way through anything they can find. Rodents can cause a huge amount of environmental degradation and cause severe damage to many parts of your home, attic, yards, storage sheds and vehicles in garages. Unfortunately, much of this damage isn’t visible to you.

CONTAMINATION INSIDE AND OUT

Common areas where you may find inside contamination from rodents such as rats and mice is in utensil drawers, under kitchen sinks, chewed open pet and human food packages in pantries, storage areas or garages and attics where Christmas decorations and seasonal items are stored. Their urine and fecal droppings contaminates these items and you, a family member may unknowingly handle these infectious items or a pet may ingest these. Either can become very sick and in some cases even die.

Outside or yard rodents can also cause a multitude of damages to a home. More on that below.

COMMON CONTROL MISTAKES

Often a homeowner or untrained individual will use an ingestible poison called rodenticides to kill and control. Please don’t use poisons! They will ingest the poison, and die in the walls, unknowingly to you. You’ll wind up with carcasses in your attic or walls leaking rotted body fluids creating a toxic and disgusting and toxic smell. Besides, not all the rodents take the bait, which leaves many to continue to breed. Furthermore, it is inhumane if you were to read how these poisons kill.

Again, rodenticides, though very effective, are also very effective in killing your pet dogs and cats. So if you have pets, do NOT use these products. It is just not worth the risk.

Using bleach to clean up urine is another common mistake. Depending upon the length of time urine has been deposited in one particular area and the amount of it, bleach mixes with the ammonia in the urine and can create toxic vapors which if inhaled will cause chemical burns in the lungs, resulting in the inability to breathe without pain and cause severe permanent damage. The primary toxic chemical formed by the reaction is

chloramine vapor, with a potential for hydrazine formation. (Eye, hand and respiratory protection are always necessary during any rodent clean up).

RISK ASSESSMENT

Choosing the right method for the job is vitally important due to the significant variation and toxicity potential exposure to both humans and non-targeted animals.

RODENT DESTRUCTION

  • Chew through wood beams, eaves and soffits to gain access
  • Short out electrical wires (causing electrical outages and fires and can even set off alarms)
  • Chew through A/C tubing, water pipe protection, (can cause leaks, floods and water damage)
  • Destroy attic and wall insulation, (devaluing protection)
  • Chew through electrical wires in vehicles
  • Holes in heating and cooling ducts
  • Create a health risk through biohazard fecal droppings and urine. (strong pungent odor and toxic)

    HEALTH HAZARDS

    Rats have a very high birth rate and can turn into a breeding ground in a short time. In heavy cases, rats and their offspring’s fecal droppings and urine create a toxic environment. This toxic environment is a health hazard to humans and pets in a home. When this waste is soaked into wood or drywall it can encourage mold and attract other rats and animals. Over the years, rats and mice have been responsible for spreading serious diseases and illnesses.

    HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A RAT, MOUSE OR OTHER RODENT PROBLEM?

    Other than, the obvious visual sign of seeing a rodent run across a wall or floor, or piles of fecal droppings, wall scratching is always a cause for alarm. At this time, you need to determine if it’s a raccoon, squirrel, opossum or rats and mice that may be lurking in the walls or attic.

    Every rodent has a profile that indicates his or her presence. Each rodent requires a different approach for control, repair and prevention. Let ACES help you by educating you on habitat modification techniques to protect your home from further invasions with rodents.

    ACES PROVIDES a Honest SOLUTION

    We inspect the complete house inside and out to find out how they are getting in.
    We seal up every single entry points/exit hole and gap.
    We trap on runways, ALL the rats, and remove them from the house.
    We clean and sanitize attic space, wall voids or any nesting areas when ALL RATS/MICE are gone.

SQUIRRELS

Ground squirrels can be serious threats to your yard and its plants. Causing a lot of underground havoc, they eat plant material, both above and below ground.

They create complex tunnel systems that undermine patios, sidewalks and structures causing dangerous sinkholes. This can be a serious problem if you twist your ankle or can be a serious problem if you have livestock or horses.

Additionally, they are major carriers of fleas and ticks that can spread to your pets.

Other destructive things squirrels can do:

  • Travel and chew on power lines shorting out transformers.
  • Gnaw on wires, enter buildings, and build nests in attics.
  • In gardens, eat seedlings, fruits, or grains.
  • Damage lawns by (burying, searching and digging up nuts)
  • Chew bark and clip twigs on ornamental trees or shrubbery planted in yards.
  • Often squirrels take food at feeders intended for birds.
  • Chew bird houses and then enter to eat nestling songbirds.

    GOPHERS are burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae. They barely show their heads above ground and you may lose a good portion of your favorite plants to gophers and still never see one. They seem to eat ten times their weight in expensive ornamental plants, vegetables and fruit trees.

    They too are a nuisance, can cause similar and dangerous erosion problems with their tunnels, and carry external parasites.

    OPOSSUM (Didelphis virginiana)

    Opossums are the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and is common throughout Missouri. With more than 60 different species of opossum, these scavengers will raid your trash in search of easy food and help themselves to outside birdfeeders. Always keep your pet’s food and birdseed in tightly sealed containers in between uses.

    Although they are not aggressive, they can bite when threatened. When disturbed they play “possum” by pretending to be dead. They rarely cause significant damage but like other rodents, they break in through entry points finding shelter in attics and under houses. Screen doors are no challenge any more than an attic ventilation screen. Opossum removal can be complicated because they behave similarly to

    raccoons.

RACCOONS

The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is also common throughout the state of Missouri, but most common in prairies and less abundant in the Ozarks and Bootheel. Their constant search for food, (both plant and animal matter), curious nature and taking refuge in chimneys and attics, often lead to conflicts with property owners.

Raccoons are extremely intelligent, mostly nocturnal and opportunistic creatures that will eat and tear apart just about anything they can get their hands on. They have amazing physical dexterity in their hands, and strong jaws, which accounts for the unsurmountable destruction a Raccoon causes over a short amount of time.

They can be aggressive when cornered, and pose a physical threat to your family and pets. They will rip their way into your home, going through screen doors or any other vulnerable area. Raccoons frequently enter buildings, attics, and chimneys and you could lose stored items to these destructive

creatures. Deter raccoons by storing animal feed and garbage in tight fitting lidded containers.

Raccoons can carry a number of different diseases. Removal should always be administered by someone who understands raccoon behavior.

SKUNKS

Just ask anyone who’s encountered the spraying by a skunk and you will immediately learn about their pungent notorious odor. It will back anyone away quickly and the odor is difficult to remove.

The babies are adorable but when traveling alongside of their mother, can trigger aggression from the mother. Skunks can also carry diseases like mange, rabies, and distemper. Stay clear of these and don’t allow your children or pets near them.

Unlike many of the other rodents, skunks have limited climbing abilities but can dig. If you have storage areas or spaces under porches surrounded by lattice, skunks will take up harborage in

these areas.
BATS (mammals of the order Chiroptera)

These flying mammals occupy almost every habitat worldwide and are a beneficial hunter of insects that cause millions of dollars of damage to farms and forests. Missouri bats range in size from a couple grams to 42 grams. The hoary bat is the largest bat in Missouri with a wingspan up to 16 inches.

All Missouri bats feed exclusively on flying insects. Aside from visual detection of their prey, they rely on the pulsing of high-frequency sounds (a type of sonar). Often seen at dusk darting and swooping in the air; bats maneuver and change directions quickly as they capture insects into their wing, tails or mouths.

They normally enter attics through small openings in the eaves. Bats can contaminate a home with fleas, mites and bat bugs and are disease vectors.

RESOURCES

www.mdc.mo.gov