Rodents: A Threat To Public Health and Property

Rats group

Rodents are a doubleheader of trouble for consumers. Not only do they present a threat to public health as a transmitter of harmful and dangerous diseases, they can also do significant damage to the structures they choose to infest. Talk about a double-dose of badness wrapped into a furry, greasy body!

The rodents consumers most often encounter are the Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse. This “trio of trouble” are not at all like the cute cartoon characters developed by Disney or DreamWorks. These troublesome pests know no shame when it comes to trying to invite themselves into your home or business.

They are sneaky but patient creatures that wait for any opportunity to get inside a structure through an opening in the foundation or door frame, inside a packing crate destined for a grocery store or inside a shipment of grain headed to a brewery.

Rodents are first-class vectors for disease and destruction. Since rodents are frequent visitors of sewers and other filthy, nasty areas where dangerous bacteria are present (they are disgusting creatures!) rodents are ideal transporters of bacteria such as salmonella.

These filthy pests can easily spoil prepared and stored food by eating, chewing or coming in contact with it. They are not picky about what they eat and can quickly turn your next feast into their next feast without even asking.

Another disease traced to rodents is rickettsial pox. This disease is transmitted by mites who live on infested mice and it produces chicken pox-like symptoms including rash, fever, and headache (another reason to dislike these guys!).

Noted rodent researcher Dr. Bobby Corrigan found that rodents can be the carrier and delivery vehicle for up to 55(!) different diseases. Needless to say, rodents are not something you want your family and friends, customers or employees exposed to.

The harmful effects of rodents extend beyond contaminating and spoiling food, they can also take a chunk out of your home or business – literally. Rats and mice can chew openings on wood siding, door and window frames, and roofs to gain entrance to a structure.

They also chew and gnaw on phone, computer and electrical wires, and thereby are capable of starting fires. The National Pest Management Association notes that about 40% of home fires of unknown origin are attributed to rodents chewing through electrical wire insulation.

How do you know if you have a rodent problem? Here are some telltale signs to look for:

Rodent Droppings. Rodent droppings and urine are some of the first signs you have rodents. Look for rodent droppings near food sources such as pet feeding areas, in storage areas and recycling bins. The droppings sort of look like a fat piece of rice and are usually black in color and ¼ to ½ inch long.

Chewed Electrical Wires. Rodents will chew almost anything and electrical wires are a popular “snack.”

Entrance Points. Openings as small as ¼ to ½ inch in diameter provide rodents an entrance into most any structure. Remember to look high and low for openings including the foundation, around door and window frames, garage doors, vents and roofs.

Unexplained Damage. Rodents are prodigious gatherers of “stuff” when building a nest. They will chew on carpet, upholstery and drapes for nesting materials, and have been known to chew through screens to gain access – talk about pushy!

A good rodent access inspection, followed by completing the recommended rodent proofing, is the best way to keep these pesky varmints on the outside of any structure.  Eliminating any attractants or harborage areas in your yard will also help send them packing—at least to the neighbors!

Do you have questions on how Western Exterminator can help keep unwanted rodents or other pests out of your home or business in 2013? If so, I want to hear them. You can send me an e-mail at [email protected]. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!

Mr. Little


Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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