As temperatures continue to cool across the region, rodents have begun to seek shelter from the elements, often in buildings, garages, and other structures. To promote public vigilance against rodents, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recognizes November 16-22, 2014 as Rodent Awareness Week.
“Rodents may be small, but they pose a number of threats to human health and property,” said Jerry Lazarus, owner of Braman Termite and Pest Elimination. “This is the time of year that rodents are most likely to cause problems, so it’s important for facility managers to be on the lookout for signs of these destructive pests in and around their property.”
Aside from being a nuisance, rodents are vectors of a vast array of diseases, such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever, and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood, and electrical wiring, with the potential to cause fires.
Here are a few clues that rodents may be present:
- Droppings: A trail of rodent droppings is typically found in kitchens, break rooms, and pantries, along walls, on top of foundations, and in boxes, bags, and old furniture.
- Noises: Rodents often make scurrying sounds, especially at night, as they move about and nest.
- Gnaw marks: New gnaw marks tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
- Burrows: Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they are drawn to areas that are dark and secluded.
- Damaged food packages: House mice prefer to feed on cereals and seeds. Norway rats are omnivorous. Roof rats are omnivorious, but tend to more vegetarian preferences.
“We encourage facility managers to complete a thorough inspection of their property before the winter weather strikes. They should look for poorly fitting doors, especially hatchways and garages, holes where pipes and wires enter the building and holes or loose mortar in a block or brick foundation.” added Lazarus “No crack or hole should be overlooked, as mice only need an opening the size of a dime to find a way inside.”