Ladies – forget about getting your husbands to rid your home and the surroundings of rats and mice; instead, call in the experts to assist.
With climate change resulting in global warming, there has been an upsurge in the number of rodents in our environment.
Rats and mice are everywhere, and they cause havoc in our lives, carrying diseases such as hepatitis, jaundice, plague and salmonellosis. Additionally, they cause damage to buildings, electric wiring, furniture and other materials.
Rats nest in places such as trees, shrubs, food stores, ceilings and roofs as well as close to rubbish bins and dumps.
Rats start breeding as early as six weeks, as often as four times a year and have litters from between eight and ten babies being born every time! It should therefore not come as a surprise that the rat population is exploding causing infestations.
Rats transmit disease by a person having direct contact with them, their faeces and their urine. People can also become ill by consuming food and water that is contaminated with the faeces and urine of rats and mice, too.
Rats and mice are carriers of parasites including fleas, ticks and live, causing diseases including leptospirosis, Bartonella, food poisoning and plague which, as we know, can affect an entire population. Who can forget the Black Death, which was one of the biggest pandemics in human history, wiping out 200 million people in Eurasia?
Leptospirosis is caused by the urine of rats being in contact with any broken skin of a human or the ingestion of contaminated food.
Bartonella can infect healthy humans when they are bitten by fleas or ticks carried by rats. The disease is particularly harmful to HIV positive individuals who have long-term infections.
Rat bits is a worry in communities – particularly babies and young children when they are sleeping when they bite their noses, fingers or toes or other soft parts on their bodies.
The rat population needs to be discouraged in our communities, though, as getting rid of them is a temporary measure. People preparing food and washing pots in drains and disposing of food in catch pits will encourage the presence of rats and mice.
Scrap food needs to be separated from water and waste should be disposed of correctly. Rat infestations will only be eliminated if sources of food and water are unavailable to them on all levels. Try and get rid of sources of food and water as rats will never eat poison while there are other food sources readily available to them.
DIY eradication of rats and mice just won’t cut it – that is why it is imperative to call on the experts.
Although there are many different types of mice in South Africa there are two main species that are problematic. The two most common mice found are the House Mouse and the Field Mouse, but did you know that apart from humans, the striped mouse is perhaps the most common mammal in South Africa?
Striped Mouse (Rhabdormys Spec.)
This genus is so prolific because it can live in different habitats whether moist grasslands, desert regions, mountains and at the edge of forests.
The striped mouse got its name from its four characteristic dark stripes on its back, separated by three lighter stripes.
Field Mouse (Apodemes Sylvaticus)
Field mice hardly ever go inside buildings, unless they get cold during winter. These mice are often found in outbuildings and sheds where fruit, grain and vegetables are stored.
Suffice to say, they are a huge problem for farmers and businesses that operate in the agricultural sector.
The lifecycle of the Field Mouse
The lifespan of a field mouse is about two or three months, although they can survive up to twenty months in the wild, and two or more years in captivity.
The breeding season is usually between March and April to October and November. Gestation is in the region of 25 days. Survival of the young and adults is poor during the first half of the breeding season as adult males can become aggressive towards one another and to the young, who are then driven from the nest.
It is difficult to eradicate mice using DIY methods as they breed prolifically – a far better option is to call in the experts to rid your yard or farm areas of these pests. Professional advice and expertise are vital to keeping field mice in check.
House Mouse (Mus Musculus)
House Mice are active throughout the year, which means they can always become problematic.
The House Mouse has relatively small feet and a small head with large eyes and ears which distinguishes it from brown rats (Rattus Norvegicus).
The house mouse is usually ground living and burrowing, but often climbs, with its food preference being cereals. They can eat as much as 3g of food a day and can survive without any added water but will drink up to 3ml a day if their food is especially dry.
The lifecycle of the House Mouse
The House Mouse produces between four to sixteen young per litter between seven and eight times a year with a gestation period of three weeks.
Managing mice infestations using bait alone is not enough – improving living conditions and hygiene in general and calling in an expert pest control company is essential to keep these pests at bay.
Living in Africa means that we live alongside a whole host of bugs inside and outside the home. Some insects are so problematic that the only way we can eradicate these is by calling on the experts to take care of the problem and for expert advice.
Predatory insects kill other insects and eat their victim’s bodies. Spiders, predatory beetles such as ladybird beetles, ant lions, ants, praying mantis, wasps, predatory flies, lacewings, predatory mites and nematodes are some significant predatory insects.
These insects are not only pretty to look at – they are pretty awesome little warriors in the garden, too.
Ladybugs can eat up to sixty problematic aphids in a single day and nurture and protect plants from destructive insects.
The praying mantis is a regal insect that cleans up the garden by killing insects that love to eat vegetables; it is a good idea to keep these little hard-working soldiers to be as they are hard at work keeping problematic insects away.
Spiders belong to the arachnid species and although many of us are afraid of these eight-legged creatures, they keep mosquitoes and other unwelcome insects under control. Obviously, there are some spider species that should not be left alone, such as the black widow spiders which are poisonous and could cause harm to humans and pets – call your specialist pest control expert to eradicate poisonous spiders.
