Wed, Apr 25, 2018 07:58 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2004-01-23 tracking communities section
MC extension service offers free rodent control bait
INEZ The house mouse (Mus musculus) and Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) are two of the most troublesome and damaging rodents in Kentucky. These rodents are called commensal rodents because they live in such close association with humans.

Several characteristics of commensal rodents have allowed their populations to flourish. These characteristics include: (1) their ability to survive in a wide variety of climates and habitats, (2) a varied diet, and (3) a high rate of reproduction. Often, homeowners first notice house mice in the winter after the rodents' fall migration indoors in search of food, warmth, and shelter. It is extremely difficult to control house mice once they have entered a home or other building.

Many people tolerate mice in their homes or businesses because they seem less objectionable than rats. However, mice infest far more structures than do rats and can cause considerable damage.

It is difficult to place an economic value on the damage rodents cause. The greatest economic loss is not from how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books, papers, heirlooms, and many other household items are contaminated by mouse droppings or urine, or damaged by their gnawing. Rodents also gnaw through electrical wires, causing fires or appliance failure.

Rats can cause structural damage to buildings through their gnawing or burrowing. Rats can also cause considerable damage to insulation when they burrow and form nests in walls and attics.

Rats and mice also may transmit diseases to humans or livestock. The most notable disease transmitted by mice is salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent lymphocyctic chorimoeningitis, and dermatitis.

Rats can crawl through an opening 1/2" in diameter. House mice can enter through an opening 1/4" in diameter.

Mice have a vertical leap of more than 12 inches, and rats more than 36 inches.

Rats can climb vertical pipes of any size if the pipe is within three inches of a wall or other supporting material. House mice can climb almost any vertical surface that is rough including wood, brick, metal, wire mesh, and cables.

Mice can jump from a height of eight feet to the floor without injury. Rats can drop 50 feet without being killed or seriously injured.

Rats have a horizontal leap of more than eight feet and can reach as far as 13 inches along smooth vertical wall.

If you are experiencing problems with rodents, contact the Martin County Extension Service at 1338 Main Street, Inez or call 298-7742. We are offering a quality rodent control bait which is FREE OF CHARGE to anyone in Martin County.

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