Aces Rodent Blog


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rat removal north shore
Rat extermination west auckland "ACES pest control deals with rodents in Auckland on a daily basis. We find that while mice are predictable, rats are not. This they look at each house or business and assess their approach for each situation. Only when they have the situation that suits them ( meaning the owner can't get them!) then they invade your home. As a result ACES bases its treatments following an inspection for rats to ensure we are successful. Rat are intelligent! Pays to hire a Professional Pest Control company that can take the time to access your situation. Here is an article from the States that hints at how smart rats can be...."   Rats get a bad rap Yes, okay, they're unkillable, disease-ridden fleabags who occasionally, uh, eat people alive. But they're also intelligent, highly empathetic and surprisingly relatable little critters who probably enjoyed Ratatouille just as much as you did. And now, one murine resident of Washington DC has shown they can be safety-conscious members of the community as well. Last summer, a condo building in the District was evacuated after a fire alarm sounded. But, strangely, there was no fire  so what happened? A glitch? A noisy consequence of the ongoing climate apocalypse? No  it was a rat. Caught red-pawed on security footage, the little guy literally jumped onto the alarm from a nearby handrail and pulled it down, setting off the siren. It is, however, unknown at this point whether the rat was pulling a prank or simply being overcautious. Washington DC has a long history with havoc-causing rodents  in 1967 a single rat left a third of the District without power for 45 minutes after it chewed through the wires of a local power station. And despite the local government's inventive range of weapons in the "eternal war" between rat and human, their numbers have only grown in recent years. This particular mischief-maker, however, has won hearts on Twitter thanks to his can-do, safety-conscious attitude.   Naturally, people couldn't help comparing the #FireAlarmRat to his spiritual predecessor, the original rodent sensation that was Pizza Rat. Seen by many as embodying the plucky, determined, and above all pizza-loving soul of New York, Pizza Rat went viral back in 2015 after thousands of people watched him do what we'd all do if we found a slice bigger than our entire bodies: dragging that badboy home on the subway for dinner.   So spare a thought for rats. They might be dirty, but they're also safety-conscious, pizza-loving goofballs who love tickles. And that whole black death thing? That was probably just a misunderstanding. After all, how can you stay mad at a critter who literally lives in a group collectively called a mischief? edited from an article by Katie Spalding from

rat control west auckland
Rat extermination central auckland Rats are a common pest in Auckland . ACES deals with them on a daily basis. Mostly people have tried their DIY efforts and it hasnt worked. Scientists estimate there is one rat per person, meaning there are at least 1.5 million rats in Auckland NZ. Here is an interesting overview on rats and how they affect us.    Imagine an initial population of two rats growing to more than 482 million in just 36 months, particularly in a large city such as London or New York. How is such a scenario possible? Consider the following: If a rat’s gestation period is 21 to 23 days, the size of a typical litter is five to 10 rat pups, and a rat’s birth cycle is three to six litters in a lifetime, than two rats today could quickly turn into 10 rats in just three months. Extending that same calculation, after one year, those two rats could potentially increase to 1,248 rodents. In 15 months there could be 6,232 rats, and so on, until after three years, nearly a half billion rats could be produced, resulting in a massive rodent problem.                                 According to a visually powerful marketing campaign developed by the global pest management company, XXXX, the remarkable reproductive potential of rats, as described above, is definitely possible. Fortunately, real-world factors exist such as lack of shelter, disease, predation, pest control, in-fighting and cannibalism that naturally limit such population explosions. Nonetheless, the numbers show just how quickly rats can reproduce under ideal conditions. Presenting the data in a visually compelling fashion via a sophisticated marketing campaign has been an effective way to raise awareness about the public health threat posed by rats. INCREASING VISIBILITY. From a marketing and awareness perspective, campaigns with eye-catching facts and figures can help raise awareness about pest issues while simultaneously raising the profile of the company behind the numbers. For the Rise of the Rats campaign, XXXX worked with Builtvisible, a digital marketing agency with experience developing high-profile campaigns. Jennifer Forbes, content marketing consultant at Builtvisible, said XXXX worked with her company to conceptualize a campaign that educated and raised awareness around how rat infestations happen and the rate at which they can spread. While information on the topic existed, we spotted an opportunity to bring it to life in an engaging, digestible digital format. After posting the Rise of the Rats campaign on XXXXX website, Builtvisible used animated GIFs, images and data stories to generate coverage in publications that aligned with XXXX target audiences, explains Forbes. Using search engine optimization (SEO) and other website marketing strategies, Builtvisible strategically placed a link to the campaign within the rodent section of the XXXX website. The approach produced effective results with a 688 percent global increase in organic page views related to XXXX rodent-related web pages. Essentially, the campaign allowed XXXX to appear higher in Google’s search results for certain rodent terms, while also adding value to potential customers searching for information related to the rising rat population.Digital PR and SEO activity are vital in today’s landscape as they both satisfy demands and needs in a very targeted way, Forbes says. GROWING AWARENESS. Aside from being a marketing tool for XXXX, the Rise of the Rats campaign has been designed to raise awareness about growing rat problems in urban settings. As Judy Black, vice president of technical services for XXXXX  the North American pest control brand of XXXX  noted, We need to be aware of rat activity in our major cities and we need to be addressing it. The reasons for an increase in rat issues might be different for different geographies, Black said. In a large city, for instance, Norway rats tend to breed more frequently and produce larger litters when they have access to multiple sources of food, water and harborage.                                             “If there isn’t good sanitation discipline in these cities, then you’re going to create a situation where they can maximize their reproductive potential, said Black. Proper sanitation is critical to the success of any rodent control program in urban settings. Therefore, city officials need to have a plan in place to address rat issues, and not just in commercial settings. Common areas, such as parks, also are affected, as well as abandoned buildings and homes where squatters might have moved in and created sanitation issues that are attractive to rodents. In such situations, rats can cause property damage and they have even been known to cause fires by chewing through electrical wiring. Rats also can contaminate and damage food. Additionally, Disease is  and certainly should be  a huge concern, states Black. The disease aspect, though, is not as understood by the general public as it is with the pest management industry, she added. When stories about rodent-related diseases and sicknesses make headlines, this will raise the issue into public consciousness for awhile, but this will eventually fade. Thus, pest management professionals should do their part to raise public awareness about problems related to rat populations. As Black noted, It is our duty as pest management professionals to continue to educate our clients on the issues that rats can cause. edited from an article by Nici Lucas taken from

Mice Carry Rare and Dangerous Diseases
Mice Carry Rare and Dangerous Diseases
West Auckland rat removal   Just this week ACES pest control was speaking to a customer whos family had unknowingly been made ill by rodents. ACES pest control has run into this issue a number of times where rodents make people unwell. It use to be that mice didnt carry serious diseases, but that has changed now. If you have rodents near you they need to be controlled or  they will make you and your family ill.    New York City house mice, the kind probably nibbling away in the pantry, are leaving behind more than an unwelcome mess. Big Apple mice carry a wide assortment of bacteria and viruses that can cause maladies ranging from mild to life-threatening in humans, according to research published Tuesday. Researchers from the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York gathered 416 mice from seven different sites across the five boroughs and  tested their fecal pellets. The droppings showed that mice across the city carry numerous dangerous diseases including shigella, salmonella, clostridium difficile and leptospira, which cause fever and gastrointestinal distress in humans. Some of the bacteria were resistant to three common antibiotics, the research showed.In addition, the mice carried 36 types of viruses, most of which had never before been seen in mice. Mice found in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, which were fatter than other mice, harbored the greatest number of viruses. The results were published in the journal mBio. The precise level of dangerousness of New York City mice feces was, until now, not fully researched. The findings, in part, confirm common sense: Mouse droppings really are stomach-churning. For the immunosuppressed, ill or very old, mice with pathogenic microbes can be especially dangerous. The city received roughly 18,000 complaints about mice in private residential properties last year via calls to 311, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  Complaints trigger contact to the property owner and potentially a visit by an inspector, the spokeswoman said. Public data show that some 250 calls were made to 311 about mice in schools last year.  Those complaints are handled by facility staff and treatment from exterminators, according to a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The mice in the study hailed primarily from multiunit residential buildings, which provide all the necessities food, shelter and warmth that mice need to live and breed rapidly.  From the fecal samples, scientists were able to determine that 37% of mice harbored at least one potentially pathogenic bacterium. Specifically, scientists recovered and cultured clostridium difficile,  demonstrating that the exact same bug circulating in human outbreaks is also found in mice. That finding is very strong evidence, although circumstantial, that mice may be a reservoir, said W. Ian Lipkin, one of the authors of the research and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity. Now, we don’t know which way it goes maybe it goes from humans into mice, mice into humans or both directions. It’s hard to say. A spokeswoman for the city’s health department said officials have no epidemiological evidence that mice serve as a reservoir for pathogens that pose a significant danger to residents. It is likely that mice are infected with the pathogens reported in this study as a result of exposure to humans and human environment, she said. One other important takeaway from the research is that there is no such thing as mild mice contamination of food, Dr. Lipkin said. If you have evidence of mouse contamination, and it’s not a sealed container, I’m worried about it, said Dr. Lipkin. A little bit of mouse contamination is a large problem. edited from original article by Melanie Grayce West

HUMANE and effective treatment for rats....
