Dangers of Rodent Infestations in Virginia

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Problems Caused By Rodents

rat in a virginia kitchen

Mice are adorable, aren't they? Those cute little ears. Those twitchy little whiskers. Those big black eyes... The fanciful way they roll around in the trash and then scamper across your cutting board. And don't get us started on the quaint little holes they chew in our cereal boxes, or how they can bring hundreds of adorable little fleas into our homes! Who are we kidding? Mice aren't adorable. They're horrible! And so are rats. While there are many people who enjoy keeping mice and rats as pets, few people enjoy having these critters living in their walls, attics spaces, pantry, and kitchen. Mice and rats can spread harmful bacteria, pathogens, parasites, and more in your home once they get inside. Here is our list of rodent dangers, from least to worst.

1. Sounds

For most of us, the sounds of scratching and thumping in the walls is enough reason to not want mice and rats hanging around. And since both these rodents are nocturnal in nature, these noises usually begin right around bedtime, which can seriously disturb your sleep.

2. Smells

When rodents infest a home, they leave their droppings and urine throughout your home as they explore and search for food. The smell of rodent urine can be quite potent. And the more rodents there are in a home, the worse the smell!

3. Holes

Rodents can chew holes in lots of things. In fact, due to their constantly-growing incisors, mice and rats actually need to chew. They will chew holes to get in. They will chew holes to access food sources. They will chew holes to create pathways to food storage areas. And when they do, these holes can create serious problems for homeowners. Holes chewed in the exterior of your home can allow other pests such as cockroaches, silverfish, earwigs, and more to gain access to your home, creating an ever larger pests problem than before. These holes can also let moisture into wall voids and allow heat or cool air to escape.

4. Damage

Mice and rats can damage all sorts of things. To create their nests, these rodents often chew on insulation. They can chew on personal belongings inside a home. They will even chew on wiring! This can lead to property damage. And, if a live wire is severed during their chewing, it can lead to a house fire and the destruction of the entire home.

5. Fright

We put this high on our list because many people have a phobia about mice. It's called musophobia and it can create many problems for those who suffer from it. Symptoms range from a anxiety, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing to sweating, nausea, the inability to articulate words, dry mouth, and shaking. And even if you don’t suffer from musophobia, no one wants to be startled by bumping into to a rodent in the middle of the night!

6. Illnesses

Since mice and rats are commonly found living in dumpsters, sewers, other filthy locations where rotting food can be found, these pests are mechanical vectors for a variety of different bacteria. They can also acquire and spread human pathogens. Some of the illnesses spread by mice and rats include hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, OMSK, plague, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, and tularemia. When mice and rats get into a home, they can contaminate your food, dishes, and the surfaces in your home with the bacteria they carry. They can also cause pathogens to become airborne when they leave their feces and urine in ventilation systems.

7. Parasites  

When rodents find their way into a home, they often bring secondary pests in with them including, but not limited to, fleas, ticks, lice, and tapeworms. Each of these parasites comes with their own set of issues and threats. Of the four we've listed, ticks are by far the worst as they are linked to Lyme disease, tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, relapsing fever, spotted fever, and more.
 
In our service area, the rodents we see most often are roof rats, Norway rats, house mice, and field mice. Each of these rodents present different challenges:

  • Roof rats prefer to invade high locations in a home and are great climbers.

  • Norway rats burrow into the ground under piles in the yard and usually come in through low spots such as cracks or holes in the foundation of a home.

  • House mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime and will easily exploit any gaps found in door frames.

  • Field mice are more comfortable living in barns or sheds and present less of a threat of a home infestation. However, they have a higher chance of being infected with hantavirus.

If you're seeing rodents in your home, let the rodent experts at RichPro Pest Management help! We will properly identify your rodent pressures and assist you with industry-leading rodent control. Click here to get started!