Droppings. We all leave them. If the children’s book, Everyone Poops, is taken at its word, then that’s a whole lot of droppings to account for. That’s only including humans, so what if the whole animal kingdom is brought into the mix? From dogs to porcupines, and ocelots to antelopes, the sheer amount of leavings begins to reach gargantuan proportions.
Not only does everyone poop, but everyone also needs a place to sleep. Humans have beds, bears have dens and beavers have dams, but what about the rodents of this world? When in the wild, rodents such as mice and rats typically live in burrows underground. Sometimes, to our detriment, they leave these burrows for the cozier pastures that are our homes.
Let’s pretend for a moment that that’s a fine state of affairs. I mean, who doesn’t like having house guests, wanted or otherwise? The real problem, as with people, is when they refuse to leave. Not only are the mice and rats living in our walls without a check-out date, but they’re breeding and pooping with reckless abandon.
As this is occurring, a series of questions arises. The first of which is, ‘How do I know if I have a rodent infestation’?
Well, has your furniture suddenly come down with a case of bite marks? Have you seen rodent-sized tracks on your floors and surfaces? Have you seen black pellet-shaped feces on those same floors and surfaces? Most importantly, have you experienced a rodent sighting? This criteria may seem trivial, but it’s important to know what sort of infestation you have on your hands. The way one may deal with rodents is very different than the way one would with insects.
Once you’ve identified that you have a rodent infestation, the second question becomes, ‘What can I do about it’?
In this, you have a couple options. The first involves trying to deal with it yourself. Usually, this option involves some manner of trap. Snap traps, the quintessential mouse trap, as well as poison traps are common choices. Others, like cage traps, achieve the same result, but leaves the rodent alive. Whether you want to leave the rodent alive or dead is up to you, but be sure not to use glue traps, as they’ve been rated as inhumane by several animal rights groups, including PETA and The Humane Society.
If you fail to take care of the issue yourself, then the next step is to call a pest control company. While certain companies differ in terms of eco-friendliness, pest specialities, type of buildings served, and their administrative style, the end result will be the same — They will end the infestation for you.
With your problem dealt with, the time has come for reflection, as well as the third question, ‘What causes infestations?’
While it is true that rodents are attracted to food waste, it’s important to bear in mind that they are burrowing creatures by nature. Weather they are burrowed underground in a field or in our walls, the fact is that they are doing what they are supposed to. Frequently however, we exacerbate existing situations by our actions, or lack thereof — as the case may be. If there’s a neglected corner of your home, or untidied food waste, the chances of an infestation increase.
Now that you know the causes, you should get on with your life and start thinking about the future, as well as the fourth question, which is ‘How can I prevent future infestations?’
Our good friends at the EPA have managed to sum up prevention strategy into this single line: “Clean up food and water sources in and near your house”. This means responsible disposal of food waste, proper storage of your surpluses, and minimization of clutter around the house. This can be as easy as buying a lid for your garbage can. The fewer opportunities to attract rodents, as well as ensuring that there are fewer places for them to burrow, will help minimize your chances of infestation. To that end, be prepared to repair faults in your home’s structural integrity — if found — to reduce the number of possible rodent access points.
With luck, such prevention tactics will ensure that you never need to deal with our furry friends ever again. However, should you have to, and find yourself once again in need of pest control services, then I’m sure our partners at Terminix would be more than happy to assist you.
Top Image: Cosmopolitan