Have you ever seen a rodent in your home or on your property? There is a good chance you have. There are a lot of rodents in New England. But, which of them are the most common? And, more importantly, how can these common New England rodents impact your home and your family. Let's take a look.
Of all the rodents that can be a problem for home or business owners, the humble mouse is on the top of the list. Why? Because mice don't just come onto your property, and they don't just get into your home, they get into every part of your home. They can infest your home from top to bottom and climb all over everything while you sleep. The only other creature on our list that will do that is the rat.
Level of intruder: There are several species of mice and not all mice are on the same level when it comes to home invasion. Some mice species are most comfortable in the garage, shed, outbuilding, or barn, but the species that come inside can chew their way in behind cabinets and get into sealed drawers. They can crawl on food prep surfaces, pantry shelves, plates, silverware, and other items we put in our mouths.
Diseases and illness: Mice are known to spread harmful bacteria from trash and other bacteria-laden areas. They are also linked to the spread of salmonella, hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and other secondary diseases.
Damage: In a man-made structure mice will damage wood, insulation, sheetrock, wires, and other objects with their constant chewing. They chew into stored boxes and stored food. Mice will also leave their feces and urine everywhere they go.
Parasites: All furry creatures can carry parasites such as mites, lice, ticks, and fleas, but mice are capable of spreading these effectively throughout an entire home or business.
The most common rat invaders are roof rats and Norway rats. Both of these rat species are able to get into many places inside a home or business. This makes them as invasive as mice, and equally dangerous when it comes to spreading diseases and illness.
Level of intruder: All rats are the same level of intruder. When they get into homes, they can get into everything. But it is important to note that rats are larger rodents than mice, and will be much more focused on places they can get a larger meal, such as pantries and stored food areas. And, sometimes, rats don't get into homes at all, preferring to feed on outside food sources like garbage dumps, livestock feed, vegetables, and other large foods.
Diseases and illness: Hantavirus, rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, salmonella, murine typhus, and meningitis, as well as secondary diseases from parasites.
Damage: When rats get into a man-made structure they will do more damage than mice, due to their larger size and strong jaws. And, roof rats prefer attic spaces, as you might expect, which can lead to large-scale damage to the insulated seal of a structure.
Parasites: Rats can carry mites, lice, ticks, and fleas, and spread them to every corner of a structure.
Squirrels and Chipmunks
Squirrels and chipmunks don't prefer to live in our homes, but they may choose to when temperatures drop, or if they find an access point to an area that is secluded. They are mostly lawn pests, and a terror to gardens and ornamental plants.
Level of intruder: Since neither of these creatures wanders around inside a man-made structure, they are less likely to spread disease, harmful bacteria, and parasites. But, children or pets that access secluded areas where these creatures are living can carry illness and parasites back into a home.
Diseases and illness: These creatures are associated with salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and tularemia, as well as secondary diseases that come from ticks and other parasites.
Damage: Digging up plant bulbs and getting into bird feeders and gardens will be your biggest issue with squirrels and chipmunks. But these creatures can do damage to a structure with their teeth, and they spread their feces and urine wherever they go.
Parasites: Mice, lice, ticks, and fleas can all use squirrels and chipmunks as hosts. Fortunately, these creatures are not as efficient at spreading parasites inside a home.
Gophers, Voles, and Porcupines
These are the creatures that drive us crazy in our yards. You're not going to find any of these rodents in your pantry.
Level of intruder: Yard only. These critters get under porches, sheds, and outbuildings, so they can have easy access to the vegetation in your yard.
Diseases and illness: While these animals can carry diseases, they are a small risk.
Damage: If you have a garden, ornamental plants, or trees you are particularly fond of, you're not going to want these creatures around. It is also not a good idea to tangle with a porcupine, but we don't have to tell you that.
Parasites: These creatures can bring parasites into your yard. From there, it is up to pets to bring them into the house.
If you have any trouble with rodents on your New England property, we can help. We have educated specialists on staff who know how to remove and exclude rodents. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.