rat infestation

RAT INFESTATION and disease facts

Rat infestation is a numbers game. Rats and mice are extremely successful breeders, the more of them there is the more disease they can spread. Sexually mature rats are pregnant for about three weeks and can birth anywhere from six to twelve rat pups. Rats and mice can have four to six litters a year and reproduce within three months old. Rats and mice can live for up to 18 months. Only two rats can create a rat population of more than 1,200 in a single year. Any of these rats can spread up to 35 different diseases.

Rats have strong teeth that allow them to chew through glass, cinder-block, wire, aluminum and lead. Many fires of “unknown causes” may have been caused by mice or rats chewing through electrical wires.

An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a small hole the size of a quarter.

How do you protect against rats?

  • Remove debris from the property. (This includes compost piles)
  • Seal all gaps leading into the house.
  • Do not leave pet food out or garbage uncovered.
  • A cat may help but is only a partial solution. One cat cannot get rid of a rat infestation.

Dangers of Rodent Waste

If rate, mice, a colony of bats, flock of birds or a family of squirrels, raccoons or other pests take up residence in your home, their droppings will accumulate and create potential health risks. Anyone who enters the area and disturbs the material could be in danger. Once a rodent problem has been discovered in a building, exclusion plans should be made, and the extent of contamination should be determined. When an accumulation of pest manure (feces) is discovered in a building, removing the material is critical, but it’s not the first step.

The first step of the rodent waste clean-up process is to seek a pest control or animal waste removal company. From there, our technicians will remove the animals themselves. Chemical repellents and ultrasonic devices are largely ineffective for eliminating rodent infestations. The most effective animal control solution is inspection, trapping, removing and excluding the pests. This involves following critical steps to identify and seal active entry and exit points and re-entry points. (Because some rodents are so small they can squeeze through a gap as small as a ¼”).

The best way to prevent exposure to rodent carried disease is to avoid situations where contaminated material can become airborne and later inhaled. Inhalation exposure to highly contaminated places may be all that is needed to cause infection and development of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, rabies, plague, histoplasmosis, Eosinophilic Meningitis, Anthrax, Raccoon Roundwormand other zoonotic diseases. Occasionally where bats are roosting in the attic space, the animal feces may contaminate the air conditioning or heating equipment found in the attic exposing the occupants to potential infection without even entering the attic.

Proper disposal of contaminated material during animal waste clean-up is critical. You must thoroughly clean all accessible and visible interior walls where wildlife has roosted or nested. You should remove all rodent droppings. Removing droppings from structures should be left to experienced professionals familiar with proper removal procedures to prevent animal waste from becoming airborne.

After removing all contaminated material, apply an approved disinfectant to kill any parasites or fungus associated with pests and wildlife. Rats are common flea hosts. Fleas, lice, mites and can infest bats, squirrels, birds, rats, raccoons, and pests. If the host animals are removed from their roosts or nests, the parasites look for another host. As a result, they may wander into the living space of human dwellings, potentially transmitting diseases to humans.

Rat infestation facts and diseases

Tularemia: Host and carrier: Rats, mice, raccoons, and other rodents.
Agent: Bacteria

How Tularemia spreads:

  • Handling infected rats, mice, raccoons and animal carcasses
  • Being bitten by an infected tick, mouse, deerfly, rat or other insect or rodent
  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or water
  • Breathing in the bacteria

Additional Info: Tularemia is characterized by fever, chills, headache, backache, and weakness.

Salmonella Virus: Host and carrier: Rodents, rats and mice
How Salmonella spreads: Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces
Additional Info: Symptoms are abdominal pains and violent diarrhea

Colorado Tick Fever: Host and carrier: Rodents, mice, raccoons, and other rodents.
Agent: Virus
Transmitter: Tick

How the disease spreads: Bite from an infected tick

Murine Typhus: Host and carrier: Rats
Agent: Bacteria
Transmitter: Flea or mite

How the disease spreads:

  • Bite from an infected flea or mite
  • Contact of broken skin or wound with infected flea or mite or their droppings.

Additional Info: Symptoms are characterized by fever, headache and muscular pain.

Scrub Typhus: Host and carrier: Rats
Agent: Bacteria
Transmitter: Mite

How the disease spreads: Bite from an infected rat or mouse

Additional info: Symptoms are characterized by sudden fever, painful swelling of the lymph glands, and skin rash.

Plague Bacteria: Host and carrier: Rodents and other animals involved Bubonic plague bacteria
Agent: Bacteria

How the disease spreads:

  • Bite of an infected flea
  • Direct contact with an infected animal

Additional Info: Plague is a severe and potentially deadly bacterial infection.

Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis (LCM): Host and carrier: House mouse
Agent: Virus

How Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis (LCM) spreads:

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent droppings or urine
  • Direct contact with rodents or their droppings or urine.
  • Bite wounds, although this rarely occurs.

