Tag Archives: Rodents

A Brief History of the Mousetrap

A Brief History of the Mousetrap

As temps cool this holiday season, rodents and pests may find your home an inviting location to settle in for a long winter’s nap. Truly Nolen takes a look at the history of the mousetrap, as we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season. Truly Nolen also suggests contacting a professional pest control company should you detect any activity of the scurrying sort that threatens to ruin your jovial festivities. Co-existing with humans throughout history, rodents pose health threats to humans and pets and can cause extensive damage to homes. For these reasons and others, a lengthy list of rodent-ridding devices has crossed the threshold of the patent office over time.

Rodents have fueled humans’ obsession with inventing the perfect mousetrap for centuries

It seems humans have always been obsessed by the desire to invent the perfect mousetrap. In a 15th century triptych depicting Joseph’s carpentry studio, the artist Merode painted a box with a hinged lid and a torsion-sprung device that captured mice in a box, when triggered.  Preceding the humane Merode mousetraps, medieval accounts of guillotine-type traps can be found.

Probably the first patented mousetrap, it involved a wire caging device that captured mice alive. Patented in 1870 by South Carolinian, K. Bachman, numerous variations of this type of humane live capture traps existed at the time.

The “Royal No. 1,” established the mousetrap in the industrial age

According to historians, although New Yorker, James M. Keep patented the first lethal mousetrap in November 1879, “it was evident from the patent description,” that his was not the only mousetrap around at the time, but an industrial age design that replaced the deadfall mechanism with a wound spring and a simpler, easy to manufacture design. Keep’s “Royal No. 1” traps are now constructed from lightweight plastic and safer for anyone setting the traps than other lethal mousetraps.

The classic spring-loaded mousetrap patented by Illinois native, William C Hooker

Shortly after Keep’s innovation, in 1894, Illinois native, William C. Hooker first patented the more familiar spring-loaded device, recognized today as the classic mousetrap. Improving on Hooker’s design, in 1898, British inventor, James Henry Atkinson patented the “Little Nipper,” that included a weight-activated treadle, as a tripping mechanism.  The Little Nipper, with its rectangular flat, wooden base, spring trap and wire fastenings still holds the record for its 38,000th of a second closing speed.

James Henry Atkinson’s Little Nipper still leads the market in spring-loaded mousetraps

While Pennsylvanian John Mast patented a similar mouse trap in 1899, Atkinson’s Little Nipper continues to capture 60% of the British, as well as the international, mousetrap market share. Since 1913, when Atkinson sold his patent to his manufacturer, the Procter Brothers, for £2,000. The UK company has been making the “Pest Stop Little Nipper” in its Yorkshire, then its South Wales factories. Procter Brothers’ headquarters even houses a mousetrap museum featuring 150 exhibits.

In recent developments, mousetraps come in many forms

Different types of mousetraps have been developed over time, including simple DIY toilet paper rolls extending over a deep bucket or some sort of container that tips mice into the container when they are drawn to bait placed at the end of the roll. In the 1920s, Austin Kness received a patent for his live capture device, the Kness-Ketch All Multiple Catch trap that uses no bait and can trap several mice at a time. Other innovations in mousetraps include the controversial glue trap and electric traps. Along with the Kness device and the Little Nipper, these inventions comprise a list of about twenty mousetraps that proved commercially successful, out of the more than 4,400 mousetrap issued.

Rodent issues should be handled professionally

While mousetraps can help reduce rodent populations in homes, homeowners should be aware that a professional pest control company will save time, money and help to keep your spirits merry and bright. Because rodent populations grow at rapid rates, addressing a rodent issue as soon as possible is essential. Also, rodents, especially rats, tend to be wary of new things in their environments, so reducing rodent populations can take a long time, if not skillfully attended to.

Traps and commercial baits can be messy and dangerous to small children and pets and rodent carcasses can be difficult to find, behind wall voids and other hard-to-reach places. Additionally, cleaning rodent waste and eliminating the diseases and pathogens associated with vectors and feasting insects should be left to professionals.

Contact Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection and devise a customized plan to eliminate rodents from your home.

