Montane Vole

Photo Credit: Picture from – National Museum of Natural History ©2004 Smithsonian Institution

Voles, also referred to as meadow mice or field mice are compact rodents with stocky bodies, short legs and short tails. Their eyes are small and their ears partially hidden. They have dense underfur and its covered with thicker, longer guard hairs. There are 23 species of voles in the United States. These rodents are usually brown or gray though other color variations exist. We have two species here in Nevada which is the Long-tailed Vole and the Montane (or Mountain) Vole.

The Long-tailed vole can be distinguished from other species by its tail, which comprises 30% or more of its total length of 6 to 8 ½ inches. The long-tailed vole has gray to dark brown fur with many black tipped hairs. This vole’s underparts are gray mixed with some white or yellow. Its tail is indistinctly to sharply bicolored. The long-tailed vole is found in a wide variety of habitats. This vole is seen in sagebrush grasslands, forests, mountain meadows and stream banks.

The Montane Vole is 5 ½ to 8 ½ inches in total length. Its fur is brown, washed with gray or yellow, and mixed with some black-tipped hairs. Its feet are usually silver-gray, and its body underparts are whitish. The tail is bicolored. This vole is found primarily in mountainous regions. You will see this vole in alpine meadows, dry grasslands, and sagebrush grasslands. This vole avoids forests. This vole is generally in drier habitats.

Voles eat a variety of plants. But mainly grasses and forbs (herbaceous flowering plants). During the summer and fall the vole will store seeds, tubers, bulbs and rhizomes. They eat bark at times, primarily in the fall and winter. Occasional food items include snails, insects and animal remains.

Voles are active day and night, all year. They do not hibernate. Their lifespans are short, ranging from 2 to 16 months. Their reproduction rate is high, breeding throughout the year but most commonly during spring and summer.

Voles can cause extensive damage, most of the damage occurs in the winter when they move through their grass runways under the protection of snow. When spring comes and the snow melts, unfortunately, that is when homeowners see the damage.

Voles pose no major health problems since there is infrequent contact with humans. However, they can harbor disease organisms, such as plague and tularemia. Voles should never be handled, and if it is necessary to handle a vole, you should wear the appropriate protective clothing such as leather gloves.

If you, your family member, friend or neighbor are experiencing lawn damage that you believe is being caused by voles or moles, please give us a call here at Truckee Meadows Pest Control 775-332-0604.

The Yellow-Bellied Marmot

The yellow-bellied marmot, they are those cute creatures you see around the golf courses and in grassy meadow like fields here in our region and most people feel that they are, in fact pretty-darn cute and fascinating to watch. Unfortunately, that opinion changes abruptly when suddenly these marmots have moved into an individual’s personal property and have begun damaging the expensive landscape.

Marmots can live up to 15 years. They reside in colonies of about twenty individuals. Marmots have a harem-polygynous mating system in which the male reproduces with 2-3 females at the same time. Litters average 3-5 offspring. Marmots are herbivores and will eat and store very large amounts of grass for 8 months of hibernation, so they need meadows or a nice grassy landscape. They will feed on the leaves and blossoms of a variety of herbaceous plants and grasses. They will also eat grains, legumes, fruit and occasionally insects.

Yellow-bellied marmots are a large burrowing rodent. They can burrow as deep as 25-30 ft for hibernation, but their regular burrows are only 3 feet deep. They burrow under boulders or rock walls where predators can’t dig them out. They weigh from 3.5 – 11.5 Lbs.  depending on if it is a female or male and if its spring or autumn, obviously the heavier weight is in the autumn. They hibernate from September to May, although length of hibernation varies with the elevation.

Controlling the overpopulation is controversial as marmots cannot be captured and relocated. If you are going to remove the marmots from your property yourself, please remember that rodents do carry disease and relocating them can introduce disease where there wasn’t disease before. You will need to euthanize.

If you have a marmot overpopulation and need trapping done, please call us here at Truckee Meadows Pest Control 775-332-0604 we are here to help.

The Carpenter Ant

 

Carpenter Ants are usually most active in spring and summer. Most carpenter ant species forage for food at night. They can forage individually or in small or large groups, though they often opt to do so individually. They vary in color but are generally black or dark bodied. Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying, or hollow wood. Certain parts of a home are more vulnerable to moisture like windows, decks, porches and the eaves, providing a conducive condition to attracting carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ants are often confused with termites, but carpenter ants do not eat wood. Termites eat wood to derive the cellulose and nutrients they need to live. Carpenter Ants will tunnel through wood cutting galleries to build nests, they are unable to eat wood as their body can’t digest cellulose. Carpenter Ants outside will feed off live and dead insects, they are very attracted and will feed on honeydew that is a sweet liquid produced by scale insects and aphids. Carpenter Ants that are indoors feed on sweets such as honey and jelly as well as meats and pet food.

Carpenter ants are one of the largest of all ant species. Although they are larger than other ants, size should not always be the only identifying feature, because Carpenter Ants have polymorphic workers, meaning that ants within a single colony may vary in size. Adult Carpenter Ants can measure from 6 to 12 mm in length. Males, or winged swarmer’s (sometimes confused with termites), can measure up to 18 mm, while queens grow to 20 mm in length.

What sets Carpenter Ants apart from other ant species is that carpenter ants can be difficult to locate and therefore require professional treatment. Confirming that you have an infestation of Carpenter ants is crucial to successfully ridding your home of these wood destroying pests. Carpenter Ants require specialized treatment solutions that differ from other species of ants. If you suspect or are concerned you have carpenter ants, please give Truckee Meadows Pest Control a call today 775-332-0604.

The Carpet Beetle

     

Damage

Damage occurs during the larval stage of a carpet beetle. Carpet Beetles go through a complete metamorphosis. Carpet beetles, as their name implies, are capable of damaging carpets. These pests will feed upon a variety of dead animals and animal fibers such as wool, furs, silk, feathers, animal fur and even leather. They may feed on synthetic materials if the synthetic materials are soiled with food debris or oils. Carpet Beetles can develop undetected in a home, causing significant damage to clothing, bedding, floor coverings and many other articles if left unaddressed. If Carpet Beetles find their way into your home, it can be a difficult pest to control due to their ability to find food in the most obscure places and can easily disperse widely throughout a building or home.

Carpet Beetles frequently fly into homes from flowers in the landscape. Adults feed off plant nectar and pollen and can be brought in on cut flowers. A few adult beetles in the house shouldn’t be cause for alarm, but if you find larvae developing in fabrics in your home, this is when a professional should be called in.

Eliminate the Source

Regular and thorough cleaning or vacuuming of rugs, draperies, upholstered furniture and closets where carpet beetles congregate is an important preventive and control technique. Vacuuming is an effective way of removing food sources as well as carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and adults. After vacuuming infested areas, dispose of the bag promptly, because it can contain eggs, larvae, or adult insects. Food and perspiration stains on fabrics attract carpet beetles. Laundering washable items in hot water or dry-cleaning them will kill all stages of these insects. This is the most important method for controlling fabric pests in clothing, blankets, and other washable articles. Check your cut flowers for adult beetles before bringing them into your home. Seal or repair any entry points from windows and sliding doors.

If you suspect you have a Carpet Beetle infestation

Call us here at Truckee Meadows Pest Control   775-332-0604