As a matter of RAT

  There’s nothing better this time of year than cozying up to a nice warm fire with your hot cocoa; but then, you hear it; … what is that scratching noise?! Approximately 21 million homes will be invaded by rodents this year. If you think you were the only one with a rodent problem, you’re wrong! 29% of Americans will be suffering with you.

  How well do you know rats and mice? Let me share some not-so-fun facts with you. Rats and mice have poor vision but excellent taste, touch and smell.  They are also nocturnal, so seeing them active in the daytime is a sign of a large infestation. A family of 6 mice can grow to approximately 60 in just 3 months! Rats can jump vertically up to 3.5ft and have been known to survive a fall from a 5-story building! Their claws provide them excellent traction for climbing and their bites can exert a force up to 7,000 lbs. per square inch!

  Rodents cost us tens of billions of dollars per year in many ways. Did you know that rodents contaminate 20% of the world’s food supply? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration must throw away approximately 400,000 TONS of contaminated food each year! With their sharp teeth they chew and destroy everything in their path.

  It is suspected that an estimated one-fifth of the fires of unknown origin are caused by rodents gnawing on electrical wires!  Rodents have open -rooted incisors that never stop growing, enabling them to gnaw continuously without wearing down their teeth. Say hello to property damage! Businesses are affected by productivity losses due to equipment downtime and reduced health of animals.

  In addition to property damage there are health and sanitation concerns. Rodents are known to spread many different bacteria; Salmonella, for example and over 35 diseases with help from parasites like ticks, fleas and lice. Several diseases are transferable to both humans and animals. Mice urinate constantly and are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year. That’s at least 68 a day! Proteins in their urine can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.

  Keeping rodents out of your house and barns is critical. A mouse can squeeze through openings the size of a dime and rats, a quarter. Play it safe and constantly inspect for easy access points. Utility pipes are common entry points allowing rodents access to buildings. Make sure all cracks and crevices are completely sealed. Steel wool is an inexpensive deterrent to place around those areas. Check for loose mortar and weather stripping around foundations and windows. Be sure to keep your basements and attics clear and moisture free. The landscaping around your buildings is critical as well so be sure to keep your shrubbery trimmed. Remember that fire you were enjoying earlier before the scratching disrupted you? Keep that firewood at least 20ft away from your home. When was the last time you went through all the food in your pantry? 50% of invasions occur in the kitchen. Make sure you keep your food in rodent-proof containers. The same goes for your feed room! Keep your feed in metal trash cans with locking lids. Plastic and wood containers are easily chewed. You must be diligent about sweeping up any dropped feed. Periodically move the cans out from the wall and be sure to thoroughly sweep the floor. Saddle pads, blankets, towels and any other material of that sort make excellent bedding material and should be kept in rodent-proof containers.  

  So, you’ve taken the steps to stop the entry and spread, but how do you get rid of the existing ones? There are different options out there. If you have a barn there is a great chance you have at least one cat and cats can be great mousers! Tomcat has a really neat tool on their website that helps you determine what kind of rodent is invading your space and what tools you can use to get rid of them. Make sure you place bait stations, traps and boards where the rodents travel. You should be able to tell by finding the droppings. Try not to underestimate your rodent populations and be sure to place enough product out to get the job done. It’s always better to have too much than not enough. Remember to always place bait in secured bait stations to keep children and pets safe and to carefully read all labels.

  I hope the above facts and tips have been informative and will help to disrupt your rodent’s environment and send them packing! And as a matter of rat you contact us anytime or stop by the store for additional information, Tomcat products or barn cat rescue organization resources.

Happy mousing! 

– Natalie Hayes

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