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During our monthly round up of recent pest control stories from around the world, we found a couple of posts that got us thinking. Maybe our best pest control ninja are actually small, cuddly and furry, and we should be taking more notice of them in out overall control strategies.
As you’ll read below, one is super cuddly, the other not so much, but both play a very important role in balancing and controlling pests even when we don’t know it. It seems we’re no the only ones who found these stories interesting. One has been shared 582 times on Facebook, and the other 972.
Let’s look at Cats first. These are the cuddly ones.
The article was published on TreeBarkTermiteAndPestControl.com.
Below are their main points. We’ve added out comment below each point.
With their keen sense of smell, ears built to pick up higher frequencies, and their urge to hunt only the tiniest and fuzziest of creatures, cats are the natural enemy of rodents. Cats are attracted to areas where rodents have been, and will often come to these places to sniff and investigate. If there is an unidentified rodent problem in your house, or even if there are no signs of rodents yet, pay attention to the places that your feline frequents. They may have already have tracked down the nest.
This is certainly true. Although in Australia it can be a little different. Depending on where you live, you may of hat your cat drop a rabbit at the back door (looking all smug and happy with itself), and maybe, just maybe, your cat thought it a good idea to bring a live baby tiger snake into the living room! Yes……it happened to me. I love my cat, but that day I will never forget.
Mouse traps must be purchased, exterminators must be paid, rat poison must be placed carefully and guarded, and tenting is a logistical nightmare. House cats, on the other hand, are happy to track down any rodents they can reach, and you never have to ask them twice. A single house cat will never be enough to fend off an entire infestation, but they might just prevent an infestation from taking root.
Yep, cats simply love it. Sometimes you may be wondering why your cat is not hungry, or maybe looks a little more plump than usual. Well here’s your answer.
Rats and mice alike are naturally afraid of cats. Just the smell of a cat’s urine is enough to send a mouse running, and no rat in their right might would choose to make a home within swatting distance of a cat. Even if a rat misses the cat’s scent and wanders into the house, the sight of a cat pouncing will send them the other direction.
If you move into a home with mice, and you bring your cat, they’ll gradually disappear. Darwinian theory? Survival of the fittest?….or just a smart cat who’s an opportuniy?
Rodents may be naturally afraid of cats, but something can be done to waive this fear. This something is called toxoplasma, and it is a parasite that has been called downright mind control and zombieism. Cats carry the parasite which is then picked up by rats and mice, which permanently lose their fear response to cats. So long as the cat is not openly showing aggression to the rodent, that rodent will wander near and maybe even approach the cat, making the hunt that much easier.
We haven’t seen too much of this, but maybe you noticed this little diggity doing the rounds on social media. Where did that mouse go?
The other article we found was published by the BBC Science editors: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34246501
The headline stats:
“Bats provide a service worth an estimated US $1bn (£649m) globally by controlling pests on corn crops, a study has suggested.”
Now that is what you would call a great ROI! While we don’t control any pests in crops, so to speak, we did find this interesting as Adelaide is renouned for it’s population of bats. We can’t help but wonder how many apples, pears, plums, tomatoes, lettuce and any other variety of fruit and vegetable may be lost in local veggie gardens if we didn’t have our own population of bats.
Look cuddly, don’t they!
So the moral of the story, don’t always reprimand you cat for catching rodents, and before you consider trying to get rid of the couple of bats in your back yard, consider if you really want those ripe plums next year!