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Climate change means more mice, demand for pest control in the United States

At home in Rockford, Illinois, Rita Davison has changed the "1-2" mice commonly found during the winter decline to "10-15" in the last few years. ". , And scientists say a warm climate may have something to do with it.

She said her influx led to a 66-year-old woman contracting for pest control services for the first time in more than 30 years when she lived in her home.

"They sneak around the basement, the garage, and my backyard," she said. "One trap I have lately isn't enough."

According to researchers, rising temperatures and warming winters are the most abundant small rodents in the eastern United States and much of Canada. The number of white-footed mice, which are dentists, is increasing, and the work of pest control specialists is increasing.

Last winter, above average temperatures were recorded in most states in the eastern and central United States. Since 1970, average winter temperatures have risen by 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) in all states, and above 3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Celsius) in the northeastern and five lake regions.

Mouse populations usually decline during long winters, but warm winters promoted by climate change mean fewer mice die before spring, Rhode Island. Christian Floyd, a university wildlife biologist, said.

"These little mammals spend their lives quivering. They lose heat very quickly," Floyd said. “When winters are mild, we can survive. Mice don't have to quiver too much and are more capable of finding food, so they are less likely to die of starvation.”

Oxford, Ohio Susan Hoffman, an associate professor of biology at the University of Miami, said white-footed mice have traveled across transitional forest areas that have long served as boundaries for many species. Expanded "amazingly fast" in North America — about 125 miles in 30 years, 15 times farther than previously expected.

The white-footed mouse, which has historically grown from the Tennessee Valley through the North Atlantic coast, has already extended its northern limit to Quebec, Hoffman said. By 2050, mouse populations are projected to move further north, especially as warming climates push their preferred forest habitats further north.

She said this migration has also been recorded in other species, such as chipmunks, flying squirrels, and mice jumping over pastures.

"Multiple evidence shows that rising temperatures and the effects of the overall climate allow (white-footed mice) to survive further north," Hoffman said. He added that humans are also unintentionally responsible for carrying some mice. Cars, boats, north of the RV.

Ava Dickman, a technician with AAA Exterminating Inc., checks a rodent bait station inside a home in Indianapolis, May 16, 2022.
AAA Extermination Inc. technician Ava Dickman checks rodents May 16, 2022, a feeding station in a house in Indianapolis.

Scientists say that the rodent epidemic can mean more mice in and around the house. Michael Bentley, director of training and education at the National Pest Management Association, said that as mouse activity increases, pest management technicians spend more time eliminating home food sources and entrances to control mouse populations. He said he had to spend.

That's already the case in Indiana. There, AAA Pest Control Director Allie Dickman said technicians saw a rise in rat barks this winter. Not only in rural and suburban homes, but also in urban buildings, calls for more mouse services continue until spring.

"For now, I think 30% to 40% of our phones are related to mice, which is pretty surprising given the timing," Dickman said. I am. "They are just adapting and expanding ... and many more."

Experts also said that white-footed mice are a natural reservoir of Lyme disease bacteria and spread Lyme disease to people. It warns that the impact on public health is even greater given the potential for infection with potentially infectious mites.

Fever, malaise, joint pain, skin rashes, and bacterial diseases that can cause more serious joint and nervous system complications are the most common mediator infections in the United States. ..

Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have experienced the largest increase in cases reported so far, which the US Environmental Protection Agency has attributed partly to climate change.

Elliott Smyth, 53, who owns a farm near Randolph, Vermont, said she was more on her property with an increase in the number of mice and ticks after her 15-year-old son signed. He said he was paying attention. Lyme disease last fall.

"Since I live in the countryside more like me, the mice didn't care so much," Smyth said. "But if they keep coming, they get annoyed. Well now I'm having a problem."

Over time, the northward movement of mice is the southern part of the United States. It can mean fewer rodents in the region, but it can increase the number of rodents in the Midwest, New England, and Canada regions.

"More research is needed to better understand where and how fast (the mouse) is moving," he said. “We also need to learn more about how the wet conditions of climate change can affect us. We still have a lot to learn.”