Your pet provides your family with unending entertainment, love and companionship. But did you know that your cat or dog can also detect pests in your home before you do? Read below to learn how your pet is able to alert you of any budding or current pest infestations in your home.
How Your Cat Will Know If You Have A Pest Problem
Cats possess superior senses, namely smell, that help them to detect rats, mice and other rodents in your home. A cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times stronger than a human’s sense of smell with 70,000 smell receptors compared to a human’s 20,000. This astonishing sense of smell allows these beloved pets to sniff out any fuzzy invaders that might be making themselves comfortable in your home. To add to their incredible ability to smell even the most faintest of scents with their noses, cats can also taste smells using their mouths. With the presence of a sensory organ in the back of their mouths called the Jacobson’s Organ, or the Vomeronasal Organ, cats will often use their mouths to pick up on a particular scent. If you have ever noticed your cat opening its mouth, scrunching its nose and raising its head after smelling a particularly strong scent that might include some type of pheromone, such as a dirty sock or smelly shoe, you have witnessed the flehmen response. The flehman response is the reaction that a cat has when it begins to use its Jacobson’s Organ instead of its nose to smell a particular scent. During the flehmen response, your cat is grabbing onto air molecules with the receptors on its tongue and pushing the molecules through the Jacobson’s Organ opening. This organ benefits a cat by allowing it to more acutely smell potential prey, including rats or mice inside of your home.
However, their keen sense of smell is not the only way that cats can detect whether you are facing a pest infestation in your home. Cats will also use their twenty-four vibrissae, or whiskers, to sense slight motions and vibrations around them, such as a mouse or rat scurrying past them. These whiskers, which are not only located on a cat’s face, but their legs as well, are also used to create a sort of three dimensional map around their bodies so that they can become better aware of their surroundings. In addition to helping a cat spot prey, their whiskers will also help them to move around safely in the dark. This can be especially beneficial for cats to detect mice or rat infestations, as rodents will generally be most active during the night hours.
Another sense that helps a cat to identify rodents in your home at night is their highly sophisticated sense of sight. Felines possess a reflective layer behind their eye’s retina called the tapetum lucidum which makes their night vision far superior to humans, as they are able to see seven times better than humans in the dark. Additionally, cats are naturally more energetic and active at night, which also adds to their ability to spot pests in your home while you sleep. While felines and humans have a comparable range of hearing when it comes to low frequency sounds, cats are much more talented at hearing high pitched sounds than humans. A cat can hear up to 64kHz, while humans are only able to hear up to about 20kHz. If you have a cat, you will have noticed that as they are actively listening, their ears will be moving back and forth. This behavior helps a cat to find precisely where a sound is coming from. In fact, cats are able to find within three inches where a sound originated as they sit up to one yard away. You can imagine how this superior sense of hearing also helps a cat to find buzzing and scurrying pests as they move about your home.
Although cats have been used as a means of pest control for thousands of years and they do posses all of the skills necessary to hunt and catch any rodents or pests in your home, they are not always the best available option for pest control. Read below to learn about some of the reasons why you may not want to assign your cat the duty of in home rodent control and why hiring a pest control company that provides humane rodent control will be your best bet.
When rats, mice and other rodents infest your home, they will generally set up a nest in a secluded and hard to reach area, such as an attic, inside of the walls or in crawlspaces, so that their nest will remain undisturbed. While cats do posses some fantastic hunting abilities, they often are unable to reach these nesting areas where rodents will live. Mice and rats can also learn that they are safe from the peering eyes and ears of your cat when they travel through the walls of your home. This can sometimes lead to these rodents dying inside of your walls which will produce a foul odor that is hard to remove.
2. Not All Cats Enjoy The Hunt
The stereotypical idea that all cats enjoy hunting mice and other rodents is not always true. Some cats are afraid of mice and instead of hunting them, will avoid them.
3. Mice Can Be A Host To Diseases And Other Pests That Are Harmful To Your Cat
Mice, rats and other rodents will often times carry diseases that can be dangerous to the health of your cat. If your cat hunts and catches a rodent in your home, they are at risk of getting fleas, ticks and other parasites. Rodents can also pass on diseases to your cat such as Hantavirus, or HPS, and Lyme disease. These disease then have the potential to spread to humans as well. Not only are you risking your cats health by allowing them to act as rodent control in your home, but you are also putting your family’s health at risk.
