The "Biggest" Mole & Vole Trapper in Central Iowa


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The most commonly encountered rodent pest is the house mouse. House mice are found in most areas of human habitation. They are also found living in the wild. House mice are a common problem in homes and in all types of businesses. They ruin stored food and fiber and damage personal possessions. House mice also have the potential to transmit diseases and parasites to people and domestic animals. The house mouse is a delicate, agile, little rodent. Adult weights vary, but usually range from Yz to one ounce. Adult house mice vary in color from light brown to dark gray, but most often are a dusky gray or medium brown over most of their bodies, except the belly, which may be a slightly lighter shade of their general color.


The mouse has moderately large ears for its body size. The tail is nearly hairless and about as long as the body and head combined ( liz to 4 inches). The feet are small in proportion to its body. The eyes are also relatively small . Our native deer (white-footed) mice (Peromyscus sp.), that often invade buildings adjacent to fields and woodlands, are about the same size as or slightly larger than house mice. Deer mice have a distinct, bicolored tail; the upper portion is brown or gray and the underside is distinctly white, with a well-defined line where the two colors meet. Meadow mice or voles (Microtus sp.) sometimes invade homes; they are less agile, have larger, chunky bodies, and weigh at least twice as much as house mice. They also have much shorter tails and small ears and eyes. Habits of house mice Control of house mice requires understanding their biology and habits. Life cycle: Under optimum conditions, house mice breed year round. Outdoors, house mice may tend toward seasonal breeding, peaking in the spring and fall. Under ideal conditions, females may produce as many as ten litters (about 50 young) in a year. At very high densities, however, reproduction may nearly cease despite the presence of excess food and cover. '-... .. Newborn mice are quite undeveloped nearly hairless. Eyes and ears are closed, but by the end of two weeks, the body is covered with hair and the eyes and ears are open. At about three weeks, the young begin short trips away from the nest and begin taking solid food. Social behavior: While mice primarily are active at night, some day activity occurs. Movements of house mice are largely determined by temperature, food, and hiding places. Home ranges of mice tend to be smallest where living conditions are good. Mice tend to travel over their entire territory daily, investigating each change or new object that may be placed there. They are very aggressive. Unlike rats, they show no fear of new objects. They dart from place to place, covering the same route over and over again. This behavior can be used to advantage in control programs. Disturbing the environment at the beginning of a control program by moving boxes, shelves, pallets, and other objects can improve the effectiveness of traps, glue boards, and bait. Mice will investigate the changed territory thoroughly. Senses of mice: Like rats, mice have relatively poor vision and are also color blind. They rely heavily on smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Like rats, mice use long sensitive whiskers near the nose and ·• the guard hairs on the body as tactile sensors to enable them to travel in the dark, pressing against walls and boxes, scurrying through burrows. Curiosity: Mice do not fear new objects as do rats. As mentioned earlier, they quickly detect new objects in their territory and investigate them. They will immediately enter bait stations and sample a new food, although they may only nibble on a small amount. They will also investigate traps and glue boards. Control programs against mice often have success early, just the opposite of rat programs. Physical attributes: It is difficult to mouse-proof a building or control mice without understanding their physical capabilities: • For their size they are excellent jumpers, with some of the more agile individuals jumping 12 inches high from the floor onto an elevated flat surface. • They can jump against a wall or flat vertical surface using it as a spring board to gain additional height. • They can run up almost any rough vertical surface. • They can run horizontally along insulated electrical wires, small ropes, and the like, with ease. • They can squeeze through openings slightly more than Yt inch high. • They can easily travel for some distance hanging upside down from 1 14 inch hardware mesh. • They are capable swimmers, although they generally do not take to water as well as do rats and tend not to dive below the surface. • They can walk or run along ledges too narrow for rats. • They can jump from a height of eight feet to the floor. • They can survive at a constant 24°F ( -30°C) temperature for ten generations. Food and water: House mice prefer cereals over other items, although they will feed on a wide variety of foods. Mice sometimes search for foods high in fat and protein, such as lard, butter, nuts, bacon, and meat. Sweets, including chocolate, are taken at times. Mice get much of their water from moisture in their food, but they will drink if water is readily available. Mice are nibblers, feeding 20 or more times during evening rounds. Range: Mice are territorial and seldom travel more than 30 feet from their nest. Their range is much smaller than the rats' range of 100 to 150 feet. When food is nearby, mice may restrict their activity to a few feet. Nests: House mice may nest in any dark, sheltered location. Nests are constructed of fibrous, shredded materials such as paper, cloth, burlap, insulation, or cotton and generally look like a loosely woven ball. They are approximately four inches in diameter. Outdoors, house mice sometimes dig and nest in small burrows. Control and management Prevention and control of house mice is a four-part process: • inspection • sanitation • mouse-proofing, and • population reduction with traps or toxicants Inspection Common signs of mouse infestation include the following: Sounds: Squeaks, scrambling, and sounds of gnawing are common at night where large numbers of mice are present. Droppings: A house mouse produces about 70 droppings per day. Mouse droppings are frequently the first evidence that mice are infesting. Urine: House mice occasionally make small mounds known as "urinating pillars." These consist of a combination of grease, urine, and dirt and may become quite conspicuous. Urine stains will fluoresce under ultraviolet light. • Prevention and control of house mice is a four-part process: ' I 41 • It isn't easy to completely mouseproof a building since mice are reported to be able to squeeze through an opening as little as \ inch high. 42 Grease marks: Like rats, mice produce greasy smears where dirt and oil from their fur mark pipes and beams. House mouse spots are not easy to detect. Tracks: Footprints or tail marks may be visible on dusty surfaces or on mud. A nontoxic tracking dust can be used to help to determine the presence of house mice within buildings. Gnawing damage: Recent gnawings on wood are light in color, turning darker with age. Look for enlarged cracks beneath doors and wood chips with a consistency like coarse sawdust around baseboards, doors, basement windows