 HUMANE and effective  treatment for rats....
rat eradication albany auckland ACES pest control has used this method once for treating rats and it was 100% successful.  Not all rat jobs are suitable, but for some it offers a HUMANE control of rats. Also there is no residual  toxins to non target animals and the environment!  The CO2 - dry ice changes into a gas and as its heavier than air it sinks down into the borrows and put the rats to sleep without any suffering!   The city is ramping up its use of dry ice to plug rat burrows in parks. The ice fills their underground homes with carbon dioxide, suffocating the rats which often sleep during the day. It’s quicker, more humane and environmentally friendly than traditional rodenticide, which has felled hawks who sometimes snack on the poisoned critters. This is one weapon in what we do to fight rats in New York City,said Rick Simeone, director of pest control for the city’s Health Department, during a demonstration at Columbus Park in lower Manhattan.  And it completely eliminates any chance of secondary poisoning for hawks and birds of prey. Simeone said the city is increasing its use of dry ice because just last year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered the product Rat Ice from Bell Laboratories, and the New York State  Department of Environmental Conservation also registered it for use as a pesticide. Before that, several cities including New York conducted smaller pilot projects to control the rat population with dry ice. But the EPA wanted the dry ice registered as a product before it was widely used. It’s all part of Mayor de Blasio’s $32 million plan to reduce the city’s rat population, with a focus on the city’s high-infestation areas: Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side  in Manhattan and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Health Department officials said during the 2016 pilot project, dry ice helped slash the number of rat burrows at Columbus Park from 60 to just two. Tompkins Square Park saw a reduction of 368 burrows down to 20. I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve not seen a method, if it’s applied this way, that is this effective, Simeone said. Pest control workers must clearly define and mark rat burrow openings in order for the dry ice to be effective. You have to have a burrow system and an area where you identify the colony, said Simeone.If you apply the product correctly, you will eliminate those rats. Rats can have four to six litters of offspring a year, he said, especially in the warmer months. If you get in early like we are doing now before the winter ends, you will have less reproducing adults which should amount to less rats, he said. Simeone was quick to note the dry ice will not work in every scenario. The city’s efforts to use more closed trash containers in parks, and increase garbage pick ups is key to taming the rat population. Traditional rodenticide takes longer to work, he said. And rats might pass it by if they spot a tasty scrap of pizza or some leftover lunch. Still, the city will continue to use rat poison in some cases. But Parks Department officials said dry ice will be used in parks with rat activity that are also home to nesting raptors. That’s good news for wildlife rehabilitators Cathy and Bobby Horvath who have treated hawks, owls and other birds after they ingested rat poison. Bobby also serves as a city firefighter. This is a win for wildlife in the city, Bobby said. Any predator that preys on rodents is a potential victim for secondary poisoning, athough its only been documented in Birds of Prey.  On Tuesday, the City Council’s Sanitation Committee held a hearing on a package of rat mitigation bills. Some of the proposed legislation would require some buildings to take out garbage between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m. and require businesses to clean grease from their sidewalks. adapted from an article By Lisa L. Colangelo Call 0800 ACES2U for a free quote over the phone to see if this technique could be suitable for your situation

"Ratpocalypse" pest control issues with rats
rat pest control east coast bays auckland   "ACES pest control attended Dr Corrigans " Rat Acadamy" course in 2016 NPMA  Seattle meeting. It was standing room only! Bobby is the "go to guy" when all the other Pest Control Companies have tried and failed.  Bobby has a  scientific approach and has a Doctorate in Science. We hope you enjoy this article featuring Bobby as much as we enjoyed his course."    Milder winters allow rats to have more litters, and their population explosion could help spread diseases such as E. coli and bubonic plague. Is America on the verge of a ratpocalypse? Experts and officials are documenting growing numbers of rats across the United States, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. However, rats are notoriously difficult to study. The exact number of rat populations is unclear. In New York, for example, estimates range from 250,000 on the low end up to tens of millions.   The only thing certain is the numbers are growing. In July, New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged $32 million to combat the rodents. The city wants more rat corpses, he announced. New York may be the most prominent city in the United States to tackle its highly visible rat problem, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Other major metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Washington have all reported increased sightings. Milder winters mean more rats Bobby Corrigan, who holds a doctorate in rodentology, and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rats, told Healthline that if you spoke to health departments in 25 different cities, they’d all tell you we have more rats now than ever before. Even though that’s not empirical, that’s a pretty darn good indication, he said. Corrigan attributes growing rat populations in the United States and around the world to milder winters and growing human populations. Rats tend to reproduce less during the winter as cold weather makes it harder for the rodents to survive. But, as winters have become milder due in part to climate change over the past decade, rats have been able to produce extra litters.   