Winchester Pest Control
Winchester Pest Control

Winchester Pest Control

 Integrated Pest Management

 Telephone - 781-729-1893
Rodents - General InformationRodents - General Information
 The rodents of greatest pest importance to humans are those which nest in or nearby buildings and structures. These rodents include mice & rats, red & gray squirrels, woodchucks/groundhogs, voles and chipmunks. A common factor of rodents is the 2 pairs of incisor teeth that are constantly growing with the 2 upper teeth growing against the 2 lower teeth creating a sharp edge that is well suited for gnawing. Mice, rats & voles are primarily nocturnal, whereas squirrels, chipmunks & woodchucks are not.

 Mice & rats can gain access into buildings through small cracks or holes around foundations, walls, openings around pipes or wires, windows, doors, garage doors, etc... They regularly cause damage to structures by the constant gnawing on building materials, electrical or telephone wires, the contamination of our food sources and can be of a human health importance as disease vectors or carriers.

 Rodents have been reported to spread as many as 200 human pathogens, such as those responsible for food poisoning, Lyme disease, plague, and the potentially lethal Hantavirus.

What is a Hantavirus?  A Hantavirus is a type of virus found in rodents in different parts of the world. In the U.S., human cases of Hantavirus infections were first identified in the southwest in 1993. Studies have shown that one common source carrier of this virus is the deer mouse. In recent years, sporadic cases have been found in several states including New York.

How is the virus transmitted?  Infected rodents shed the live virus in saliva, droppings, and urine. Humans can be infected when they inhale microscopic particles that contain viruses from rodent droppings or urine. Although human cases of infection are rare, sporadic or isolated cases may occur throughout the country, with larger numbers in dusty areas conducive to virus transmission. There is no evidence of person to person transmission in the U.S., and no health care workers have been infected while caring for infected persons. Pets or insect bites are not believed to play a role in Hantavirus transmission.

How do I clean areas where rodents have fed, nested, or left droppings?  It is important to keep rodent dropping particles from getting in the air, where they can be inhaled.

Follow these steps when cleaning rodent-infested areas:
1. The use of gloves, a respirator, long sleeved clothing, and protective eyewear may help prevent personal exposure.
2. Using a spray bottle with a fine mist, mix a solution of 1-cup bleach to 10 cups of water or use a household disinfectant.
3. Thoroughly spray or soak any droppings, nesting areas, or dead mice with the bleach solution or disinfectant.
4. Using a dampened towel, wipe up & dispose of any droppings, nesting materials, dead mice, and dispose of used cleaning towels.
5. Disinfect the area using a mop or sponge. Wash any gloves, clothing, equipment, and tools used in this operation.

Where can I get more information?
 Concerning Hantavirus or rodent borne diseases you should contact your physician, or Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 1-617-624-5757, or
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention at 1-800-311-3435.
House mouseHouse Mouse - General Information
House mouse (Mus musculus)
The adult house mouse is usually 2-½" to 3-½" in body length (tail length about 3" long) and light to dark gray in color. The average life span is about one year. The average litter size is 5 to 8. House mice are prolific breeders with a female's pregnancy lasting an average of 19-21 days, her young is weaned at 3 to 4 weeks, and reaches sexual maturity in 35 days from birth.

The house mouse periodically causes destruction by gnawing on all types of building materials including utility wires, which can lead to electrical fires. They not only consume and contaminate stored food supplies, but they are also of a human health importance as disease carriers or vectors. The house mouse can transmit disease organisms in different ways but commonly by contaminating food areas with their urine and/or droppings. Their droppings can usually be identified as 1/8" to 1/4" long, black in color and rod shaped with pointed ends.
Deer mouseDeer Mouse - General Information
Deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
 The adult deer mouse is about 2 ¾" to 4" in body length (tail length is 2" to 5" long) and sharply bi-colored with gray to deep reddish brown on top and white below (including the tail).

 The life span is usually about 2 to 24 months because of high predation. The average litter size is 3 to 5. There are 2 to 4 litters per year, with a female's pregnancy lasting an average of 21 to 24 days. The young will begin to breed at 5 to 6 weeks of age.

 * Deer mice are of medical concern because they are the primary carriers of Hantavirus, which will cause the potentially lethal Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) to develop. This virus is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with the urine and/or feces from infected deer mice. The incubation period of this disease is up to 30 days. If death is to occur, it will happen within about 12 to 35 days after contracting the disease.
ChipmunksChipmunks - General Information
Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
 The Eastern chipmunk is the most common found in New England. The body usually measures 5" to 6" in length & the tail is 3" to 5". The fur is reddish brown on top, 2 dark stripes flanked by 2 white stripes on either side of the back & white belly fur. The fur tail is brown, with darker stripes. Chipmunks are ground dwelling mammals that dig tunnels about 2" in diameter with a primary entrance next to a solid object, and secondary exits often in open areas. They prefer deciduous woodland areas and are frequently seen near forest edges, fallen logs, large rocks or stone walls. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, & grains. The mouth is small, but its cheeks can expand to 3 times its head size.

