Of all the unexpected costs that homeowners face, pest control is often the most unwelcome. Pests enter your property looking for food and shelter, and can often stay hidden for long periods of time. Rodents, in particular, are experts in squeezing through small openings, and just one female rat can have up to 15,000 babies in just one year! If you have an infestation, damage caused by rats and mice could cost you thousands of dollars or more to fix, not to mention the time and hassle to take care of the problem.
Damage Caused By Rats and Mice
Rodent dens that go unnoticed are more expensive and dangerous to remove than infestations that are uncovered quickly. Crawl spaces, attics and voids surrounding water pipes are prime real estate for rodents seeking a new home. Places that homeowners don’t inspect often are more likely to harbor unnoticed residents. Here are a few costly problems that can arise from hidden rodent infestations.
Rodents love to chew on wires, insulation and pretty much anything. Rats, mice and other types of rodents actually need to chew continuously, since their teeth never stop growing during their lifetimes. Electrical damage caused by rodents isn’t just expensive—it’s dangerous. When mice, rats or squirrels strip off the protective insulation, bare wires can spark an electrical fire, and the results can be quite serious. Rodents may even come in contact with electrical panels and areas that can affect the electrical system for your entire home.
Damage to Building Systems
Duct work, air conditioning units and critical building systems can all be infiltrated by rodents. These destructive animals live inside air returns, gnaw through insulated ducts and build nests inside air conditioning units. This type of infestation can reduce the efficiency of equipment or cause permanent damage to the equipment. Homeowners may also be exposed to hazardous germs in the air. Damaged systems will often need to be repaired or replaced.
Mice, rats, squirrels and larger rodents are all equipped with incisors designed for gnawing. Wood, sheetrock, furniture and common building materials are no match for determined rodents. These creatures frequently make holes to enter roofs, attics, chimneys, crawl spaces and ground-level areas. Rodents can even undermine foundations. Once inside, they’ll continue to wreak havoc. Plus, entry points can contribute to water damage and allow other types of pests an open door to enter your property.
Rats alone contaminate and destroy enough food to feed 200 million people worldwide annually. Germs found in rodent droppings, urine and saliva contaminate cabinets, counters and most surfaces. Since both rats and mice produce waste material frequently, pathogens can easily accumulate and spread. Airborne germs are also a danger. Simply sweeping or cleaning rodent droppings can stir up salmonella, hantavirus and various bacterial diseases.
Rodent colonies are linked to unpleasant odors and serious health concerns. Unnoticed infestations can contribute to unusual smells that aggravate asthma, allergies and cause or exacerbate respiratory problems. Rodents may also become trapped and die in a confined or difficult to reach area, which can cause extreme odor problems that require fumigation.
How to Prevent a Rodent Infestation
Since there are many places in a home that rats and mice can hide, prevention is your best way to avoid an infestation. If you can remove the three primary reasons rodents enter your home—food, water and shelter—you have the best chance of keeping these pests away.
Seal Entry Points
Rats can fit through holes the size of a half dollar, and mice can fit through a gap the size of a nickel. That means you need to carefully check inside and outside of your home for these small spaces and close these entry points. Inside your home, check in your kitchen around cabinets and appliances. Pay special attention to pipes, around doors and in attics, basements, laundry rooms and crawl spaces. Outside, check around windows, doors, your foundation and where your roof meets your house.
Trap Resident Rats and Mice
Since rodents reproduce quickly, it’s important to remove your resident rodents to avoid an infestation. Set traps in areas where you see evidence of rodents, which is often near walls and in areas with little human activity.
Remove Food Sources and Potential Nesting Sites
Clean up promptly after spills and keep any food in tightly-sealed containers. Frequently empty your trash cans and keep clutter to a minimum. Try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Maintain your lawn so that rodents don’t find places to set up camp close to your home. Keep your grill clean.
Count on ABC to Remove Rodents from Your Property
Early detection is the key to preventing costly damage and serious health problems caused by rodents. ABC Home & Commercial Services is the state’s largest independently-owned and operated pest control company, so our technicians have the experience and training to handle even the toughest rodent problem. You can count on ABC’s rodent experts to identify the source of your pest problem and quickly determine the best way to make your home pest-free again. Schedule a service today.