For many thousands of years, humanity has built permanent settlements and farmed many crops and domesticated livestock species. This transformed human society from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to civilization, and while that was a major step forward, there were some consequences. Mainly, having a permanent settlement with stored grain and foodstuff attracted a lot of wildlife in pre-historic times, and these insects and mammals would often raid food stores. For this reason and others, cats and wild wolves were allowed into human society to hunt these troublesome intruders, and even up through he 19th century, cats were staples on board ship to hunt mice that would raid the food stores.
Today, specialized commercial pest exterminators are at work getting rid of species typically found in urban or suburban areas, such as mouse exterminators, flea control experts, mole exterminators, and more. These species are so common to human areas that they’re hardly even considered “wildlife” at all, but all the same, commercial pest exterminators will know how to get rid of them, one way or another. This often involves killing troublesome insects or small mammals in the whole building, though live capture may be preferable in some cases. What is there to know about today’s commercial pest exterminator industry?
The Trouble of Pests
One may first consider the problems that pests cause. Rats and mice, cockroaches, and fleas and ticks are not only unpleasant to look at (or have in your hair), but they can spread disease fast. A rat or mouse may be carrying the deadly rabies virus, and transmit it to a person or a pet when they bite. And even if they don’t bite, these rats and mice will carry fleas and ticks that can transfer to people or pets and suck blood. These blood-sucking bites are dangerous not because of the blood loss (which is minimal), but the transmission of contagions such as yellow fever, Rocky Mountain fever, and even the Bubonic plague in rare but extreme cases. The infamous Black Death in medieval Europe was spread when flea-infested rats spread across the continent from Asian trade ships, and those fleas rapidly transmitted the Black Death. Today, there is no Black Death epidemic, but all the same, the infectious threat of fleas and ticks should be taken seriously.
Insects such as cockroaches and ants are a sanitation problem, and while these insects won’t kill or injure a person or pet, they are still unsanitary to have in the house (or a restaurant), and cockroaches are known to carry diseases or parasites like fleas and ticks do. What is more, many asthmatic Americans are in fact allergic to cockroaches and will get reactions if these insects are present. Meanwhile, rats and mice, being larger, can cause property damage as well. These rodents naturally chew on items to limit their tooth growth, and in a house or building, they’ll target plastic pipes, electrical wires, and the like, and this will damage or even ruin those utilities from constant chewing. Rats and mice are also known to build nests in air ducts that will disrupt air flow. These rodents, as well as smaller insects, may take up residence in the house’s walls or the attic where they’re protected, and reproduce rapidly. A large population of insects or rodents calls for a commercial pest exterminator.
A homeowner or a restaurant owner may soon notice the presence of such pests from chew damage or more often, seeing the animals in person. Smaller infestations can be handled with commercial products, and ants may be killed when a bait station is set out. These bait stations have openings to allow ants inside, and poisoned food will lure in those ants. The ants then carry that poisoned food back to their anthill and feed it to the queen, which will kill her and greatly reduce the ant population in the near future. A homeowner may also use caulk to seal small holes in the house that are admitting ants. Poisoned food might also be used for small cockroach populations.
Rats and mice can be killed with poison pellets that are laid out for them, but care should be taken so that children and pets don’t eat them, too. Live capture cages may be used instead if desired.