Those cute fuzzy little critters with their soft noses and twitching whiskers can be so much fun to keep as pets. However, the fun tends to dissipate somewhat when that one little fuzzball becomes 30 and they’re scurrying around your kitchen at 2 am. Of course, we’re talking about mice and rats, and the implications of a rodent infestation.
The word “infestation” sounds a little cataclysmic, doesn’t it? Is it really so bad if you have a couple of these little furballs in your home or office?
Let’s find out.
Signs of Rodent Infestation
Rats and mice are clever and resourceful creatures, with an uncanny ability to find their way into our homes through the tiniest of spaces. They are shy and skittish and often, people don’t realise that they have additional house guests until the mouse family has grown into a small community.
So, how can you tell if you have a rodent infestation? Can you answer yes to any of these questions?
- Have you seen small, cylindrical shaped droppings in or behind cupboards?
- Do you often hear scratching or scurrying sounds from inside your ceiling?
- Have you seen small footprints in dusty areas?
- Have you seen evidence of gnawed wood, wires or skirting boards?
- Do you often smell a stale or musky odour in certain places in your home?
- Have you uncovered little nests of shredded paper or fabric?
- Do you have inexplicable holes in bread packets or fruit that has been left out overnight?
You may only have a couple of rodents scavenging in your space, but this becomes a problem when you consider their complete disregard for adequate contraceptive measures.
A mouse has a gestation period of around 20 days and will give birth to between 3 – 14 pups. She can (and will) mate immediately after and can very easily carry 5 – 10 litters per year. You have to agree, that a small issue can become a very big problem very quickly.
Health Issues Caused by Rats and Mice
It’s interesting to note that you don’t actually have to come into contact with the rodents to be affected by the various health problems that they can carry.
Salmonella is commonly spread by rodents and often occurs when we eat food contaminated by their saliva. Painful stomach cramps, fever and diarrhoea are indicators of this illness, and are incredibly unpleasant.
Also known as the Black Plague which killed an estimated 75 to 200 million people in the late 1300s is another issue to be very aware of. Some species of rats carry fleas which are infected with a transmittable pathogen causing severe symptoms with a high mortality rate.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
This disease is contracted when inhaling the dried faeces or urine of an infected rodent. Severe chills and fever, vomiting and aching muscles are some of the first stage symptoms, with breathing trouble and fluid on the lungs occurring in the second stage.
Causes of Rodent Infestation
Cold winters often force rodents indoors where it’s warm and cosy and often has an unlimited food supply.
But even if they can’t set up their home in your house or office, there may be places nearby which serve as a safe house. These can include compost heaps (which get lovely and warm in winter), wood or leaf piles or even barns and stables.
Being opportunistic little creatures, they will always take advantage of a free meal. So, feeding the local wild birds, leaving food out and uncovered overnight, or leaving your garbage uncovered gives them the perfect opportunity for a midnight snack.
What is the Solution?
Bearing this in mind, it’s safe to assume that you’d rather not have a community of rats or mice living with you. If you suspect that you have a rodent infestation, please give us a call. We will be happy to assess the problem and make a recommendation on the best solution which is right for you and give you back a healthy, rodent-free home.