4. Mice Reproduce At Rapid Rates
Even if your cat was to act as your home’s primary means of rodent control, the chances that they would do a sufficient job are slim. Because female mice are able to birth a litter of four to twelve mice pups every twelve weeks, your cat would have a hard time keeping up. Once the population of mice in your home begins to rapidly increase, it becomes more difficult to get the infestation under control.
5. Cats Are Unable To Implement Preventative Rodent Control Measures
Some of the most effective rodent control solutions involve implementing preventative measures, including sealing up holes and cracks where rats and mice will enter your home. If a cat has the chance to hunt and catch a rodent in your home, this means that these mice and rats have already begun their infestation. To ensure that you are not fighting a losing battle against rodents, contact a professional and humane pest control provider, like Natran Green Pest Control, to solve your rodent infestation problems.
How Dogs Will Know If A Pest Problem Is Present
Cats are not the only type of pet that is able to detect whether or not your home is in the throes of a pest infestation. Numerous studies have shown that dogs are also able to sniff out a number of different types of pests that you may be dealing with in your home. Dogs have long been known for their excellent sense of smell, as they possess approximately 220 million cells in and around their noses which help them to smell. Comparatively, humans only have about five million cells around the nose. In addition to the many millions of cells around their noses, dogs also have an area in their brain that is designated specifically to detect and analyze particular scents in a way that is much more accurate and complex than humans. Interestingly, one of the reasons that a dog’s nose is wet is because this moisture helps their noses to collect scent particles which aids in smelling. When a dog’s nose is dry, its sense of smell is negatively impacted.
The noses of our furry friends were first used in the year 1970 to help sniff out mines during war. Once humans realized how helpful this keen sense of smell could be, dogs then made their way into other industries, including law enforcement, to help out in a different types of situations. After learning to sniff out items like bombs or drugs, dogs were then trained to sniff foreign agricultural products in order to detect pests before these items entered the United States. Today, dogs’ keen sniffing abilities have become even further involved in different industries and that includes the pest control industry. Dogs are now using their noses to detect invasive bugs, such as bedbugs. Because humans are sometimes unable to pinpoint exactly where an infestation is occurring, dogs can be used to detect the site of these invasive pests. Read below to learn more about how with the proper training, your dog could become a pest detective.
Dogs Can Detect Bed Bugs Through Their Sense Of Smell
Many studies have been conducted which show that dogs are able to detect a bed bug infestation using only their noses. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Florida investigated how well and accurate a dog could detect bed bugs. The dogs that participated in the study were trained to make the distinction between bed bugs and other types of pests using a reward system based on food. In the study, dogs were trained to detect bed bugs by odor as opposed to sight, which drastically helped to increase the dog’s accuracy. This is because bed bugs often hide in small crevices but give off unique pheromones that are easier for a dog to detect rather than the bed bug’s very small and hidden body. When concluded, the study showed that the dogs had a 97.5% success rate and did not alert that there were bed bugs when no bugs were present. The dogs could also distinguish between dead and living bed bugs, eggs and exoskeletons with 95% accuracy.
Dogs Can Also Detect Termites Through Their Sense Of Smell
When it comes to termites, humans can usually recognize when an infestation is already occurring. However, it is more difficult for humans to know exactly how the termites entered their home’s structure or where the infestation started. This is where a dog’s nose comes in. Dogs that are trained to sniff termites are able to find the termite entry point, as well as live termites and termite eggs. Another study conducted in Florida investigated a German shepherd and five beagles’ ability to detect subterranean termites. These dogs were tested on whether or not they could differentiate between wood with active termites and wood that was previously infested by termites, but that contained no active insects or colonies. This study concluded that when there were over forty termites present, the dogs were about ninety-six percent accurate in detecting the termite infestation. The dogs that were able to successfully detect subterranean termites were also able to find other termite species.
Your beloved pets can be great early detectors of a pest infestation in its beginning stages. If you start to notice that your dog or cat is staring into the darkness, pawing at corners of the walls or acting as if there are pests present that you are unable to see, it may be time to call a professional pest control provider like Natran Green Pest Control to get your home checked out for pests. Remember, although it may seem convenient to have your pet provide your home with pest control, it is not always a safe or effective option for your pet or for your family.Back to Blog