More rats mean more disease The warmer weather also cascades down onto the various other parasites and bugs that depend on rats for survival. Disease-carrying ticks, mites, lice, and fleas are all more likely to survive and reproduce during mild winters. A similar problem manifested earlier this year when reports of increased tick-borne illnesses were largely attributed to booming populations of mice  the critters that spread ticks throughout forested areas. Simply put, says Corrigan, Winter doesn’t kill as much anymore because we don’t have hard winters. The risks of booming rat populations are manifold. The various ectoparasites that feed on rats are capable of spreading many different diseases, including rat bite fever and bubonic plague. While the plague is uncommon in the United States today, it still appears periodically, including this year in New Mexico. However, rats don’t even need to carry ectoparasites to spread disease. In fact, they are more than capable of spreading zoonotic diseases through contact with their urine and feces. A study from Columbia University in 2014 found that rats in New York carried everything from E. coli and salmonella to Seoul hantavirus and C. difficile. They don’t carry rabies. That’s the good news, says Corrigan.   Solutions are difficult The federal government isn’t actually involved in controlling rat populations as it is with many other public health problems. Between 1969 and 1982, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doled out grants to different cities under its Urban Rat Control program, but that ended under former President Ronald Reagan. A CDC spokesperson confirmed to Healthline that it no longer has any involvement with rat control. Since then, cities, businesses, and citizens have had to fend for themselves. You’re only as good as your worst neighbor down the street or outside the door who doesn’t do their trash right, said Corrigan.   People are the problem This leads to the second major part of the rat boom: humans. Rats have been called the mirror species of humans. When we thrive, they thrive. They share and inhabit the same cities that we do. More people, more trash, more trash, more pests, said Corrigan. For better or worse then, the solution to the rat problem begins with the human problem of waste management. That’s a mammal that needs the same thing you and I need. It needs food every single day. It needs water every day, explained Corrigan. If you have 16 rats, just one family of rats, they need a pound of food every night. That’s seven pounds of food every week going into those rats’ bellies, he noted. The implication is clear: Rats are getting all the food they need from humans. And while calls to pest control services are up across the country, and cities are trying new methods for killing rats  like using dry ice to suffocate them in their nests  in New York, Corrigan’s approach is far more benign. The only solution, according to Corrigan, is an approach that includes individual and government cooperation between everyone from city task forces, to grocery store and restaurant owners, to homeowners. If you want to keep rats out of your home and help control populations, it comes down to two things, he said. Ensure that all doors, including garage doors, leading into and out of your home are tightly closed. You should not be able to roll a number two pencil under a door, Corrigan said. The second is securing garbage appropriately.  Everybody thinks anybody can take out the garbage, so sometimes they’ll give it to the children to take out the garbage, says Corrigan. Taking out the garbage and storing the garbage correctly is something that needs attention. Instead of hiring an exterminator or putting out poison bait, why don’t you just simply get a better garbage can? he said.   "When ACES spoke to Bobby between lectures, he mentioned that high numbers of rats must always go hand in hand with a large food source. And he pointed out that the Vancouver rat study is showing   that the pest control of rats while  effective, creates a vacant territory, which other rats eventually move into with time. Meaning the net result is zero. He concluded in his course that the long term solution for urban rats is how humans manage the environment around them." Adapted from an article  by Gigen Mammoser

Mice control DIY tips
