Mice, Rats and Voles

Mice, Rats and Voles

Controlling Pesky Rodents

Mice, rats, voles and other unwanted guests are preparing to move to their new winter homes. We as homeowners and business owners need to make sure that the pests are unsuccessful, Omaha Pest Control is here to help with rodent control.

Omaha, Bellevue, Gretna, Elkhorn and other southeastern cities in Nebraska are expected to have a long winter season ahead. Below are a few informative facts of some of the furry pests that are going to try and get inside your warm homes.

Curious House Mouse

House Mouse

House mice are gray or brown rodents with relatively large ears and small eyes. An adult weighs about 1/2 ounce and is about 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, including the 3 to 4 inch tail.

Although house mice usually feed on cereal grains, they will eat many kinds of food. They eat often, nibbling bits of food here and there. Mice have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell and touch. They are excellent climbers and can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface. They can slip through a crack that a pencil will fit into (sightly larger than 1/4 inch in diameter).

In a single year, a female may have five to 10 litters of usually five or six young each. Young are born 19 to 21 days after mating, and they are mature in six to 10 weeks. The life span of a mouse is about nine to 12 months.

Two Little Friendly Rats

Rats

Norway rats are husky, brownish rodents that weigh about 11 ounces. They are about 13 to 18 inches long including the 6 to 8 1/2 inch tail. Their fur is coarse and mostly brown with scattered black on the upper surfaces. The underside is typically grey to yellowish-white.

Rats will eat nearly any type of food, but they prefer high-quality foods such as meat and fresh grain. Rats require 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food. Rats have keen taste, hearing and sense of smell. They will climb to find food or shelter, and they can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than 1/2 inch across.

Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats reach reproductive maturity in about three months. Breeding is most active in spring and fall. The average female has four to six litters per year. Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.

Thirsty Waterfront Vole

Voles

You’ve heard of mole control, but not vole control? Why is that? Well, the latter gets little recognition. What is the difference between voles and moles? Even those who are not landscaping enthusiasts have heard of moles. But most people go their whole lives without ever so much as hearing about these similar-looking pests, let alone controlling them. To make matters more confusing, these pests are sometimes referred to as “meadow mice” or “field mice.” But when you identify the damage they cause in lawn and garden alike, you’ll quickly learn that this is no “Mickey Mouse” pest control problem. Voles construct well-defined, visible tunnels, or “runways” at or near the surface, about two inches wide. Vole runways result from the voles eating the grass blades, as well as from the constant traffic of numerous little feet beating over the same path. And if any lawn and garden pest can literally “beat a path” through the grass due to their sheer numbers, it’s the voles. Rabbits don’t have anything over this prolific rodent!

Vole Identification: Voles vs. Moles

Since voles are not the only animal pests responsible for runways in lawn and garden areas, they are often confused with these other pests you’d like to get rid of – namely, moles. Because both moles and voles are rarely seen, it makes more sense to base identification on the signs they leave behind, rather than on how the animals look. After all, you may never come face to face with these furtive foes!