The Health Risk of Rodents

They surprise us by suddenly appearing, tiny eyes and long tails, squeaking as we scream. Just the appearance of rats and mice can scare us. The diseases they carry on their bodies and produce from their urine and droppings are just as frightening.rodent_02housemouse_enl

Rodents are known to carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases, including murine typhus, salmonella, rat-bite fever, bubonic plague and bacterial food poisoning, all of which can cause severe illness. Hantavirus, another disease carried by rodents can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal. Cases of HPS occur sporadically, usually in rural areas where forests, fields, and farms offer habitats for rodents. Hunters and campers have been known to contract HPS when they make camp in areas that have been infested with mice. Deer mice, cotton rats and rice rats in the southeastern states carry the virus.

Keeping rodents at bay helps reduce the threat of illnesses they may spread. Here are some important things you need to know about rodents:

  • Block access points like holes around plumbing pipes, spaces in eaves and around doors and windows to keep rodents out of homes and sheds. Rats can enter a building through holes half an inch wide; mice can enter through holes one quarter of an inch wide.
  • Rats and mice tend to enter homes in search of food and shelter and will eat any kind of food that people eat. Store food in airtight containers. Rodents can gnaw through cardboard boxes and plastic packages.
  • Rodents can contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. Discard any food that may have come in contact with rodents.

Keeping rodents out of your home is one of the best ways to avoid the illness and disease that they spread.  Massey Services’ Pest Prevention program will prevent these pests from gaining access by identifying and eliminating areas they may be using to get inside your home.  Contact Massey for a free inspection today and avoid these frightening encounters!

Learn How to Avoid Furry Pests During Rodent Awareness Week

rodent_02housemouse_enlAs the seasons change, homeowners aren’t the only ones looking to keep warm indoors. In fact, many homeowners may start to notice they have unwanted houseguests – rodents – as they, too, seek shelter from the elements. To promote public vigilance against rodents and the hazards they pose, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared October 23-29 to be Rodent Awareness Week. Massey Services is joining NPMA in this important effort by educating homeowners on the threat of rodents and how they can lessen their chances of an infestation.

Rodents, such as mice and rats, are the most common pests this season. These pests are capable of causing damage to property by chewing through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical and automotive wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires. They are also known to spread a variety of diseases, including Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus.

The NPMA offers the following advice for preventing rodents from coming indoors:

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages for evidence of rodents before bringing them indoors.
  • Regularly check under the hood of the car for signs of a rodent infestation.

For more information on rodents, including the signs of an infestation, please contact Massey Services for a free inspection.

Close Off Crawl Spaces and Other Hiding Places to Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are rodents that are very common in the Southeast. They tend to enter homes in search of food and shelter and will eat any kind of food that people eat. They can also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. In addition, they are known carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases, including bubonic plague, murinetyphus and bacterial food poisoning.

When rodent-proofing your home, it’s important to keep in mind that rats can squeeze through holes ½ inch wide and mice can get through a hole ¼ inch wide.

Here are a few rodent-proofing tips:

  • Rodent-proofing requires the use of rodent-resistant materials. These materials include sheet metal (26 gauge or heavier),perforated metal (24 gauge or heavier with openings no more than ¼ inch),hardware cloth (19 gauge or heavier with openings no more than ¼ inch) and brick with mortared joints.
  • Seal openings around pipes with sheet metal or concrete.
  • Be sure to block all possible rodent entry points such as the bottom of doors, pipe entry holes,ventilation pipes, roof vents and eave vents.
  • Proper sanitation is a very important factor in rodent control. Be sure to cleanup any trash or rubbish around your property which could support or harbor a rodent population. Keep garbage cans sealed and eliminate any areas of standing water. Do not leave open food items out including pet food.

For more information on preventing rats and mice from entering your home, contact Massey Services for a free, detailed inspection and written analysis.