Winters in Maine can be brutal. And humans aren't the only creatures that think so. When it starts to get cold, and sometimes long before, mice and rats start looking for a safe place to live. Oftentimes, that safe place is within the walls of our homes!
When rodents get in, make no mistake, they aren't cute and harmless anymore. That little shivery furball might look adorable, but the creatures that can be found living in its fur are far from it. Mice and rats are vectors for parasites such as ticks, fleas, and more. In fact, a single mouse can have as many as one hundred deer ticks on its body! This can present a serious issue when they invade.
Deer ticks are a growing problem in Southern Maine due to their increasing populations because as their numbers continue to grow, so do the cases of Lyme disease in our area. When a mouse brings deer ticks into a home, those ticks won’t remain on the mouse. Deer ticks need to find a new host in every stage of its development. As larvae, they prefer to attach to small animals such as mice or birds, but when they become nymphs, they will move to larger animal and may target humans as well. That means a single mouse invader can introduce hundreds of hungry ticks into your home!
Rodents are mechanical vectors for harmful bacteria as well. This is because they often crawl around in dumpsters, trash cans, sewer pipes, and other filthy places before they explore your pantry and kitchen shelves or crawl around on your counters. A rodent infestation is usually accompanied by an increase in stomach illness and sickness that is commonly mistaken for the flu.
According to the CDC, the diseases that are directly transmitted by rodents are hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, OMSK hemorrhagic fever, plague, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, and tularemia. This list does not include the long list of diseases spread by the secondary pests that rodents carry.
Rats, mice, and other rodents are also extremely destructive when they invade our homes. These pests can chew on the electrical wires inside the walls of our homes and present a fire hazard. Rodents can also chew holes through walls and cause serious damage to structures. Mice and rats will tear up insulation which allows heat loss as well as chew holes in food packaging and taint or destroy the food inside. In addition, rodents leave feces and urine everywhere they go, which not only presents a health threat, but also creates an unpleasant odor inside your home.
It is never good to have mice, rats, or any of the other common rodent pests found in New England living inside your home. Every homeowner should be aware of the conditions that attract these rodents to our homes, which include:
Moisture conditions around the perimeter of your home’s foundation caused by leaking spigots, plumbing, and hoses or by gutters that are obstructed or broken.
Outdoor trash stored in open or unclean receptacles.
Objects stacked near the exterior of the home such as firewood or construction materials that rodents can use as harborage and hiding places.
Areas of excessive shade or dense, overgrown landscaping.
Rotted wood on or around a home.
Easily accessible food sources.
Untrimmed grass or overgrowth around the foundation of a home.
Unprotected and secluded locations underneath porches, decks, patios, and stairs.
Sometimes rodents invade homes and properties just because they’re there, and they don't need an invitation. The best way to keep these pests out is to contact your local pest control to implement a pest control plan.
Pests aren't just a nuisance; they can threaten the health of your family, damage your belongings, and destroy your home. If you've never considered investing in a home pest control plan, get started by scheduling a free home inspection today! We can help you determine what pest pressures you’re dealing with on your property and guide you toward real solutions that will keep those bugs, rodents, and wild animals from causing more problems.
Don’t get us wrong, rodents can be cute. It can be fun to watch squirrels playing on a fence line or scrambling up a tree or a mouse scurrying along a wall. Even rats can be fun to watch, though most people find them to be the least adorable of the rodents. When outdoors, these rodents don’t cause much of a problem for us. The real problem comes when these pests find their way indoors, so it's important to keep those critters outside where they belong. Life has enough challenges without adding health problems from exposure and home repair costs from rodent infestations.