Truly Nolen’s innovative, pet- and people-friendly approach

  • Exclusion: Sealing all cracks, crevices and other entranceways to your home, around your foundation, as well as around windows and doors.
  • Reduction: The regular removal of rodent carcasses ensures rodent carcasses are located and disposed of properly without chemicals. Our technicians also treat vectors, such as fleas and ticks.  After rodents are eliminated, Truly Nolen technicians use a specially designed HEPA vacuuming system to safely remove feasting insect and vector materials from your home.
  • Monitoring: Keeping your home and your specific needs first, Truly Nolen monitors all traps until all rodents are eliminated.

Help prevent rodents from entering your home

You can exclude and make your home unattractive to rodents, by:

  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing all food prep and dining areas.
  • Securely storing all open dried goods in glass, metal or hard plastic containers.
  • Storing open food containers in the fridge and discarding all leftover food in closed trash receptacles.
  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles.
  • Removing debris and clutter from the interior and exterior of your home, and trimming branches away from your home.

Contact Truly Nolen to prevent or eliminate rodents from your home and devise a plan to keep your home rodent-free. By regularly cleaning and sanitizing your home and property and keeping cracks and crevices sealed, chances are, rodents will head on down to the Griswolds’ for the holidays. Happy wishes to you and yours during this special time of year!

Rodent Identification: A Glimpse at Common Rodents of the United States

Thinking about spring cleaning? Truly Nolen asks you to think like a rodent. Don’t be a pack rat. Rodents love your clutter and so do the feasting insects, like cockroaches that carry and spread disease and pathogens to you and your family when they infest your home.

Rodent Identification: Common Rodents of the United States

Cleaning? Or Rodent Infestation? Hmmm . . .

It’s a messy business, rodent infestation, what with trapping and removing rodent carcasses and then cleaning rodent droppings and urine, dealing with the vectors in a specific way to avoid air-borne allergens, including dangerous pathogens, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a lung infection caused by the inhalation of dried rodent fecal matter through air-borne particulates, coming into contact with an infected rodent’s saliva, urine or feces, or being bitten by an infected rodent. Truly Nolen’s thinking what you’re thinking. Break out the cleaning supplies; let’s get this place rodent resistant.

Clean your attic!

Cardboard boxes, stored newspapers, magazines and other paper products invite rodents into your home. With paper materials for nest stuffing, plus wood and electrical wiring to file their teeth on, who wouldn’t be tempted to move in and start a family in a quiet, dark, cozy, and cluttered attic?

Also, rodents can cause serious structural and electrical damage to homes and businesses throughout the US. Because they need to gnaw to keep their sizable teeth filed down, rodents chew wood and electrical wiring. Rodents are suspected to be responsible for an estimated 20 percent of undetermined house fires in the United States each year. For food and water, rodents like to forage in your kitchen, but can go without food and water for extended periods of time. However, if rodents can eat in your kitchen, they will.

Clean your kitchen!

Regularly wiping down and cleaning your kitchen countertops and dining areas and sweeping and vacuuming your floors can deter rodents. In your pantry, keep all open, dry goods stored in glass, metal or hard plastic containers. Storing dog food and birdseed in airtight containers is also critical in helping to exclude rodents.

Also, cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles, in addition to clearing clutter and debris from your home’s exterior should be part of your spring cleaning plans.

Who are these rodents and where do they live?

 

Norway Rats: All over this land

Norway RatIntroduced to America in 1775, Norway rats spread through the colonies, then crossed the country with the pioneers and now thrive everywhere in the US today, in close proximity to humans. Norway rats measure 12-18 inches, tail included and can be distinguished by their blunt noses, small close-set ears and long tails.

The Roof Rat prefers warmer, coastal states

Roof rats, Old World rodents, who contributed to the fall of Rome Roof Ratand decimated half of Western Europe during the Great Plague, prefer warmer tropical climates. Also known as citrus rats in Florida, roof rats are prevalent in the other southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal states from Virginia to Texas.

On the west coast, roof rats are found along the Pacific coast of California, Washington and Oregon. Growing to 8 inches in length, roof rats are light gray or brown in color with 9-inch tails and can be identified by their sharp noses, large hairless ears and those long tails.

