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Inherent Dangers of Large Populations of Rodents and their Pheromones

Beyond an unsanitary menace, any significant population of rodents is an expensive and serious threat to both property and to human health.  

Mice and rats cause visible and unseen damage to homes, buildings, garages and even vehicles by gnawing incessantly on materials such wood, plastic and wiring.  Nesting habits result in shredded materials such as insulation and the presence of animals in or behind walls, furniture, ducts and large appliances. Damage can be extensive enough to impact plumbing or heating systems,  cause electrical damage, leave holes in walls and, if severe enough, impact structural integrity.

Rodents are peril to health in ways that are not always obvious.  Most of us are aware that rodents eat and contaminate human and animal food.  What is less commonly understood is that rodent droppings, urine, hair, dander, and oily secretions from their skin are ALL potential sources for serious human illness.

The diseases transmitted directly by rodents include: Salmonellosis, E. coli, Rat-bite Fever, Leptospirosis, and Hantavirus. Diseases are transmitted not only from living rodents and their bites but also from contact with feces, urine, or inhaling dust contaminated by their waste or from water or food contaminated by their waste and saliva.   

Fleas, ticks and mites on rats and mites are known to carry: Lyme disease, Murine Typhus, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, Colorado Tick Fever and Babeosis.  Rodent hair and dander are known allergens.   Further, the pheromones of their body secretions are an attractant for reinfestation and accelerate the breeding cycle.  

Removal of a rodent infestation requires proper safety equipment, including respirators, and thorough decontamination; consulting a pest management professional is highly recommended.

A.A. Darlington © 2016

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