Anyone who’s had to deal with a rodent infestation has probably wondered whether or not these creatures can bring fleas or other pests into a home. If you have ever asked yourself the question: Do mice carry fleas?, you should know that the answer is that they can and they often do. That means that if rats or mice have moved into your home, attic or garage, you may have to deal not only with that primary pest issue, but with a secondary one as well—the fleas that these rodents can bring with them.
This is because mice live in the wild. They pick up fleas outdoors from other wild animals, and they bring those fleas, as well as mites and other skin parasites, into any home they might invade. This compounds the pest control problem for the homeowner, making things worse for them and everyone else living in the house, including furry family members.
When mice infest a home, build a nest and begin reproducing, they can cause extensive problems, including sanitation issues and property damage. Though they are small in size, these rodents are capable of causing a huge amount of damage. They file down their constantly growing front teeth by gnawing almost constantly. Inside a home or garage, they might chew through wood, PVC pipes, drywall, household items such as furniture or books and even the insulation surrounding electrical wiring. This behavior can lead to structural damage in the home and can even introduce the threat of fire due to exposed wires.
Mice are also known disease carriers that can transmit serious illnesses to humans, including hantavirus, salmonella and plague (yes, you read that right—the plague). And they don’t just pass illness via their bites; when they build a nest, their urine and feces introduce potentially major sanitation issues to a home and can also pose health risks to anyone who comes into contact with them.
When mice introduce fleas into a home, a homeowner’s list of potential issues grows even longer. Fleas bite people as well as dogs and cats; they can even trigger allergic reactions that can be quite severe in both people and their pets. Furthermore, like mice, fleas can transmit disease to both people and pets. These tiny creatures can transmit plague and typhus to humans, cat scratch fever to cats, and tapeworm and heartworm to both dogs and cats. Unfortunately, if you have fleas in your house but don’t own any pets, your flea problem is most likely due to a wild animal living on your property, which might mean rodents, but can also mean possums, raccoons or other types of wildlife.
Mice are drawn into people’s homes for the same reason any pests come indoors: They come in during cold, hot, dry, wet or icy weather, in search of food, water and shelter. Mice get in through gaps and holes around doors, windows, vents and other areas. They can squeeze through relatively tiny spaces, even holes as small as a dime! Once inside, they can thrive for long periods of time if they have access to water and food. They might chew through cereal boxes in your pantry and drink water pooling under a leaky faucet or pipe, and use insulation inside your walls to create a soft nest for breeding.
This is why basic home maintenance, upkeep and cleanliness are important in keeping mice and other pests away. Repairing holes in door and window screens, closing gaps with wire mesh or caulk, fixing leaky faucets and pipes, storing food, including pet food, in airtight containers, and keeping your kitchen clean can all go a long way toward keeping mice out of your home. As for fleas, washing pets’ bedding regularly, vacuuming frequently and preventative treatments for fleas will also help keep these insect pests at bay. But even people who do all of these things can still have mice and flea infestations in their homes, attics or garages. In that case, it’s time to call in a pest control specialist who can treat the mouse infestation along with any other possible pest problems.
Many people decide to tackle these kinds of pest control problems on their own and expend a lot of time, effort and money in the process—only to find the problem is far outside their control. Often, calling in a specialist saves you a great deal of time and money, not to mention trouble. Pest management professionals have the knowledge and experience, along with up-to-date tools and strategies, needed to get pest infestations of all types under control as quickly and efficiently as possible. These licensed technicians can also work with homeowners to establish follow-up visits and routine maintenance to ensure the problem won’t happen again.
One important part of preventing future pest problems is determining how they got into your home in the first place.
How Do Mice Get in Your Attic?
If you’re dealing with mice in your attic, you’re probably wondering how they got there in the first place. Mice enter through small holes or gaps in the eaves, around door or window frames, around dryer vents or any other opening that allows them access to the inside. Once in, these rodents might crawl through the walls or along beams in search of food, water or a good spot to build a nest and reproduce.
