Effective methods of rodents control include exclusion, habitat modification, trapping, and poison bait. The use of traps and/or poison baits can effectively provide short-term control. However, using the methods of exclusion and habitat modification described earlier can provide effective, long-term control by preventing rodent infestation.
House mice (Mus musculus) are the most common mammals in cities next to man and probably the most troublesome rodents in the United States. Their gnawing and nest building activities can cause structural damage. Often nests are made in large electrical appliances, where they may chew wiring as well as other insulation resulting in short-circuits or even fires. In addition, they are also health risk pests. House mice are transmitters of many diseases including the hantavirus, a virus that can target the lungs and cause pulmonary problems.
The roof rat or black rat (Rattus rattus) is an Old World rodent species not native to North America. The roof rat is implicated in the transmission of a number of diseases to humans, including murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, and plague.
It is also capable of transmitting a number of diseases to domestic animals and is suspected in the transference of ectoparasites from one place to another. In addition to consuming and contaminating stored food and feedstuffs, roof rats will gnaw on wiring (posing a fire hazard), and tear up insulation to use it for nesting material. The rats will feed on the fruit and vegetative portions of many landscape and garden plants including tree bark.
Roof rats are nocturnal (active at night). Roof rats prefer to forage for food above ground in elevated areas indoors and outdoors. They are agile climbers and travel through trees and along vines, wires, rafters, and rooftops.
They prefer to nest in secluded areas above ground in such places as attics, overhead garage storage, in the vine cover of fences or buildings, and in wood piles or other stored materials where harborage can be found.
Roof rats will also burrow in the ground especially in hot, dry environments. In these areas, they may use trees, materials stored on the ground, concrete slabs and sidewalks to support shallow burrows.