If it seems like there are rodents everywhere in recent years, you’re not imagining things. In the last couple of years, calls to pest control companies have increased anywhere from 60% to 120%. While a rodent infestation is annoying, it’s also a health and safety risk.
Rodents can appear because of neglect and decay. They can also end up in the tidiest of spaces because of recent construction or conditions of climate change.
No matter what brought a rodent infestation to your door, you need to get rid of them before they make someone sick or cause damage to your home. Here are just six of the ways that rats, mice, and other rodents can cause risks to you and your family.
1. They’ll Get Into Your Food
Worldwide, rodents destroy $30 billion worth of food every year. In your house, that $10 box of fancy cookies is enough to declare war on a rodent infestation in your home.
When rodents get into food, it has to be thrown away. Even if they haven’t eaten it, contact with rodents could lead to contamination.
As rats walk around an area, they aren’t careful with their waste and urine. The number of microbes and germs living on their hair could be enough to get you sick. Consider anything they’ve come into contact with spoiled.
This unfortunate food waste can be counteracted in a variety of ways. Tie up or use clips on any food packages like chips or flour. Better yet, when possible, rehouse baking and cooking supplies in metal or glass jars.
Rodents will be kept out and won’t be able to cause you to throw away food.
2. They Spread Diseases
Because rodents get into small and dark crevices where mold, mildew, and parasites breed, they can carry them into your home or office space. The diseases they spread can be severe enough to send you to the hospital.
The most common things they’ll carry are Hantavirus, rabies, and salmonella. Salmonella could send you running to the bathroom or even to the emergency room if it’s severe enough. Rabies will lead you to have to get a series of shots to counteract the virus.
Hantavirus is the most severe, as it can cause pulmonary or breathing issues. You might end up feeling feverish or sick. In late-stage cases, lungs will fill with fluid and cause a severe shortness of breath.
3. They’ll get Your Animals Sick
Whether you live on a farm or in a city, a rodent infestation could be fatal for your dogs, cats, or livestock. Newborn livestock can not only be given diseases but can actually be attacked by larger rodents.
The droppings left around by rodents could be accidentally consumed by pets. This could spread all sorts of parasites and viruses to your pets. Rodents could be covered in fleas or scabies, which could put your pets at risk of skin diseases.
4. They Make A Mess
Even if you’re not a total neat freak, the kind of mess that rodents cause is no fun for anyone to clean up. When rodents have been in a cabinet, they’ll leave half-chewed packaging and food waste everywhere, not to mention their own aforementioned waste.
They’ll chew up cardboard boxes, chew through lead pipes, and can even end up damaging insulation. They will get into your insulation and woodwork either to build their own nests or to stay warm in your home.
Make sure you’ve patched up any exterior holes in your home to keep them out.
5. Rodents Cause Fires
Because of their penchant for getting in between walls and structures, rodents will chew through anything to get where they’re trying to go. This can include wiring or piping. A rat that unsuccessfully chews through wires could get electrocuted and stuck in your walls, causing a really unpleasant smell after a while.
A rodent that successfully gets through your wiring could leave frayed or exposed wires that could ignite your insulation and start a fire.
They could also gnaw through gas lines and cause a leak. This leak could fill your home with gas and lead to a fire the next time your refrigerator clicks on.
6. Rodents Ruin Air Quality
One of the most common ways rodents enter a building is through the ventilation system. Rodents could build their nest in your air vents and every time air blows into your home, it could fill your home with viruses and contaminants.
If a rodent dies in the vents, be prepared for the worst smell imaginable. This could be severely detrimental to your health by causing you to catch a hemorrhagic fever. Air vents could also spread hantavirus around your building if air blows past rodents.
Take Precautions To Avoid A Rodent Infestation
There are ways to prevent a rodent infestation. If your garage doors stay open for hours at a time, consider making it a habit to close them, even when you’re in the area. Rodents will take any opportunity to get in through even the tiniest crack.
Clutter in basements, attics and other dark corners of your home are heavenly to rodents and small animals. Clearing that up will keep them from making their home there and building a nest that opens your home up to them.
If you have pets, leaving food out for them at all times could be just as good as leaving food out that says “Welcome All Rodents”. Even the most attentive hound takes a nap some time.
If you’re looking for more ways to prevent an infestation in your building, contact us for more tips.