Have you been surprised by a small house mouse darting away from your feet in the middle of the night? Do you hear scurrying and chewing sounds in your walls or attic in the early morning hours? Have you noticed mouse or rat droppings near food and water sources in your kitchen?
The above are all signs of a rodent infestation of either mice, rats, chipmunks, or squirrels. Don’t assume that a rodent problem will go away on its own. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because rodents are small, they can’t do much damage. Address rodent invasions right away for these five important reasons.
1. MICE AND RATS ARE DESTRUCTIVE
Small creatures can create huge messes. A rodent’s paired incisor teeth never stop growing, so mice and rats must constantly chew and gnaw on hard surfaces to wear down their teeth. All of the chewing is destructive to building materials.
The tiny house mouse who chews the insulation on a copper wire can cause a spark that sets your entire home on fire. Rodent-gnawed wires in automobiles, HVAC equipment, and electrical branch lines can cause costly damage while adversely affecting your access to transportation, home comfort, and power.
Rodents thrive in the insulation attached to walls, attics, crawl spaces, and ductwork. Mice and rats tunnel through insulation and build nests inside the material. When rodents frolic and nest inside your furnace and AC equipment, the HVAC connections, seals, joints, and wrappings on ductwork can be chewed so badly that massive air leaks develop throughout your heating and air conditioning ducts.
Rodents shred photographs, boxes, documents, fabrics, and more. They can contaminate bulk foods and materials. Rats and mice can chew holes near baseboards and HVAC grates.
2. RODENTS MAKE YOUR HOUSE STINK
Mice and rats defecate and urinate wherever they wander. Over time, with a significant rodent infestation, the urine and feces develop a musky, foul smell that sticks to floors, walls, carpeting, and furniture.
When mice and rats invade your food storage areas and walls, the insides of cabinets and pantries can begin to stink, and insulation can take on a mildew-type odor. Urine stains can build up on cabinet shelves and begin to smell bad.
If a rodent is poisoned or killed by another means inside your home, the rodent may scurry away to die in your heating ducts or furniture. The smell of the rotting mouse or rat can overtake your home until you locate and remove the dead rodent.
3. MICE AND RODENTS SPREAD DISEASES
Rodents stir up and transport dust, pollen, and other particulates in the air. For this reason, an active rodent infestation can cause allergic reactions among vulnerable household members.
Rats, mice, and other rodents can also transmit diseases that are harmful to humans. Germs may be transmitted through rodent feces, urine, saliva, blood, bites, or other means, depending on the disease being spread.
Surfaces that have been in contact with rodents should be disinfected to reduce the risk of contracting the following rodent-borne illnesses:
- Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
- Rat-bite fever
The above diseases have been documented in North America or the Western U.S. and are associated with rodents.
4. RODENTS BREED AND MULTIPLY
Rodents are prolific breeders, especially when they have easy access to food and water inside your residence. The house mouse is one example of a fertile rodent species that can soon overrun a structure.
When house mice take up residence inside a building, one male mouse will form a family with two or more female house mice. This small family unit can produce many offspring since each female may have between 5 to 10 litters of baby mice per year.
Female mice give birth to litters as small as 3 young to as large as 14 young. The female mice reach sexual maturity at 6 weeks old, while the males reach sexual maturity at 8 weeks old. In time, a small mouse invasion can become a huge mouse colony inside your walls and furnishings.
5. RODENTS ATTRACT OTHER PESTS
Small mammals can be invaded by parasites of their own. Fleas and ticks — which also spread diseases — can infest the fur of mice and other rodents. When mice and rats chew through food packaging, they can spill flour, sugar, and other food ingredients that attract ants, flies, and other insect pests.
Dying and dead mice attract flies and worms. You may notice maggots or flies near areas where mice have expired. Flies may appear out of HVAC grates or attic roof vents.
Snakes and other predators may follow mice inside your home. Owls and other birds of prey may perch on your tree branches to hunt active mice. The hunting raptors can put your smaller pets at risk of injury.
Address any rodent problem as soon as you notice the issue to save yourself the hassle of eliminating any extra pests or paying additional veterinary fees. Your home will be safer and healthier because you cared enough to take action.
At the first sign of a rodent invasion in your Central Illinois home, contact American Pest Control Inc. to schedule professional pest management services. We offer effective, proven rodent-control strategies for residences throughout Bloomington, Galesburg, Peoria, Lincoln, Canton, and all surrounding areas.