There are many species of rodents, but only the Norway Rat and the House Mouse are commonly encountered by exterminators as pests in Virginia.
The rats we encounter in Virginia are "officially" called Norway Rats, but are often known as wharf rats, sewer rats, brown rats, or water rats. They're stocky animals who are grayish or brownish in color, generally weigh between eight ounces and a pound as adults, and can grow to as long as 18 inches (including their tails).
In nature, Norway rats are primarily burrowers, but they have adapted to living in and around a wide variety of human-occupied buildings. Norway rats are commonly found in basements, crawl spaces, and voids of buildings; sewers and utility chaseways; under porches and sheds; burrowing under sidewalks and driveways; and in many, many other areas. They are excellent swimmers, can climb if necessary, and have excellent sense of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and balance. (Their vision, however, is relatively poor.)
Don't let their small size and timid nature fool you, though: House mice are significant public health pests. In fact, it's their small size that allows them to get through openings that rats wouldn't be able to fit through. This allows house mice much closer to us, thus increasing our risk of exposure to the diseases they carry.
House mice are often found in and around kitchen cabinets and drawers, in garages and basements, in wall voids, under sinks, and in any other protected spaces close to a food source. Unlike rats, mice don't need free water to survive (they get enough water in the food that they eat), but they will drink it if it's available.
Rats and mice have been pests of man since ancient times, and their association with disease has been observed for thousands of years. The "tumors" that afflicted the Philistines as recorded in 1 Samuel 5-6, for example, are believed by many historians to have been the characteristic buboes of bubonic plague, which would also help explain why golden rats were among the sacrifices offered by the Philistines to end the plague.
In addition to plague, rats and mice are now known to be involved in the transmission of salmonellosis, leptospirosis, murine typhus, rat bite fever, trichinosis, hantavirus, Lyme disease, and several other serious diseases. Rats can also inflict painful, often disfiguring bites that are prone to infection.
In addition to the health hazards associated with rodents, rats and mice consume or contaminate millions of pounds of stored food products ever year, and start countless fires by chewing through insulation on electrical wiring.
Depending on the situation, rodent control may require any or all of the following methods:
For help with rat control, mouse control, or any other pest control problem in Staunton Virginia and the surrounding areas, please contact us for prompt, professional service.