 Chipmunks are a social animal, in that both the male and female raise the young. Mating usually occurs in early spring, with an average of 3 to 5 young. There is usually only 1 litter per year. They hibernate from late fall to early spring, waking to eat every few weeks. Their burrows contain stored food and are filled with leaves for a nest. Removing yard debris is the most effective means for control. This will discourage the chipmunk, and it will relocate to a more suitable area.
RatsRats - General Information
Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
 The Norway rat is the largest of the commensal rodents and the most common to be found in the New England area. The adult's overall length can be up to 2' long, with the average body of about 7" to 10" long and a tail of 6" to 8" long. The fur is course and shaggy, usually dark brown with black hairs and the underside is light gray. Once adult, the rat lives an average of about one year, but can live longer due to their environment.

 Norway rats reach maturity in 2 to 5 months of age. Rats are social animals and after mating, a female's pregnancy lasts an average of 21 to 25 days. A litter contains usually 7 to 8 young and they are weaned at about 3 to 4 weeks. The female typically has about 3 to 6 litters per year.

 Rats are primarily nocturnal and will usually travel about 150' to 200' from their harborage in search for food. They nest along river banks, in sewers, dense vegetation or ground burrows, under concrete slabs, etc... and inside buildings they prefer lower level or basement areas with piles of debris, storage items or merchandise, but can be found occasionally in higher areas and attic areas as well.

 They constantly and cautiously explore their surroundings and shy away from new objects and changes. They will eat practically anything of nutritional value and will also gnaw through almost anything including hard plastic or even soft lead pipes to obtain a food source.

 Aside from damaging building materials or contaminating food, the Norway rat is also of human health importance as a vector or carrier of diseases. Their droppings can be identified by usually 3/4" long, black and capsule shaped with blunt ends.
VolesVoles - General Information
Vole (microtus-pennsylvanicus)
 Voles are mouse-like rodents with compact robust bodies. Their color is grayish to blackish brown and when fully grown they can measure five to eight inches long including the tail. Their life span is 2 to 16 months, they can begin breeding after only 3 weeks of age, the gestation period is usually 3 weeks, they produce 4 to 6 offspring per litter, and with as many as 10 litters per season.

 No wonder they are notorious for going through unpredictable population cycles that occasionally spin out of control. Voles spend most of their time below ground in their burrow system that have multiple openings of about 1 ½" to 2". Their home range is usually a few hundred square feet and they feed on a variety of grasses, tree bark & roots, and other plants. Voles store seeds & other plant matter in their underground chambers. The distinctive on-the-surface runways, (which may be partially hidden by grasses and weeds), and the small numerous burrow openings are the main signs of activity.

 Heavy mulch and dense vegetative cover encourage voles by providing food and protection from predators and environmental stresses. Be careful handling dead voles as they are known to host various diseases such as plague and Lyme disease, though there are no known reports of voles as vectors of disease to humans.
SquirrelsSquirrels - General Information
Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
American Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
 The Eastern gray squirrel & American red squirrel are commonly found in New England. For identification, biology & habits; they are summarized here for both the gray & red squirrels. These squirrels are given their common names from their fur color of gray & reddish brown with both having an underside of white. They can range from an average head & body length of 6" to 8" for the red squirrel and 8" to 12" for the gray squirrel, both with long bushy tails of 6" to 12".

 Adult squirrels can live for up to 10 years, the females usually have 1 to 2 litters per year; 1 in the spring & 1 in late summer. The gestation period is between 35 to 45 days; the young are weaned in 2 to 3 months and can breed after 6 to 9 months of age.

 The gray & red squirrel are rodents that are active during the day and primarily feed on nuts, seeds, fruit & vegetables, conifer cones & green vegetation. Although they routinely make their nests in trees, they are clever & persistent when it comes to establishing nests in sheltered areas of buildings. They frequently create damage to homes by climbing onto roofs, chewing holes & gaining access inside attics or soffit overhangs. As rodents they will gnaw on various inedible objects and are excellent climbers.

 They are notorious for overcoming obstacles of gaining access at bird feeders and getting into buildings. It is wise to take preventative measures of only having bird feeders kept away from buildings and keeping tree branches away from the house. Once nests are established; they will find other ways to re-enter such as climbing up the side of a building to return to their nest.