Are rodents getting bigger? Recent research indicates that it may be the case. Climate change and urbanization are impacting the size of mammals including our commensal rodent species: house mouse, roof rat, and Norway rat.
Researchers evaluated over a hundred thousand records of North American mammals to see if there have been changes in body size and the impact. Rodents in urban environments were longer and heavier than the rural individuals. However, his isn’t entirely based on warmer temperatures. A new study shows urbanization is causing many mammal species to grow bigger, possibly because of readily available food in places packed with people. Urban areas typically have more food and shelter, and fewer predators.
What do bigger rodents mean for pest control professionals?
For starters, bigger animals need more food to sustain their bodies. In urban areas, more bait may be needed in bait stations. Rodents will be eating more, and to maintain a constant supply of fresh bait, more rodenticides may need to be used. Let’s use the example of bait stations that get serviced monthly. If a bait station has heavy activity and all the bait gets eaten in a week, there are three to four weeks where rodents will not get any rodenticide. That will be at least three weeks for rodents to damage foods and homes and continue to reproduce unchecked.
Consider using the maximum amount of bait in a locked and secured station like the EZ Secured Rodent Bait Station for stations that have heavy activity. If the bait is still completely consumed by the next visit, add additional EZ Secured stations or add in extra service visits. When using rodenticides and insecticides, always read and follow all label precautions and use directions.
Another consideration with larger mice and rats is to use a bigger, sturdier trap. Small snap traps and multi-catch traps are great for small mice and juvenile rats, but bigger rodents may not be able to enter smaller traps. Or they can set them off without being captured and get trap-shy. For adult rodents, use a larger snap trap like the EZ Snap Rat Trap. Not only is this a robust trap, it is contained in a station. This station provides a dark, enclosed space that makes a rodent feel secure; as opposed to an open snap trap on the floor.
With bigger body sizes and larger appetites, sanitation becomes even more important in reducing rodent populations. Removing food sources can drive rodents to bait stations faster and it can stress out populations. If a rodent is hungry, its primary goal is to find food. They will mate slower, generate fewer offspring, and be more prone to predators because they are out foraging more. Sanitation also helps reduce their habitat. Cleaning up overgrown areas reduces the areas they have for burrows and nests.
Rodents are getting bigger, but there are still great tools for managing their populations. If you would like more info on rodent control and any rodent control tools, contact us here.