The House Mouse:

House MouseThe house mouse lives in a nest, near your home in every US state where Truly Nolen locations exist. Small rodents, ranging from 4.5 to 6 inches in length with light gray to dark brown bodies, the biggest thing on a house mouse besides its teeth, are its ears.

With pointy ears and sharp, flat teeth, house mice also sport long, dark tails. House mice, in an average 18-month lifespan can produce 12 litters of 5 to 6 young, one every 3 months.

While making a good showing in almost every part of the country, house mice run rampant in Georgia. They can damage your home and property any time of year, but house mice are most likely to enter your home seeking food and shelter during cooler months.

Rural rodents

Many other rodents live in the US, from many varieties of squirrels and chipmunks throughout the country to voles in the east and deer mice and wood rats in the west. However, these rodents live in wooded areas and don’t generally pose threats to homeowners and their properties.

Signs of Rodent Infestations

Gnawed electrical wiring, droppings near food areas, gnawed or chewed bags and boxes in your pantry, scratching or scurrying sounds in your walls and attic, squeaking and chirping noises in your walls and the presence of an ammonia-like smell indicate a rodent infestation. In the event you detect these signs of rodent activity, stop cleaning and contact your local Truly Nolen location for a free rodent inspection, immediately.

2015: Strong El Niño Leads to The Year of the Pack Rat

When someone says the term pack rat, people likely think of a friend or relative who has trouble letting go of old souvenirs and clothes. Most people likely do not realize 2015 was the year of the rodent known as the pack rat! In fact, Truly Nolen website research shows “How to get rid of pack rats” was the eighth-most visited page for the company’s website in 2015 and the most visited one overall for any insect or rodent.

Pack rats, also referred to as woodrats or trade rats, are typically gray rat-sized mammals with large ears, large dark eyes and a relatively long tail. Although absent from most of the New England area, eight species of pack rats are widely distributed through much of the rest of North America. They are usually found entering homes in the winter to have their offspring, which means this is the exact time of year to be mindful.

“With El Niño on track to be one of the three strongest ever over the last 70 years according to NOAA, it should come as no surprise that pack rats became more common this year in terms of our service calls as well as people wanting to find information about them online,” said Scott Nolen, Truly Nolen Pest Control CEO/President.

In houses, pack rats are active at night, searching for food and nest material. Pack rats are known for their characteristic searching of materials to bring back to their nests creating an ever-expanding collection. As the name “pack rat” implies, they have a tendency to pack away small objects such as jewelry, utensils, can tabs, and other items.

A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying and “trade” it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

Pack rats can cause extensive damage to your property. Not only do pack rats damage and destroy landscaping, they can also chew through wiring, spoil food, and leave behind fecal pellets. They may also shred upholstered furniture and mattresses for lining nests.

In terms of getting rid of pack rats, there are three standard things people can do. “The most effective rat control begins with prevention by disposing of trash properly and maintaining sanitary conditions in a home,” said Nolen. “When pack rats become a problem in and around structures, making sure any openings in the structure foundation and pipes should be sealed as well as checking for openings in attic vents.”

The majority of pack rat populations in structures can be controlled by using traps. “Pack rats show little fear of new objects in their environment,” said Nolen.

For more information about pack rats, visit our pest identifier page at http://www.trulynolen.com/pest-identifier/, or to take care of your pack rat problem, call one of our local branches to schedule an inspection.

About Truly Nolen
Founded in 1938, Tucson, Arizona-based Truly Nolen of America is the largest family-owned pest control company in the United States. Truly Nolen has over 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TrulyNolen) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen).

 

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I’ve got traps everywhere, but I’ve caught no mice! They’re too smart so we called you guys.

I’ve got traps everywhere, but I’ve caught no mice! They’re too smart so we called you guys.

We just heard this at a commercial stop in Dedham yesterday. Yup, rodents love getting into just about anywhere this time of year, even a non-food service commercial account. It’s all about opportunity and survival. With 3+ feet of snow on the ground, how could one little brown or grey mouse ever have a hope of not starving to death during the winter unless he heads inside? During spring and summer mice can easily survive on a diet of berries, seeds or small insects found outside. But in this weather? Poor little thing wouldn’t have much of a chance out there. Plus, if you were a medium sized predator such as a hawk, or owl or even a desperate coyote, wouldn’t it be real easy to spot a brown mouse with all this bright white background (ok, mostly white, getting rather dirty looking lately though)?

