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What are the Risks of Rodents in the Home? 

Perhaps you hear a faint pitter-patter of footsteps coming from your attic or you notice your dog or cat fixated on a presence you can’t detect. A more obvious tell-tale signal is  droppings in your closets, pantry, or attic. If any of these conditions sound familiar you likely have some rent-free rodents living in your dwelling. 

It’s tempting to shrug it off, or maybe set a few mousetraps and hope for the best. They’re not harming anything right? But the truth is most people are unaware of rodent infestation health risks. Here are some of the most significant risks associated with a rat infestation or mice infestation:  

Rodents in Your Home May Carry Diseases 

Rats and mice are one of the most prevalent disease carriers in the world. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a long list of direct and indirect diseases caused by rodents, which includes Monkeypox, Typhus, and Salmonellosis among many others. The risk of infection is not limited to rodent bites – diseases can be spread to people through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva. You could unknowingly be consuming food contaminated by rodents. 

It’s also important to consider the parasites that rodents bring. Rodents carry ticks, mites, and fleas that will just as happily take a bite out of humans. These insects can carry diseases that do not cause any apparent illness in rodents but can cause serious harm to humans. Rats and mice have their place in nature of course, but infested homes are the main reason disease spreads from rodents to people.  

Rodents Can Cause Serious Damage to your Home 

Through gnawing, nest-building and defecation, rats and mice can cause significant harm to your home, even structural damage. There are many types of damage rodents can cause, including:  

  • Gathering nesting materials from valuable stored items (e.g. your baseball card collection) 
  • Chewing through insulated wires, increasing the risk of an electrical fire 
  • Burrowing into upholstered furniture to nest, sometimes causing irreparable damage to the item 
  • Tunneling through insulation, decreasing the energy efficiency of your home 
  • Spoiling stored foods, and contaminating approximately 10 times the food it eats as it leaves droppings behind 
  • Gnawing through appliance wiring, causing appliances to short circuit or malfunction 
  • Chewing holes in your home’s sheathing for access, increasing your home’s exposure to cold air and external moisture 

As rodents go about these damaging activities, they leave a trail of urine and fecal droppings that contributes to the health risks mentioned earlier. It also leaves a scent trail for other mice to follow, which increases the risk of infestation. 

Rodents Can Deliver a Nasty Bite 

While the thought of being attacked by a mouse or rat is unsettling, this risk is substantially lower than the risk of disease or home damage. In the United States from 2001 and 2015, there were 1,216 cases of rat-bite injuries, with an average annual rate of 0.27 per million people. Nonetheless, you can avoid this infestation risk altogether with a proper preventative approach.  

A Little Rodent Prevention Goes a Long Way 

Given the severe risks of rat and mice infestations, it’s clear no one would want a community of critters in their household. Fortunately, there are many preventative steps you can take to secure your home so that rodents won’t find an easy way in. 

Get Expert Advice on Avoiding Rodent Infestations  

WNY Wildlife provides humane animal removal, abatement and remediation services for all of Western New York. Unlike other pest control companies, we also offer wildlife exclusion services. We’ll fortify your building to keep pests from moving in later. While we’re at it, we can replace insulation that was damaged by pests.  

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