“We have never seen anything like this in the 30+ years we have collectively been at it. With construction on the rise and rodent populations exploding, Calgary homes are under siege. We need to educate homeowners on the risks these rodents pose to their homes and health.”
Reese M., owner of Standard Pest Control, completing an inspection of a clients roof in Calgary, AB
Exhibit 1. House Mouse
Exhibit 2. Field Mouse (Vole)
Homes in Alberta are threatened by two distinct rodent species, mice & field mice (voles). It is critical that you take the proper precautions to prevent damage from these rodents, especially in the fall and winter.
Mice pose the largest risk to human health and homes. House mice will enter homes in the fall searching for food and shelter. They will enter through door seals, utility lines, and small cracks & crevices in the walls and foundation. Mice can climb, jump, and squeeze through openings the size of a pencil, making them almost impossible to keep out, even on brand new homes.
Field mice, or voles, on the other hand, prefer to stay outside and are active year-round. Voles will leave tracks throughout the lawn underneath the snow, which is often seen in the spring time when the snow melts. Aside from the nuisance damage caused to the lawn every spring, voles cause two expensive types of damage to your property. Tunnelling and girdling (chewing on trees and plants).
If you’ve noticed your juniper bushes on the property drying out and appearing to die, regardless of how much you water it, this is likely a symptom of vole nesting. Voles will chew the bark off of low hanging branches, roots and the bases of small trees, which restricts water supply to the plant and kills it.
If you see small, loonie-sized tunnels along your sidewalks, driveways, patios or foundation, that is likely vole nesting. The trouble with these guys is that they hollow out the area underneath the concrete, which then washes out in the rain and eventually causes sinking and cracking, which causes thousands of dollars to repair.
If you believe you have voles on your property, we recommend contacting a professional to deal with this issue quickly and effectively to prevent further damage. If you would like to get a quote from Reese and her team, please click here.
Exhibit 4. Vole tracks emerging from a juniper
Exhibit 5. Voles nesting underneath a walkway
Once inside, mice will often go undetected for months, as they will often keep inside walls and less trafficked areas of the home, such as attics, garages, and storage rooms. The challenge with mice is that they reproduce extremely fast, with a female mouse having up to 150 babies per year. When a homeowner sees a mouse inside and calls us, we typically find there are dozens more mice inside.
Mice spread over 200 human pathogens, contaminate food (especially pet food), and will chew on electrical wiring, causing appliances to fail and in some cases even fires.
Exhibit 3. A female mouse will have up to 150 babies per year
So… what can you do about this?
There are a number of steps we recommend all homeowners take in order to help mitigate the risks associated with these pests.
*Disclaimer* We are licensed professionals and deal with these situations on a daily basis. If it is within your budget, we highly recommend having an experienced professional service your home in order to ensure it is done properly. Licensed professionals also have access to products not sold over-the-counter that are far more effective. If you would like to schedule a service with Reese and her team here at Standard Pest Control, please contact us ASAP as we have very limited availability for new clients.
At a MINIMUM, you should complete these 3 steps to prevent costly rodent damage:
1. Complete regular inspections of your home and property
On a regular basis (at a minimum, once every season) you should walk around your home and property and look for signs of tunnelling, girdling and possible entry points for mice. One great way to check your garage is to turn off all of the lights and go inside your garage. If you see light coming in, mice can get inside.
2. Seal any rodent entry points
Using expanding foam, vent covers, and steel-mesh, seal any and all entry points on your home that are larger than a #2 pencil. Also consider replacing the door seals on your home for added protection.
3. Set rodent traps
Residential, over-the-counter rodent poisons can be effective on mice, however they WILL NOT WORK ON VOLES. This is because OTC rodenticides are mandated by law to include a product called Bitrax, which produces an extremely putrid taste to discourage kids and pets from consuming the product. Mice are generally not picky and will eat the products, however voles consume a plant-based diet and will not consume sufficient quantities of this product, rendering it highly ineffective on them. The best product available to consumers who do not hold pest control licensing are wooden snap-traps.
Once again, in my experience owning and operating a pest control company, I see the vast majority of do-it-yourself solutions be highly ineffective on these pests, and recommend having an experienced pest professional service your home. If you would like to get a quote, please click here