and frames, and kitchen cabinets. Visual sightings: Mice are often active in daylight and this may not indicate a high population as it does with rats. Use a powerful flashlight or spotlight at night in warehouses and food plants to confirm house mouse presence. Nest sites: Be alert to fine shredded paper or other fibrous materials used for nestbuilding. Mouse odors: A characteristic musky odor is produced by mice. It can be easily differentiated from that of rats. Sanitation Good sanitation makes it easier to detect ~ signs of mouse infestation. It also increases the effectiveness of baits and traps by reducing competing food. How ve , the best sanitation will not eliminate house mice; they require very little space and small amounts of food to flourish. Store bulk foods in mouse-proof containers or rooms. In warehouses, restaurants, and food plants stack packaged foods in orderly rows on pallets so that they can be inspected easily. Keep stored materials away from walls and off the floor. A 12- to 18-inch yellow or white painted band next to the wall in commercial storage areas permits easier detection of mouse droppings. This band and the areas around pallets should be swept often so that new droppings can be detected quickly. Mouse-proofing It isn't easy to completely mouse-proof a building since mice are reported to be able to squeeze through an opening as little as 1;4 inch high. • Seal large holes to limit the movement of mice into and through a building. • Plug holes in foundation walls with steel wool or copper mesh. • Caulk and fit doors and windows tightly. • Seal holes around pipes, utility lines, vents, etc., to make it difficult for mice to move in and out of wall and ceiling voids. Traps Snap traps: If used correctly, snap traps are very effective in controlling mice. They must be set in the right places, in high numbers, and in the right position or mice will miss them entirely. Here are some factors to keep in mind when trapping mice. • Remember that the territory of mice rarely extends further than 30 feet from the nest, and more often is about 10 feet. If mice are seen throughout a building it means that there are numerous discrete locations where you will have to set traps. Place snap traps not only wherever you see obvious signs of mice, but look for good trap locations in a three-dimensional sphere about 10 feet in diameter around those signs. • Mice can be living above their main food supply in suspended ceilings, attics, inside vertical pipe runs, and on top of walk-in coolers. Or they can be below, in floor voids, crawl spaces, or under coolers and/ or processing equipment. • The best trap sites are those with large numbers of droppings since that means the mice are spending a lot of time there. Other good sites are along walls, behind objects, and in dark corners, particularly where runways narrow, funneling the mice into a limited area. • Good mouse baits increase a trap's effectiveness. Peanut butter, bacon, cereal, and nuts are traditional, but one of the best baits is a cotton ball, which the female mice like to use for nest material. It must be tied securely to the trigger. Food baits must be fresh to be effective. • Probably the biggest mistake made in mouse trapping is not using enough traps. Multiple-catch traps: Multiple-catch mouse traps catch up to 15 mice without requiring reset. Some brands are called "wind-up" traps; the wind-up mechanism kicks mice into the trap. Others use a treadle door. Live mice must be killed humanely. Mice like to investigate new things. They enter the small entrance hole without hesitation. Odor plays a role too; traps that smell"mousy" catch more mice. Place a small dab of peanut butter inside the tunnel entrance to improve the catch. • Check traps frequently. Mice are captured alive but may die in a day or two. Some traps have a clear plastic end plate or lid so you can see if any have been captured. • Place the traps directly against a wall or object with the opening parallel to the runway, or point the tunnel hole toward the wall, leaving one or two inches of space between the trap and the wall. • If mice are active, place many traps six to 10 feet apart. For maintenance trapping, place the traps in high risk areas and also at potential mouse entry points such as loading docks, near utility lines, and at doorways. Glue boards: Glue boards are very effective against mice. As with traps, placement is the key. Locations that are good trap sites are good sites for glue boards. • Do not put glue boards directly above food products or in food preparation areas. • Set glue boards lengthwise and flush against a wall, box, or other object that edges a runway. • Move objects around; create new, narrow runways six inches wide to increase the effectiveness of glue boards. • Put peanut butter or a cotton ball in the center of the board. • Place the glue boards 5 to 10 feet apart in infested areas, closer if the population is large. • If no mice are captured in three days, move the boards to new locations. • If a trapped mouse is alive, kill it before disposal. Replace the boards if they fill up with insects. ' I . \ 43 • Birds can become pests when they feed on crops, create health hazards, roost in large numbers on buildings, contaminate food, or create a nuisance. 44 Rodenticides Food baits: Observe the same safety guidelines for mouse baits as discussed in the section on rat baits. Children, pets, wildlife, and domestic animals must be protected by putting the bait in inaccessible locations or inside tamper-proof bait boxes. • Apply many small bait placements rather than a few large placements. • Use baits labeled for mouse control. • Place baits in favorite feeding and resting sites as determined by large numbers of droppings. • Place baits between hiding places and food, up against a wall or object to intercept the mice. • Bait in three dimensions (see earlier discussion on trapping). • Place baits 10 feet apart or closer in heavily infested areas. • If bait is refused, try switching to a different type, and replace the baits often. • Use small bait stations which are more attractive to mice than the larger rat-type stations. • Make sure that sanitation is such that other food is not competing with the baits. • Place secured tamper-proof bait boxes in safe locations near doors in late summer to intercept mice entering from the wild. Liquid baits: Mice get most of their water ~ from their food but they will drink from a water container. Liquid baits that are labeled for mouse control can be in sites that do not have a ready supply of water. The same water bait dispensers used for rats can be used for mice. As with food baits and traps, many water stations will be necessary to put the bait into the territory of all mice infesting a building. Tracking powders: Tracking powders are especially effective against mice. Mice groom themselves more than rats, and they investigate enclosed areas which can be dusted with tracking powder. • Apply inside dry, infested wall voids. • Dust tracking powder into voids in heavily infested apartment or office buildings. • Use a bait station, PVC tube, cardboard tube, or any small, dark shelter that a mouse could enter in cases where tracking powder cannot be applied. Mice will explore such a shelter. Apply the tracking powder in a layer less than Y16 inch deep. • Do not allow tracking powder to drift into nontarget areas.