Yes, they are minute, and yes, they are incredible at keeping other unpleasant and harmful bugs in check! This minuscule bug is responsible for the eliminations of caterpillars, whitefly and aphids – all in one tiny little insect.
Butterflies are beautiful and come in myriad shapes and colours. These lovely insects are excellent pollinators in orchards, vegetable gardens and flower gardens.
Ground beetles eat the seeds of weeds.
There is a whole host of beneficial insects out there. Encouraging beneficial insects into your garden is vital if you are to successfully grow organic fruit and vegetables. Helpful insects assist in controlling pests, rejuvenate the soil, and pollinate plants; all these are an essential function for many food plants to produce food.
It is difficult to control weeds on the lawn, in gardens and on verges – but once achieved, a beautiful, lush lawn and healthy garden is a true thing of beauty!
Weeds grow everywhere, although, with a little bit of effort, these can be brought under control, and often eradicated altogether. Climate change has had a detrimental effect on plants in general, resulting in water restrictions and the way in which we garden and what type of plants we are now selecting to grow.
Being waterwise is the way going forward for so many South Africans, and many homeowners are now leaning towards indigenous gardening, often choosing succulents that are both hardy and look quite splendid when grown with a little creativity – and of course, they hardly need any water at all.
Sadly, lawns have also fallen victim to the changes we are now experiencing from climate change, and often encourage weeds to spring up everywhere.
Winter is a brilliant time to tackle the weed problems head-on that we experience in the summer growth months.
Proper care and weed control encourage the correct plants to flourish while the weeds are eliminated. Herbicides are great for killing off any nasty weeds when the right choice of weed killer is used to take care of this problem, although incorrect pesticides can actually kill off your entire lawn, shrubs, flowers and other plants; that is why expertise is required if you want a job done well first time around.
Selective herbicides have been made to kill only some weeds while non-selective solutions will kill absolutely every plant they come into contact with.
The back-breaking method of removing weeds is no longer necessary as correct chemical weed killers are straightforward in their applications. Herbicides take over by killing the unwanted weeds from the inside out.
For the best results, it is advisable to use pest control professionals to ensure a job well done.
When things go bump in the night in your roof, it is time to call in the experts to help eradicate the problem. Ceiling cavities are perfect breeding grounds for rats and mice – they destroy electric cables that could even cause fires, not to mention the mess they create.
Furthermore, roofs and ceilings are perfect environments for nesting birds that can spread disease and are hosts to fleas. Investigate the noises you hear without delay as nests and droppings are breeding sites for insects which might cause nasty infestations and even diseases in your home.
You will soon find the tell-tale signs of creatures in your roof and ceilings as the droppings are there to lead you to the culprits. Pigeons and Indian Mynas are species of birds that make nests in roof spaces and are also a health risk as well as being a bother and are quite noisy.
Once birds are successfully removed, their entry points need to be blocked with chicken mesh wire, spikes or a solid barrier. This is where expert pest control specialists should be called in to assist in eradicating the problem. Scaring them away might solve the problem in the short-term, but the secret really lies in getting rid of the problem on a permanent, more long-term basis.
When getting rid of bats in the roof or the ceiling – it is a good idea to do some research regarding the protection of bats in South Africa. By calling in the experts will put you on the right path as it is an offence to kill or remove bats or to change or block their roosts as they return to the same roosting spots each year.
Eradicating pests in the roof is more complicated than meets the eye; this is reason enough not to try and tackle the problem on your own, but to rather call in the experts to assist in a professional manner.
Prevention is always better than cure – this is especially the case when avoiding bites and stings in and around the home.
Keeping your family home and garden safe and your family bite-free right throughout the year (and not only the hot summer months), is important, and the best way to do that as effectively as possible is by ensuring the house is not only pristinely clean from insects at all times, but that the garden does not harbour nasty nests of spiders, wasps, hornets and bees, as well as other creatures.
Play it safe by calling in the experts to assist.
To avoid you and your family being bitten; choose to go the non-toxic route by selecting alternatives rather than chemical products that could have an adverse effect on the health of you and your loved ones.
About mosquito repellents
- DEET is the main ingredient in commercial insect repellents (Diethyl-methyl-toluamide)
- It is extremely effective against insects
- It is a synthetic chemical which is a neurotoxin that could have possible long-term, negative effects
- Repellents that contain DEET should never ever be applied to infants under the age of two months of age
Instead of using repellents with DEET, use these natural alternatives
- The essential oils in Catnip are about 10 x more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes, spiders, bees, and flies
- Lavender oil and black pepper essential oils are commonly used as effective insect repellents – these are all best diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil, apricot kernel oil or coconut oil
- Neem oil or neem seed oil is also more effective than DEET
There is no point in posing potential health threats to yourself and your loved ones. Call in the experts to avoid bites and stings and other health threats to ensure you live as bug-free an existence as possible.
Make today the first day of the rest of your life to enjoy a healthy and clean environment .