RODENTS POSE HEALTH AND PROPERTY RISKS DURING WINTER MONTHS
Rose Pest Solutions Chicago warns homeowners of rodent-related threats
It’s already a challenge to avoid the flu and stay healthy during the winter months. However, homeowners may be faced with a host of other potential health concerns – all caused by rodent infestations. Rose Pest Solutions, proudly servicing Chicagoland as America’s oldest and most experienced pest control company since 1860, warns that mice and rats can pose serious health and property risks once inside the home.
Risks Caused by Rodents
The accumulation of rodent feces can spread bacteria, trigger allergic reactions in humans and cause diseases such as salmonella and Hantavirus. Rodents also gnaw through electrical wiring, in some cases sparking house fires.
“The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter, threatening the health of families and damaging property through their gnawing and nesting habits,” said Rich Smith, Director of Pest Control Services for Rose Pest Solutions. “Moreover, these pests can enter a structure through very small openings, making it easy for them to find a way indoors and quickly cause a full-blown infestation.”
The NPMA encourages homeowners to be on the lookout for common signs of mice in the house including:
- Droppings. Typically left behind in kitchen cabinets and pantries, along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, near nests, and in boxes, bags, old furniture and other objects.
- Noises. Rodents often make scurrying sounds most often at night as they move about and nest.
- Gnaw marks. New gnawings tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
- Tracks/footprints. These along with tail marks are easily found in areas where the rodents travel.
- Burrows. Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they prefer nesting areas that are dark and secluded.
- Damaged food packages. Mice prefer seeds or cereals while Norway rats prefer meat, fish and dry dog food.
“If a rodent infestation is suspected, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem rather than trying to handle it on your own. Because if you see just one, it’s likely there are many more,” added Smith.
For more information on rodents and how to protect your home, feel free to contact us anytime. Or…
Common Rodent Q&A
Should rodents be a concern for homeowners in the U.S.?
Every year, rodents gain access to homes, causing property damage, contaminating food sources, triggering allergies and, in some cases, causing illness/disease. It is estimated that rodents infest approximately 21 million homes in the United States, each year, when the cold weather forces these pests to seek refuge indoors.
Are there any clear indications of a rodent infestation in a home?
There are several signs a rodent may have taken up residence in a home, including chewed door frames or furniture legs; small, dark-colored droppings; gnawed food boxes that are stored in pantries or cupboards; oily marks along walls, which are caused by rodents’ habitual use of the same paths; and sounds of movement in pantries, ceilings and behind walls.
What are the most common types of rodents a homeowner may come across?
The most common type of rodent across the world is the house mouse. A nocturnal animal, the house mouse can gain entry to buildings and homes through openings as small as one-quarter inch. Another common rodent is the Norway rat. Also known as the sewer rat, this rodent is found throughout the United States and can measure up to 16 inches in length, including the tail, and weigh just under a pound.
What are some precautions that homeowners can take to help prevent rodents from coming indoors?
There are a number of pest-proofing measures that homeowners can take to protect their home and families from the threats posed by rodents. NPMA recommends the following:
- Store boxes and containers off the floor and organize items often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
- Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Store food in thick metal or plastic containers with tight lids.
- Clean up spilled food right away immediately and wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use.
- Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
- Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.
- Keep bird feeders away from the house and use squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.
- Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid and keep sealed at all times.
- Keep grains and animal feed in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. In the evening, return uneaten animal feed to containers with lids.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of a rodent infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
How should homeowners treat a rodent infestation?
Licensed and professionally trained pest professionals are best suited to treat a rodent infestation. Today’s pest professionals have the training necessary to identify pest problems and recommend the most responsible and effective pest management methods available. As rodents can pose certain health risks to humans, it is vital that these types of pest problems are managed efficiently and responsibly.
What types of health risks do rodents pose?
Rodent droppings most often cause allergic reactions in human beings. However, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases, worldwide, including the Plague, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Leptospirosis, Salmonellosis and Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM).
How do rodents spread disease?
Rodent-borne diseases can be spread both directly and indirectly to humans in various manners. Directly, rodents can spread disease through bite wounds; by contaminating a human food or water source with feces; by contaminating surface water with urine that a human consequently comes in contact with; and through a process known as aerosolization, where humans breathe in germs that may be present from rodent urine or droppings. Diseases from rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly through ticks, mites and fleas that transmit infection to humans after feeding on infected rodents.
Flea. Photo Courtesy Ricky Kluge.
Where can a homeowner find additional information about rodents?
For more information on all pests and pest issues, specifically rodents, please visit www.pestworld.org. We’re always here for you and your questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your rodent questions today!