Attics are particularly appealing to mice since they are the topmost part of a house, and heat rises—which often means attics are warm. Attics are also less frequented by people than other parts of the house, which can mean it’s easier for mice to live there undetected for longer periods of time. Many times, mice come indoors during the winter, when cold temperatures make it harder to find food and stay safe outside. They might build a nest in an attic and then travel daily to available food and water sources, to live through the whole winter until outdoor temperatures warm up again.
Mice aren’t the only type of wild rodent to do this, of course. Rats, squirrels, raccoons, bats and even snakes have all been known to live inside people’s walls, garages, pantries, utility rooms or attics. All of these pests are drawn to the same things we have already mentioned that are the primary requirements for survival: the food, water and shelter they can find inside your home. If you aren’t sure which type of pest is living in your attic or other indoor space, look for signs like gnaw marks on wood, drywall or wiring, and small, dark-brown, pellet-like feces that would indicate some type of rodent invader. Mouse feces are even smaller than rat droppings, while squirrel feces is somewhat larger. Raccoon excrement is quite a bit larger and often contains bits of undigested berries or other identifiable food. If there are bats in your attic, you’ll hear fluttering at night and will find droppings that looks like black grains of rice.
Pest control involving any of these animals is a job best left to professionals. It is dangerous to come in close contact with all of these forms of wildlife, even small animals. Many of them carry diseases, and when cornered and frightened, they might bite. You also might scare unwanted animal guests away temporarily, causing them to run or burrow into an even harder to reach spot deep within your home. A professional has the tools and know-how needed to lure out wild animals and get the job done both safely and correctly. Better yet, they can also advise you on steps you can take to keep them from coming back in the future.
How To Keep Mice Out Of the Garage
Mice are often drawn to indoor spaces, including garages, since these areas are often warmer than the outdoors during winter and they can be easy for wild animals to access. Thankfully, there are several simple measures you can take to try to avoid rodent problems in your garage.
First, be sure to keep your garage door closed as much as possible. Many people like keeping their garages open, especially when the weather is nice, while they do yard work or leave the door slightly open to allow pets to come in and out more easily. But leaving the garage door open gives wide-open access to many different types of insect and animal pests that might venture inside and stay there once you close the door.
Second, as with pest-proofing other indoor spaces, fix any holes or gaps you can find in the walls, eaves, door screens and so on. Seal even small cracks, since mice can squeeze through surprisingly small spaces. If you have a water source in the garage, such as a water heater or utility sink, make sure there are no leaks or pooling water, as mice and other wild animals are drawn to these easy sources of drinking water.
Third, keep your garage as free of clutter as possible. Mice love to hide and even nest inside cardboard boxes, so people who use their garages for storage can be prone to pest infestations. Mice also love gnawing through cardboard and books, shredding old clothes for nesting materials and otherwise destroying your belongings. If you do use your garage for storage, it’s best to purchase airtight containers made of thick, sturdy plastic or metal that can better protect your belongings while keeping mice and other pests out.
If you suspect you have mice living in your garage, it’s important to reach out to a professional. Mice can cause extensive damage in a garage that is expensive to fix; they have even been known to cause fires when they have chewed through electrical wiring and triggered short circuits. A licensed pest control specialist will be able to identify the type of pests living in your garage, any damage the pests have caused and the best method for controlling the pests as quickly as possible. A specialist can also work with you on follow-up inspections to make your property less inviting to all types of insect and animal pests.
ABC Can Handle All Your Pest Problems
Dealing with a rodent problem can be overwhelming, especially when you take into account that they can be responsible for bringing fleas onto your property and that even seeing one mouse could indicate there are many more. Mice and rats are surprisingly smart and prolific breeders, which is one reason why contacting a specialist quickly if you suspect you have a problem is typically the best way to start working toward a resolution. If you’re concerned about any type of pest on your property, ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. We provide effective solutions for controlling rodents and any other type of insect or animal on your property so you don’t have to worry.