pest control auckland mice   ACES pest control finds that mice are year round problem in Auckland. 2016 and 2017 there have been more mice then rats. Mice are destructive often chewing electrical wires and sometimes high pressure mains plastic pipe resulting in major floods and $100 000.00s of damage. We have have around five customers call in with significant floods this year. Here is another point of view from Emily. Please read and enjoy.      HOUSE mice can be a nightmare for home owners who find them in their property. Do you know how to get rid of mice? What does a mouse eat? How do you trap them and what traps should you use? Do you know how to spot droppings?   House mice invade you home and eat your food, making it dirty and unpleasant to live in. However, do you know how to spot mice and how to get rid of them?   There are various signs of mice to look out for.   The first and most obvious sign is droppings. Mice should leave around 50 to 80 droppings per night.   How to spot mice droppings Rentokill describes mouse droppings as being around three to eight inches in length.   Mice do not defecate in corners or in a pattern like some animals, so you can expect to find them scattered all over the house.   What’s more, droppings could be hidden in a number of places, including in cupboards, above cupboards and along skirting boards. Droppings can be light brown or dark brown in colour depending on how long they have been there    Rat droppings are larger, from half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long - so if you find these you have a larger problem on your hands.      Get rid of mice: The signs of house mice - what does a mouse eat and how to trap them? What other signs of mice are there? Other signs of mice include creasy marks on the floor and bottoms of the walls - as mice tend to stick to the sides of rooms.   There is also the strong smell of urine, as mice urinate very often.   Scratching noises are also a signs that mice may well be living in your property.     Get rid of mice: What do mice eat?   Mice are thought tone very fond of cheese, however, it is not a staple of their diet and also not the most effective food to catch them with.   In fact, ACES a pest control company, claim peanut scent may well be a better lure for the small, furry animals.   Aside from this yummy treat, mice also like to grains, fruit, and seeds, so you may well catch them nibbling on your cereal.   While it seems that mice may eat cardboard and paper, they only chew these items to make comfy nests.       Traps are the most efficient ways to get rid of mice that are living in your home.   Website How To Get Rid of Mice recommends using electric shock traps, which they claim are humane, or a live trap that allows air to circulate through the trap.   Position a trap near where the mice seem to live, and also being new furniture.    How do you prevent mice returning?   The best way to prevent mice coming back is keeping your food in sealed containers at all times, to prevent mice rummaging through your cupboards.   Sealing of entrances to the house will also help keep mice at bay.       ACES pest control agrees with Emily that you should take steps to rodent proof house. Mice come from two areas in a house. Where there is an "under the house" e.g. Villa they come up from under the house via the travelling on top of the plumbing. Where the house is on a concrete slab they come in via the attached garage. All successful pest control treatments start with an inspection. ACES offers free rodent proofing advise following our inspection     modified from  EMILY HODGKIN article       for more information on  services offered by ACES pest control please click here for our services for rodents please click here for services for ants please click here and for cockroaches please click here

Jack- the awesome pest controller!!!!!
rat fumigation ponsonby auckland   ACES pest control once had the help of a customers dog finding rats. Jenny Jones told ACES her dog knows were the rats are. We did our inspection and an hour later, YES you guessed it Jennys dog was 100% correct! Some dogs are awesome pest controllers!   "Jack, the rat terrier, gets ready for work. His hearing is so acute he can hear the sound of a rat's heart beating.   Rat population boom blamed on cold B.C. winter Yoram Adler can't imagine a better work colleague. Jack is always up, always ready to take on a tough job, and always ready to kill.  "My daughter didn't want me to tell you this, but he's killed 36 rats and 11 mice. And two squirrels, by mistake," said Adler. At a mere 10 kilograms, the six-year-old rat terrier doesn't look lethal. On the contrary, he exudes the happy agreeability of a puppy. As for the killing part, he can't help it.  Seeking and destroying rodents is exactly what Jack was bred to do. It's also what makes him the perfect partner for Adler, an exterminator and co-owner of Vancouver's Integrated Pest Management. Targets rats "I love my canine partner. And I love the fact that he loves his work," said Adler, who believes Jack is the only working dog exterminator in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. Jack has been on the job for five years, targeting suspected rats with his keen sense of smell, strong prey drive, and hypersonic-like speed. Small size, big job Jack can smell mice, rats, squirrels and even bed bugs. His small size allows him to get into places humans cannot. (David Horemans/CBC) "Generally in the wintertime there's a lot more rodent calls than in the summer," said Adler. "He is able to inspect garages, basements and crawl spaces, and stick his nose under stuff and smell. When he finds his prey, he'll paw or bark to alert Adler. "Usually, he barks to tell me where they are. He'll also show me their routes  you know, where they are running." Adler said Jack will catch and kill rats and mice if he can. But when it comes to squirrels, Adler deploys his dog differently. Jack the chaser "We call it squirrel evictions," he said. "We'll go up in an attic and I'll give him a go word, which is 'Chippy.' I ask him, 'where's Chippy?' And he'll make a lot of noise growling and barking. "The squirrels hear that and run out. He's not the killer in that situation. He chases them out and then we block the entrance point with a one-way door — in case there are other squirrels still inside — or with mesh." To keep his skills sharp, Adler sometimes brings Jack to a downtown SkyTrain station where training doubles as community service. "He killed three rats there one night. I don't want to tell you which station, though. People will think it's overrun with rats." 