Leptospirosis: Host and carrier: Rodents and other animals
Agent: Bacteria

How Leptospirosis spreads:

  • Eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine from infected pests like rats, mice, raccoons, and rodents.
  • Contact through the mucous membranes (such as inside the nose) or skin with soil or water that is contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: Host and carrier: Rodents and other animals
Agent: Virus

How Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome spreads:

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent droppings or urine
  • Direct contact with rodents or their droppings or urine
  • Bite wounds, although this rarely happens

Additional Info: This syndrome is characterized most commonly by fever, headache, cough, and rapid respiratory and kidney failure.

How do you stop a rat infestation?

Rat infestations are one of the most annoying problems homeowners are forced. Unfortunately, virtually all homeowners have to deal with a rat infestation at least once. Rats can often cause severe damage by their presence, constantly chewing through electrical wires or causing noxious odors by leaving their droppings everywhere. Look for a pest control company that also offers a rat cleanup service.

Have you noticed noxious odors, droppings, or other indicators of the presence of rats, mice, raccoons, opossums or other pests that get into your attic? Worry no longer; hire rat control to help you with your infestation problem.

Step 1 – Home inspection for rats:

Getting rid of rats should start with a thorough inspection of the home to identify rat entry points. Rats don’t need to walk through your front door to get inside your home. All they need is a hole the size of a quarter to gain entry to your house, and mice can get through even smaller holes than that. The rat trapping system should be installed after the inspection.

Step 2 – Clean up and sanitation

The rat waste is removed, and damaged materials are replaced. Infested areas are sanitized and deodorized.

Step 3 – Prevention and sealing

This step is also known as “rat-proofing” your home. In this step, your home is repaired with rat-proof materials. The trapping system is checked and reset.

Step 4 – Attic and crawl space repair and restoration

Materials are replaced. New insulation and other damaged materials are being repaired or replaced.

Step 5 – Rat prevention

Protection is the rat repellent system of controlling rats by lowering the rat population, preventing re-infestation by using rat repellent installed in your attic and crawl space.

Step 6 – Warranty

You should only hire a pest control company that offers a multi-year warranty on the rat control service. Unless their service results in a rat-free home, they should come back and fix the problem free of charge.

Are there rats in your attic?

Why are rats attracted to your attic?

Rats are often found in attics for three primary reasons.

Firstly, they crave warm temperatures, and when nighttime temperatures drop, rats are attracted to attics that offer warmth and protection. Secondly, rats are constantly looking for the scent of other rats for breeding purposes. When rats make their home in your attic, the odors left behind will attract rats from around the area. Lastly, attics offer rats protection from their natural predators such as cats, dogs, and birds of prey.

Rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels and other rodents are capable of causing significant damage to your attic’s wiring and ductwork, so when an infestation has been detected, it pays to address the problem immediately. Rats instinctually chew and gnaw constantly. An untreated rat problem can cause frayed electric wires, punctured air ducts, electrical fires and even damaged plumbing pipes. Lastly, rats can spread disease and contamination.

The key to rat control is two-pronged, you must first clear out the current infestation and decontaminate the area, and secondly, you must rat-proof the site of the infestation to prevent more rats from entering in the future. If you simply trap and remove the rats that are already there, your infestation problem will come back in no time. It’s not enough to simply hire an exterminator. You need a company that will take care of your rat problem permanently. The pest control company should perform a thorough removal and decontamination to removal all rats and traces of their presence. Then the exterminator should attack the source of the problem by finding all the openings rats use to enter your home and seal them shut with steel.

Rat infestation health hazards

Hantavirus

If you have a rat problem in your insulation, then you must be wary of the Hantavirus. Rats excrete the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. Therefore, someone may be exposed to Hantavirus by breathing contaminated dust after cleaning or disturbing rodent nests or droppings or by working or living in rodent-infested settings.

Leptospirosis

Rats, among other rodents, are also known to spread Leptospirosis. Humans are infected through food, water, or soil containing urine from these infected animals (i.e., rats, raccoons, mice). Leptospirosis can also be transmitted through direct contact with urine, blood or tissue from an infected animal. In addition, the bacteria can enter through broken skin or the soft tissues on the inside of the mouth, nose or eyes.

Murine Typhus

Murine Typhus is an acute infectious disease. It is transmitted to humans by rat fleas and feces. The symptoms include fever, headache, and rash, body aches & pains, chills.

Salmonella

Bacteria cause Salmonella disease in humans and animals and is transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.

Preventative Measures

At one point, your attic has more than likely been infested with disease-carrying rodents. The following measures should be taken to protect yourself and your family from rodents transmitting these diseases within your household. First, remove rodent feces and urine. Second, keep rodents out of your home. Remove rodent food sources. Clean up rodent-infested areas. Lastly, make sure you wear gloves and wash your hands after contact with animal feces.