Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are creatures of habit. They like to use the same runways, sleep in the same places and forage in the same particular areas when possible. They really don’t lead a very exciting life unless they’re running from a predator.
Rats and mice are nocturnal animals (active at night). They come out at night when there is less threat of predators and people. They forage, breed and collect nesting materials at night when they have the best chance of survival.
Complaints of gnawing and scratching in the walls and attics or droppings in the house or garage is what usually prompts people to contact a pest control professional. Because rodents chew and gnaw by nature, they sometimes chew through electrical wires, telephone wires, cables, alarm wires and PCB piping. If rodents should do this type of damage, the repairs can be quite costly and in some cases dangerous.
The other secondary problem that can occur are Rat Mites! Each year while the rodent population stays high (because of our outstanding climate and excellent environment) we are getting more and more calls with people complaining about bites that are not flea related. These very itchy bites are unexplained and it worsens with time. This results from a rodent problem that is unrealized and/or untreated. Once rat mites penetrate the structure and are inside the walls, attic and sometimes sub areas the rat mites can be very difficult to get rid of.
Rat mites are a parasite (survives on blood from warm blooded mammals). Rat mites are different than fleas. Adult Fleas must try to stay on their host to survive. Rat mites are very different, they need to feed at periodic intervals during their life cycle and only seek out the host to feed on blood when they are ready to molt or breed. They can survive apparently weeks to months between meals.
Rat mites are visible to the naked eye but are very small (about the size of period). They vary in color depending on whether they have feed or not. An unfed rat mite will be tan to white in color and a rat mite that has fed will be darker brown to black. Rat mites live in and around the rodent nests which is usually in the walls, especially the bathroom walls. Plumbing pipes run through these walls and are favored by the rats as nesting areas for several reasons: 1) The pipes serve as a run way so rats can easily travel through the walls to get to and from attics, sub areas, kitchen and bathrooms 2) There is condensation and 3) Water pipes can create warmth.
How Bites from Rat Mites Occur
Rat mites are nocturnal and are heat seekers. Typically, the Rat Mites migrate from the nests of Rats and can get into the bathroom from small cracks and cervices around tile, grouting, baseboards, under the sink and around the tub or shower housing. It seems that when people are going through their night time activities (using the bathroom, cleaning up and/or showering for example), the rat mites wanting to feed seek the body heat of a person and then unknowingly hitch a ride to bed. During the night the mites bite repeatedly usually on the warmer parts of the body.
If you have unexplained bites occurring when you are sleeping, especially on your midsection, under arms, tummy, and other areas not normally exposed to fleas or mosquitos…. call us. Most rat mite diagnosis are unexpected, and the homeowners have not been aware of symptoms of an active rat problem that could be the cause of the very itchy “rash” (bites) you may experience.
What does Bay-Valley do?
The first thing we do is a Rodent Inspection Report to determine whether it is rats, mice or both. We then, through the inspection, determine how the rats are accessing the structure. We place (strategically) a bait to kill the existing rodents and recommend the repairs that need to be done. It is very important to rodent proof the structure so that new rats don’t use the original openings to re-invade.
Most homeowners are not very successful with ridding the home of rodents because they normally do not know very much about rodents and do not correctly treat for them once discovered. Because of our experience and knowledge we almost make it look easy.
If rat mites have also become an issue, then an additional service at an additional charge needs to be discussed. With a rodent service we inspect and bait, with rat mites the home needs to be sprayed along with other specific treatments to the attic, sub area and/or walls.
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