'He just had to be taught' Jack has also become an expert in bed bug detection, something rat terriers don't normally do. Adler recognized how valuable the skill would be and set about finding someone locally who could train him. In the end, he hired a retired customs dog trainer, who, over a six-month period, schooled Jack in the canine craft of finding bedbugs. "The customs trainer trained him the same way as when they teach the customs dogs to find drugs and money," said Adler. "I knew he could do it, he just had to be taught." President's pooch As a breed, rat terriers grew in prominence at the turn of the last century when  as the story goes President Teddy Roosevelt used them to rid the White House of a terrible rat infestation.  Adler calls Roosevelt "one of my history heroes," and credits the story for making him aware of the breed. When his daughter started begging for a puppy, he thought, 'why not get one that could help on the job?'  Working dogs don't always make good family pets but Jack has proven an easy fit in both worlds.  "He cuddles up on the couch and watches the Canucks' games with me," Adler said. "He sleeps on our bed and tries to lick our faces after he's done his work, which my wife doesn't necessarily like," said Adler. Job well done With another site cleared, Jack jumps into Adler's trunk. The two will head home for some play time, treats and rest before the next call. (David Horemans/CBC) Adler has never advertised Jack's services because there's never been a shortage of word-of-mouth referrals. But he is considering putting the dog's photo on a new work truck, which is set to hit the road. "People like the dog, they gravitate towards the dog because he's very friendly," Adler said. "But mostly they like that there's a canine expert inspecting their house." adapted from and article by Karin Larsen,

mice are an old pest control issue!
Mice pest control grey lynn auckland Mice exermination could be the oldest profession? Its been said before- there is nothing new under the sun. Never more true, when it comes to mice.  If you ever get a house, eventually you get a mouse or so Ogden Nash once wrote. And science seems to be catching up with poetry. The standard thinking until now has been that the house mouse, Mus musculus, only began its intimate relationship with humans at the dawn of agriculture, roughly 11,500 years ago. In effect, you had to have a farm, not just a house, before mice moved in to raid the stored grain. It turns out, however, that the house alone. A hut even was enough to do the trick, according to a new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. M. musculus began to hang around with humans, the study’s authors wrote, at least 15,000 years ago, during the so-called Natufian era in the Middle East, when late-stage hunter–gatherers were just beginning to adopt a more settled way of life. It was an on-again, off-again relationship at first, with both species occupying the same settlements for a season or a two at a time. But for the mouse already becoming the house mouse—that early connection became the springboard to world conquest as one of humanity’s closest companions. Even though the new study is limited to mice, co-author Fiona Marshall of Washington University in Saint Louis speculates house cats might also have begun their relationship with humans in the preagricultural period. (Cats tend to follow mice, as Ogden Nash noted, “in a trice.”) The study also relies on evidence from an archaeological dig at Ain Mallaha in northern Israel that is already well known for the earliest archaeological evidence of dog domestication: In a 15,000-year-old grave there, a woman buried in a loose fetal position rests her hand against the body of a small puppy. The authors describe the preagricultural shift to a more settled way of life as a turning point in human and environmental history with “a profound, long-lasting and unpredictable influence on the human niche”—and the mice, cats, dogs and other familiar species that came to cohabit it. To examine the mouse connection in detail, the researchers took a new look at seemingly insignificant specimens mouse teeth that had been sitting on the shelf in a natural history museum for decades. The pioneering Israeli archaeozoologist Eitan Tchernov excavated many of them beginning in the 1950s, and he saw enough evidence even then to theorize about the unexpected abundance of house mice in hunter gatherer settlements. But he didn’t have the radiocarbon dates we have now, says co-author Lior Weissbrod, an archaeozoologist at the University of Haifa.  The understanding of the timing of the Natufian really changed with carbon 14 dating and the switch to accelerator mass spectrometry as a technique for accurately dating small samples, beginning in the 1980s. The new study also had the advantage of high-precision digital photography and computer-assisted analysis to make side-by-side comparisons of 372 mouse teeth, from a 200,000-year span at five sites around Israel. That enabled the co-authors to distinguish easily, by the shape of the teeth, between the familiar, long-tailed M. musculus and its short-tailed cousin Mus macedonius. During periods of human occupation, the researchers found, musculus moved into human settlements, probably attracted by food waste and small stores of foraged barley, wild wheat and nuts. Something about musculus made it better suited than M. macedonius to thrive in the dark corners of human habitations. A longer tail, for instance, might have made it more agile for climbing and for escape.  