Disease-Carrying Rodents Invade Homes This Winter in Search of Shelter

The National Pest Management Association warns homeowners of rodent-related health concerns

FAIRFAX, Va. (January 16, 2013) – Each winter, rodents invade approximately 21 million U.S. homes, through openings as small as a dime, bringing with them a slew of hazards. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that rodents seek out shelter when temperatures drop and their food supplies decrease.

The two most common rodents homeowners might find in their attics, basements and pantries are the house mouse and Norway rat. Not just a nuisance, these rodents spread Salmonella through their droppings and bring with them other diseases such as murine typhus, infectious jaundice, Weil’s Disease and rat-bite fever, not to mention the risk of fires as they chew through wood, drywall and electrical wires.

“They may be cute in cartoons, but in reality rodents pose a number of dangers inside our homes, polluting every inch they cross,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Once they have moved in their numbers will quickly multiply, becoming a serious problem within weeks.”

NPMA advises homeowners of the most common signs of rodent infestations:

  • Droppings. Typically left behind in kitchen cabinets and pantries, along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, near nests, and in boxes, bags, old furniture and other objects.
  • Noises. Rodents often makescurrying sounds most often at night as they move about and nest.
  • Gnaw marks. New gnawings tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
  • Tracks/footprints. These along with tail marks are easily found in areas where the rodents travel.
  • Burrows. Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they prefer nesting areas that are dark and secluded.
  • Damaged food packages. Mice prefer seeds or cereals while Norway rats prefer meat, fish and dry dog food.

“If you suspect rodents have taken up residence in your home, it’s best to contact a pest professional to effectively and quickly eliminate the infestation,” advised Henriksen.

For more information about rodents and other pests, visit pestworld.org

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.