Rodent control comes in 3 stages to achieve complete control. (rodents includes mice and rats)

Stage 1 is an inspection.  This inspection is going to uncover the rodent activity at your property whether residential, commercial, or industrial.  We are going to look for evidences inside the living space, attic, and any attached structures like garages if attached.  We will then inspect the outside of the structure for entry possibilities and give you a quote to remove the rodents, seal up the structure, and maintain the control.  This inspection is $195.00 plus tax.  

Stage 2 is to seal up areas around the home rodents can gain entries in and since they are excellent climbers, the roof is no exception.  Mice, for example, can squeeze in areas that are 3/8" to 1/2" or more so this is a detailed seal up process and price is determined at the time of the inspection.  Also this stage includes the trapping of rodents in the price.  The 1 year warranty is limited to only include those areas sealed up.  Areas we cannot gain access to will not be included in the seal up warranty.  Pricing depends on the time and materials needed to be effective.

Stage 3 is maintenance of the property using rodent monitoring bait stations around the exterior of the structure and is conducted quarterly @ $70.00 plus tax..  This is a poison bait block inside uniquely locked boxes so kids or pets cannot access the poison inside without the appropriate key possessed by the Licensed Pest Control Professional (me).  There is a ONE time fee per bait station at the initial service set up.  This is $30.00 plus tax per station with a minimum of 4 used.  This also includes the first service. 

Keeping out rodents 100% is near impossible, but with this service we can keep the vast majority out of your home or building.  It is a control effort and one we are committed to.

TRapper's Wildlife Control is fully licensed and insured to be able to handle your rodent control needs.  We are a complete rodent control service. Contact us today to get your initial inspection scheduled.

IA Pesticide Applicators License #00 09003 000 and Certificate #38692

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