A rodent is classified as a mammal that includes both an upper and lower pair of rootless incisor teeth that constantly grow. Examples of rodents include rats, mice, spring hares, beavers, pocket gophers, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chipmunks, squirrels, and more! While it is true that any type of rodent has the capability of causing a massive amount of damage to your home, we are going to place an emphasis on rats and mice for the purpose and intent of this guide. The reason being is that these rodents are able to more quickly and easily access residential structures than any other type of rodent. Continue reading to learn just how rats and mice will negatively impact your home if they find their way inside.
How Do Rats and Mice Get Inside of the Home?
Rats and mice are highly innovative and have the ability to enter into the home through many different openings. These rodents are capable of squeezing through very small holes. Mice only need an entrance the size of a nickel. Rats require a space the size of a quarter or a half dollar, depending on their size. To avoid complications, homeowners should check both the interior and exterior areas of the home to ensure that there are no spaces available of these sizes. The following outlines common access points for rodents:
- J-Channels and Corner Posts – The j-channels are the trim that surrounds doors and windows. Corner posts cover the siding on the corners of the home.
- Utility Line Openings – These are designed for electrical and cable components to enter into the home, but often leave gaps large enough for rodents to enter.
- Foundation – If a foundation is composed with gaps – such as is the case with stack stone foundations – rodents may enter the home through those spaces.
- Chimneys – If a chimney is present that is composed of stones or even brick, rodents may scale the interior area to reach inside of the home.
- Bilco Doors – If there is a slanted door outside the home that reaches the basement, it provides a space between the doors for rodents to enter.
- Waterspouts and Gutters – While these do not go directly into the home, they are a means of a rodent for gaining direct access to the roof of the home.
- Plumbing Fixtures – In some instances, plumbing entry points to the home may provide enough access for rodents to make their way inside of a home.
Rodents have very sharp teeth and they chew constantly. They may chew through a wide array of materials such as siding, wood, and more. If they want to gain access to your home, they will chew and gnaw their way in if no other openings for access are available. While it is true that it would be difficult for these creatures to chew through brick and stone, it is not impossible for them to chip away at it or find another weak area in the structure – such as the roof.
Once inside, rodents are known for gnawing through and tearing up insulation, destroying wood surfaces, and other materials. As a result, rodents are capable of causing a tremendous amount of structural damage. This is enhanced if they find their way into the walls or the floors of the home.
Each year, rodents cause millions of dollars worth of electrical damage in homes throughout the country. This starts once they make their way indoors. Wiring will either get in their way or attract them due to the warmth it puts out. It is possible for rodents to chew these wires in half. Additionally, they may strip away insulative casings from electrical components. This could result in the onset of severe safety issues throughout the home – including the possibility for a house fire to start.
When you combine the danger of exposed wires with the danger of insulation, it is not a good mix. You should instantly become a victim of a house fire and not even be aware of the fact that rodents are in the walls, attics, and other areas setting the home up for such an event.
Damage to Your Living Spaces
As rodents move through the home, they not only leave behind an oil-based residue so that they may retrace their steps, but they also leave behind urine, feces, and a vast array of germs, bacteria, viruses, and possibly even diseases. A
s they move through the home, rodents will contaminate all of your living spaces. This includes your counters, tables, furniture, faucets, floors, and more. It is more common than people believe for rodent infestations to cause severe illnesses of people and their pets inside of a home. The following outlines the most serious diseases that may be transmitted by rodents:
- Hantavirus – This could lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is a respiratory disease with a very high mortality rate among people. There is no vaccine, no cure, and no treatment. Within 10 days, this could result in respiratory failure and death.
- Leptospirosis – This is transmitted through the urine of rodents. It usually stems from foods being contaminated with the urine. At first, it is similar to a flu. As the illness progresses, liver damage and meningitis may develop.
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis – This is a virus that is transmitted by rodents – specifically, the house mouse. It is transmitted through the saliva, the feces, and the urine of rodents that are infected. First phase illness consists of muscle aches, fever, and a lack of appetite. In the second phase, neurological conditions may develop, such as encephalitis. While death is possible, long-term neurological damage is more likely.
Once rodents infest a home, they will immediately start to hunt for a water source and food sources. This is bad news for those that reside within the home. These creatures will actually roam around until they discover food.
Once they make their way into the pantry or other type of food storage area, they will contaminate nearly everything – unless it is in an airtight container and even then, the outside of the container is likely to become contaminated.
They will crawl over everything and will chew through packages. They will leave behind a trail of oil-based residue. Once inside of food packages and containers, they may contaminate with saliva, urine, feces, and leave behind potentially deadly diseases. Examples include salmonellosis, Lassa fever, and tularemia.
What are the Signs of a Rodent Infestation?
If you are reading this, it is quite likely that suspect that you have a rodent infestation. The truth of the matter is, it is actually quite simple to confirm your suspicions. The following outlines the most common signs of such an infestation in the home:
- Rodents will leave droppings behind as they move through the home. You may remove these droppings – only while using respiratory protection, though. If they reappear, you will know you have an infestation.
- If you see nests in burrows or other obscure places, rodents may be present.
- Look for bits of food, wood, and other materials that look as if they have been chewed.
- Gnaw marks on wood, furniture, and other locations typically indicate an infestation.
- Unusual noises may be heard. These may include scratching sounds, thumps, and scurrying.
- Rodents are known to leave behind foul odors. If you smell something unusual, you may have an infestation.
- Rips, tears, and gnaw marks may be present on bread bags, food containers, and boxes that contain food if you have an infestation.
- Rodents leave behind an oily residue trail. Naturally, if you observe this, it is likely that rodents are present.
- If you observe rodents on the outside of your home, it is quite likely that these creatures have the capability of making their way into your home.
- Finally, if you see a rodent – usually during the night time hours – it is an obvious sign that others are close by and that you have an infestation. Rodents typically run in numbers, even if you only see a lone one.
Seek Assistance Immediately
It does not matter if you suspect a rodent infestation or you have confirmed an infestation, you need assistance immediately. We here at All Pest Exterminating specialize in confirming infestations and eliminating them in their tracks. Rodents are dangerous creatures. While typically secretive and nocturnal, they have the ability to destroy your home, your food, contaminate your living areas and even create hazards that put you and your loved ones at risk.
Do not attempt to handle an infestation on your own. In doing so, you are putting yourself, your loved ones, your pets, and your home at risk. Let us do what we do best. Contact us today and free yourself from all potentially detrimental impacts of the infestation.