Rats & Mice in Virginia

Rodents in VA

Rodents are well adapted to living with or in close proximity to humans and potentially contaminate our foods, homes, and businesses with their fecal and urine deposits. In addition, rats and mice may create conditions that can lead to allergies and diseases such as Hantavirus, Lyme disease and food borne diseases. While there are many rat and mice control tools, such as traps, glue boards, and baits available to homeowners, the most effective and efficient way to prevent or control an existing infestation is to contact your Orkin pest specialist. They will conduct an inspection and develop an integrated management plan consisting of exclusion, sanitation, clutter removal, and use of traps and baits.


Roof Rats

The distribution of roof rats in Virginia generally consists of the warmer, coastal areas of the State. However, these rodents may move inland in cargo or shipping containers, so they could be found up to 50-70 miles inland of the coastal areas. Also called black rats, ship rats and house rats, they are usually more active during the day than at night. While roof rats generally live outdoors, if sufficient food and shelter is available they will live in attics, ceilings, and wall voids. In addition to contaminating the interior of a home or business, roof rats are known to gnaw on wires, which may cause electrical circuit problems and even fires.

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Norway Rats

Norway rats are the “big rats” that occur in areas around where people live. In fact, some mature adult rats may reach a length of around 16 inches long, including their tail. These rats are also very bulky when compared to other urban rodents. Norway rats usually prefer to live outdoors rather than in inside structures. They are burrowing rodents that depend on the protection of their underground nest burrows. Other nesting sites include sewers, basements, and ground levels of buildings. If thick vegetation is allowed to grow around the perimeter of a home or office building, the potential of Norway rats burrowing in these habitats is quite likely.

These rodents are more active at night than during the day, but in locations where the population is large and competition for food is pronounced, their activity might also be observed during the day. Norway rats prefer to eat garbage and other wastes left by people. As omnivores, the pests will consume grains, meats, seeds, cockroaches, fruit, and other food wastes around homes and businesses. They are extremely wary of anything they perceive as a danger to their environment and this behavior is one of the reasons why the most effective and efficient way to prevent and reduce the presence of these rats is to employ the services of your pest management professional.

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Common House Mouse

The house mouse is the most common domestic rodent found in and around Virginia homes and businesses. These creatures are very well adapted to survival. Generally, they cause only minor damage when nesting and active outdoors, but they are very capable of getting inside structures to get food and shelter. They only need a crack of about ¼ inch or a hole about the size of a dime to get inside. Once inside and away from the elements and predators of their exterior habitats, their populations can multiply very quickly. In favorable interior environments, one house mouse female might produce from 30-50 or more mice in her lifetime. While the outdoor breeding season is generally the spring and fall, they can breed more or less the entire year indoors.

Clutter, poorly organized, unsanitary locations behind appliances, kitchen cabinets, under sinks and food pantries are the areas most likely to provide food and harborage for mice inside a home.

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White-Footed Mouse

This rodent is typically found in the rural and rural-suburban portions of the State. Their presence in the cities and urban areas are limited, with the possible exceptions of forested parks and wildlife areas located within the city’s limits. The white-footed mouse is very important within Virginia since it is one of the animal reservoirs of Lyme disease. The association between these mice and ticks that feed upon them and other hosts makes this rodent extremely important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2015, Virginia was the ninth most prevalent state in our country for confirmed cases of Lyme disease.

These mice feed on insects, nuts, seeds, and berries. Their preferred habitats are forests and brush lands, but more specifically, the forests edge where vegetation is low and scrubby. Forested areas located next to an area of grass, weeds, or other low growing vegetation is likely to support white-footed mice in a suburban area. However, these mice will also construct nests in the walls at ground level of buildings.