In any case, the abundance of musculus specimens during periods of human occupation, the co-authors wrote, indicates musculus effectively outcompeted macedonius. But during periods when humans resumed their nomadic ways, macedonius took over again around their abandoned settlements. The results are of interest, Weissbrod says, partly because human intentionality,  which complicates the question of how cats or dogs became domesticated, does not really come into play with mice. “When we’re looking at mice and at shifting proportions of two mouse species over time, we are looking purely at ecology, the effects of settlements on mice, and not at human intentions.” As a reality check on ancient ecology, the study also includes evidence about changing populations of two closely related mouse species in modern Kenya. On the southern border there, a Maasai community is now making the shift from a herding way of life to periods of increasing settlement, much as the Natufians did 15,000 years ago.  And again, a long-tailed mouse, this time Acomys ignitus, appears to thrive in human habitations, outcompeting its short-tailed neighbor, Acomys wilsoni. The Maasai do not store large quantities of grain, says Weissbrod, who conducted that part of the study, and they expressed no strong feelings about the mice that had begun to live among them. Intentionality only turned up, he notes, among neighbors who farm and store grain, and tend to talk about mice, predictably, in terms of how to get rid of them. The connection between mice and preagricultural humans is certainly for me a new finding and interesting, says Jeremy Searle, a Cornell University evolutionary biologist who has written extensively about domestication of both cats and mice but did not participate in the new study. “We have tended to think that house mice have been associated with humans only when there are large quantities of stored grain from farming. He calls the study genuinely a new approach.  I really love the fact that something like the house mouse not a big keystone species, not high profile, not charismatic is giving us a wonderful window on some of the more momentous events in human history,” adds the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Melinda Zeder, who also was not part of the work. “What this is showing,” says Zeder, an influential thinker on commensalism and domestication, is that the increasingly settled character of human communities really has definite impacts on the natural world and not just in a negative way. “It’s building what one might call an anthropogenic niche, and it’s creating a host of opportunities. For mice, of course, but also for archaeologists who see this whole range of mesocarnivores affiliating with these human environments. The number of wild cat and fox bones increases dramatically as well as things like weasels, badgers, martens, polecats, Zeder says. Until recently people tended to think about domestication as a matter of human mastery  over nature, she adds.  But as we understand the process of domestication more, we see it in terms of these mutualisms, these ecological systems that people are part of,” with humans and other species each looking to its own advantage, sometimes to the benefit of both. The new study fits this more mutual way of thinking about domestication, with preagricultural settlements like Ain Mallaha as the stage on which species—mice, cats, dogs and also humans in effect “tried out” for life with one another. We are still ambivalent about some of the resulting associations. Ogden Nash, for instance, thought cats were ultimately more annoying than mice. But for many of us, it was the beginning of some of our most beautiful friendships. original article By Richard Conniff published in Scientific American  modified by ACES pest control

rats and housing issues
mouse extermination takpauna auckland   ACES pest control is often asked to work with either the tenant or the landlord on the issue of rodent control. ACES provides online payment meaning the landlord doesnt have to be present to make payment at the appointment date.    Tenant with rats in walls can't afford to move     A woman living in a Wellington flat with rats in the walls says the Prime Minister's view that soaring rental prices are a sign of "success" is stupid and ridiculous. A social housing provider said the shortage in the capital was the worst it had been. Yet Prime Minister Bill English remains steadfast that there is no housing crisis. Rental prices shot up 7 percent last year in Wellington to a median of $480 a week. At the same time, the number of properties available for rent plunged. Wellington's prices are just shy of Auckland's. When asked if he was concerned that a queue of prospective renters lined up outside a flat in Wellington at the weekend, Mr English said the heated Wellington rental market was a "problem of success". The rental squeeze was a concern for people looking for accommodation in the capital, but he believed the Wellington City Council understood the problem, he said. "I hope they [the council] are working hard to enable the development that's needed," he said. "Wellington hasn't experienced pressure on its housing market for quite a long time. And as long as they respond quickly, they'll be able to deal with it." Mr English maintained housing was not as big an issue as some said. "No, I don't think there's a housing crisis". A renter from the suburb of Brooklyn said she, her partner and their newborn baby live in a house with rats in the walls. She said it was covered in black mould when they moved in. They could not afford something better so were reluctantly renewing their lease. RatsA Brooklyn renter says she is living with rodents because she can't afford to move. Photo: 123RF For that reason she asked RNZ not to use her name. When asked what she made of Mr English's comment, she said, "Success for whom?" "We went to a whole bunch of open homes and you just see so many people that are in similar situations to us, or have more kids, it's just impossible. "Is the city, are the councillors, successful because a whole bunch of people in their city can't find a place to live? It's just stupid." Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Mr English's comment showed he was out of touch. "This is a housing market that is beginning to look like Auckland and some of the other markets around the country - it's enriching landlords, speculators and those who own their own homes, but it's impoverishing everyone else, including the half of the population that are renters. "This is not good news," Mr Twyford said. At a public meeting on renting in Wellington last night, social housing provider Dwell chief executive Alison Cadman said there was a housing need in Wellington when she started the job 13 years ago. "I hoped at that time I'd stand here 13 years later, today, and say things are better - but they're just a whole lot worse," she told the meeting, which was organised by the Labour Party. "On top of being a whole lot worse, I just think the stories are a lot sadder and a lot more complex as well." Ms Cadman said since 2001 the Wellington region had lost more than 1200 social houses. The region was going backwards "big-time", she said. by Benedict Collins

the Vancouver rat project
I smell a (Vancouver) rat   Recently ACES pest control attended the NPMA meeting in Seattle- Washington State USA.  Dr. Chelsea Himsworth gave an update on the study and how they are following various rat populations of Norway Rats in the downtown Vancouver area. This study is the first study in the world to observe a rat population in the wild, by catching, tagging, releasing and observing their habits. One of the  focuses  of the study is  disease. Not only what type of disease the rats have but can their  disease transfer from   to humans and  can the rats catch diseases from humans too? Here is an introdction to the project from Ada Slivinski.   "Pest control companies in Vancouver have said 2015 was a record-setting year for calls about rodents. Brett Johnson, president of the Structural Pest Management Association of B.C. told the CBC, "There’s been an increase for sure." We don’t know how big an increase because politicians turn a blind eye to the problem  refusing to study, let alone address, the issue. Rodents of all kinds carry disease. As much as we’d like to think Black Death or rat-associated Bubonic Plague outbreaks will stay in the Middle Ages, unfortunately this disease isn’t bound to the history books. There have been 13 outbreaks of the nefarious disease between 2009 and 2013, including places like Peru, China and as many as 600 cases in Madagascar. Dr. Chelsea Himsworth, lead researcher for the Vancouver Rat Project, said there is a pronounced knowledge gap in Canada when it comes to rats. The rodent outbreak is not being taken seriously by political leaders as a potential health hazard. Mayor Gregor Robertson has said in the past that the increased rodent sightings couldn’t possibly be linked to the city’s mandatory food scrap composting program, despite the fact that the jump seemed to happen around that time. Proponents of the green bins argue that nothing has changed except the location of food waste  what was previously in garbage bins has just been moved to another container. But the containers are filled and re-filled with nothing but rotting food, tough to clean, and their contents are seldom bagged, making them attractive to rodents. Last year, TransLink received complaints about infestations in SkyTrain stations and rats took over the playground of a local daycare  located adjacent to several green bins  to the point where children were no longer allowed to play outside. Himsworth has found that Vancouver rats are infected with a number of zoonotic pathogens, including the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)  never-before seen in rats. Her research shows the rats are likely contracting it from infected people in the Downtown Eastside and though the superbug hasn’t yet made the leap back from rats to humans, that transmission pattern is not unlikely. Himsworth said rats can be a sponge, soaking up bacteria like E. coli through their contact with human sewage. It all sounds pretty scary. So why aren’t officials taking this concern seriously? When interviewed by the Georgia Straight, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health said there was no cause for concern and that disease from rats was unlikely to be transmitted to humans. HealthLink BC’s recommendation for getting rid of rodents is to kill them with traps, but the Vancouver Rat Project found this strategy could actually make the problem worse by causing other rats in the area to move. All it takes is one rat carrying the bubonic pathogen to jump on a ship headed to Vancouver to bring the disease here. As for MRSA, our rats already have that. Vancouver rats present a real health hazard, and it’s time politicians woke up to this fact."  by Ada Slivinski.   Dr Bobby Corrighan one of the Worlds foremost experts on rodents recommeneds  that if you want to learn about rodents,  follow this ground breaking-world first study.  ACES pest control  will keep you up to date!