So what makes a mouse check out your home or business rather than someone else’s? It’s all about opportunity and wind current. Mice aren’t fancy, they don’t carry expensive weather monitoring devices and they don’t watch the weather channel. But what they do have is VERY sensitive whiskers. With weak eyesight, these whiskers have really evolved into their strongest ability. The whiskers themselves can easily detect the faintest air current and heat from the smallest opening in the structure. Mice are very good climbers, but they’re typically very lazy. They’ll search for any openings along a structure (as small as a dime), usually at ground level or a short climb. If the mouse detects air current (especially warm air), they’ll pop in and check it out. Once inside all the heat and wonderful smells are enough to make the mouse never think about the outside again. They’re mammals just like us. I don’t see too many people stomping through snow to find food; they’re all in the supermarkets.

Once they’re inside the search is on. Food establishments offer everything these little guys desire. But what about an office building? Why are mouse droppings near my desk or even sometimes in my desk drawer or on my keyboard? That’s because you usually eat right there. If you want to gross yourself out, tip over your keyboard once in awhile. Along with dust and dead skin (gross), you’ll find all those little crumbs and jagged potato chip pieces that survived that fall off your mouth. Ever hide a snack in your desk drawer? This is always the best discovery. Holidays come and go and you thought you’d be nice and put out some candy for everyone. Everyone includes that annoying guy Josh in accounting who somehow always finds time to keep coming back to your desk. Each time he takes another piece thinking you won’t notice.  You finally learned your lesson and somehow you managed to keep a few pieces of Christmas chocolate for yourself! Good for you, better for the mice. How thoughtful of you. You keep seeing the exterminator come to the office, baffled why there are more and more droppings or sightings of mice but the traps and bait boxes are untouched. Show him your desk and whatever is left of your favorite candy. That is what he should be using to catch the mouse. Why would a mouse want stale peanut butter or waxy mouse bait when you’ve been feeding the entire litter with delicious Andes mints chocolates? Do yourself a favor and keep the candy in a sealed container!

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

 

Insect and rodent pests are excellent at taking advantage of changes in their environments, which could spell big trouble for homeowners and businesses with changing climates and shifting weather patterns in North America.

 

Below we have laid out three predictions of pest and pest prevention trends in 2015. As you may notice, some of these trends have already started to take shape (we’re looking at you, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug!).

 

Meet The Roof Rat

Often called the Black Rat or Ship Rat, the Roof Rat has been a perpetual offender to the deep south and coastal areas of the United States for some time. Recently, however, this pest has been creeping into land-locked areas and traveling ever further north. Roof Rats seek out elevated spaces and can do major damage to insulation, HVAC ducts, electrical components, and ornamental fixtures in your attic and wall voids. 

 

Increasing Bed Bug Activity In Non-Traditional Locations

The Bed Bug is a pest that has become an ever increasing nuisance and is not going away. In addition to expanding its footprint across North America, the Bed Bug is moving into areas where they have not traditionally been found. According to research performed by Truly Nolen Pest Prevention, bed bug business outside of hotels in the last 12 months has increased 16.1%. This could refer to anywhere people frequent, such as retail store fitting rooms, movie theaters, healthcare facilities, restaurants, gym locker rooms, and even the church pew. This spread to non-traditional locations can be attributed to the increase in the Bed Bug population and the fact that they are excellent hitchhikers. As a result of this increased activity of the Bed Bug, it may be a good idea to add thorough checks of your clothing and belongings after visiting these and other communal places before returning home to your 2015 resolution list.

 

Expanding Activity of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Over the past decade, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has become a very common pest in the Eastern U.S. Every fall we can count on seeing these flat, brown little pests crowding our windowsills and door frames, eventually finding their way into our kitchens and living rooms. While the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is largely a nuisance pest for homeowners, it can be very damaging to agriculture and, as a result, the U.S. economy. Expect this pest to continue its sprawl across the continent, moving further west in 2015.