Rodent Awareness Week November 15-25

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How quickly can a rodent problem spread throughout a home?

Mice are capable of breeding at alarming rates, producing as many as a dozen offspring every three weeks. A small rodent problem can quickly grow in to a full-blown infestation. Additionally, mice can drop up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year—an estimated 70 times each day.

What are some signs that rodents might be present in the home?

• 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, especially at night as they move about and nest.
• Gnaw marks. Newly gnawed areas tend to be rough to the touch and are light in color.
• Tracks/footprints. These along with tail marks are easily found in areas where 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.

What health threats can rodents pose?

Rodents can bring a slew of health hazards in to a home. Their droppings, and a protein in their urine, are known to trigger allergies and asthma. They also can spread diseases including plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis and salmonellosis. They contaminate food, kitchen surfaces and food preparation equipment. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through fleas, ticks, or mites that have fed on infected rodents.

Can rodents damage property?

Rodents can cause serious damage to property and items within the home. Rodents are capable of chewing through wood, drywall and electrical wires, increasing the potential risk for fires. They also tend to nest in materials found in dark, secluded areas, such as clothing or decorations that have been placed in storage.

How pervasive are rodent infestations in the United States?

The NPMA estimates that each year rodents invade about 21 million homes in the U.S. According to a 2014 survey by the NPMA, rodents have at one time or another been a problem for nearly one-third (29 percent) of Americans.

When and where are rodents most likely to invade homes?

According to the same 2014 survey by the NPMA, rodents are the most common winter pest. The survey found nearly half of the infestations occurred in the fall and winter months, and most often in the kitchen.

How can people prevent rodents?

• Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points. Seal any cracks and crevices with silicone caulk, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter the structure. Remember, mice can enter homes through holes the size of a dime and rats through holes the size of a quarter.
• Fill larger gaps inside your home with pieces of steel wool, as pests are deterred by the roughness of the steel fibers, especially rodents who are unable to gnaw through the material.
• Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, which could serve as potential entryways.
• Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement’s foundation and windows.
• Properly landscape around the home to avoid providing pest harborage sites. Keep shrubbery trimmed and ensure mulch is kept at least 20 inches from the foundation.

What is the best course of action if a homeowner finds signs of rodents?

Because of the many threats to health and property that rodents pose, along with their rapid rate of reproduction once inside a home, it is advisable to contact a licensed pest control company at the first sign of a rodent problem. A professional will be able to evaluate the severity of the infestation and determine the best course of action to eliminate the problem.


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