The weather is still cool in the Lowcountry, with temperatures dipping down close to freezing many nights. While this cooler weather remains and we continue to spend more time indoors – so do pesky rodents! Rats and mice are some of the top identified “nuisance” pests. They wreak havoc on your home and spread disease. These pesky critters do not need much space to wiggle their small bodies through holes or cracks. Even when you think your home is fully protected these pests can still sneak their way in, making your home theirs!
It is frightening and unsettling to see a rat or mouse in your home. But even worse than getting startled is the fact that these rodents can cause extensive damage to your home with their urinating, defecating, gnawing, nest-making, and potential for spreading dangerous disease. If you suspect rodent activity in your house, take a look at the top five things mice or rats are doing in your home.
Finding a Water Source
Just like humans, rodents cannot survive long-term without water. Although they do receive some hydration through some foods consumed, these pests also require free-standing water to live. They are incredibly resourceful critters and will drink water found just about anywhere – at the base of a potted plant, your pets water, even that from a slow-draining or plugged up bathtub.
Making a Nest
This is a top priority for mice and rats – they like to have a nice, soft, comfortable place to birth their babies. This is a problem for humans because these rodents will use anything they can find – from old newspapers to files and cardboard boxes – to build their nests. Even your insulation, drywall, and wiring are not safe! When mice and rats make their way to these items, they cause extensive and costly damage to your home. Bared wires even run the risk of igniting a fire!
Rodents spread disease incredibly quickly through their urine and fecal matter. Mouse feces and urine can even dry and turn to dust, spreading viruses through the air we breathe! These critters also spread disease:
- By tracking it across your counters
- Through parasites they carry
- Through bites
The most common diseases transmitted to humans or animals by rats are:
- Rate bite fever
- Murine typhus
Mice may be adorable when you can snap a photo of their good side, but they are anything but cute when they move into your home. Aside from posing a significant threat to your furniture, drywall, insulation and wiring, mice and rats are bad for your health even if you do not touch them.
Hunting for Food
One of the main ways that these pesky critters spread disease is through contaminating your food. Once contaminated, your food can potentially be the source of many diseases, including all of those listed above.
Mice and rats roam your home in search of food and amidst that search will urinate and drop feces along the way – contaminating everything in its path. If the rodent(s) make their way to your pantry, it is likely that it/they will walk on the food and its packaging.
Why does this matter? Well … the next time you touch those items you are likely touching the urine and/or feces trail of the rodents!
The teeth of mice and rats are extremely sharp and these critters usually chew through packaging to get to food. Even the boxes and bags you think are safe are not, and the moment they get into the food is when the risk of spreading disease drastically increases.
Tip from the Pro’s: Store pantry food in glass or thick plastic airtight containers rather than in their original packaging. This will prevent rodents from chewing through the packaging and lower your risk for contaminated food.
Rodents are prolific breeders, meaning their populations can explode quickly. All they need is sufficient food, water, and shelter.
- Rats: Each female rat can have up to 7 litters in one year, with up to 14 young in each litter! At just four weeks, rats are considered full-grown adults and able to reproduce. This means that multiple generations can be born in a single year from each female in the litter.
- Mice: Female mice breed even more than female rats! A female house mouse can have up to 10 litters in a single year, with between 6-12 young in each litter. At seven weeks they are considered full-grown adults, so in ideal conditions their population can explode in just a few months.
The presence of mice or rodents in your home is not something to be taken lightly. They wreak havoc on your home, cause costly damage and rapidly spread disease. If you notice any signs of rodent activity in or around your home, don’t put off giving the professionals a call. Imperial Pest Controllers is certified and trained to handle your rodent problems. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate for rodent control!