Why Managing Rodents Matters

Effective rodent control is essential to protecting the health and well-being of our families and communities. Rodents can spread up to 26 different diseases – directly or indirectly – such as rabies, West Nile and Lyme disease through contact or exposure to their droppings, urine or dander. Rats are some of the most common and destructive rodents impacting public health today.

Not only can rodents spread disease, they can damage homes and buildings. Mice and rats are capable of gnawing through insulation, wallboards, cardboard and wood in and around your home. These pests are also a fire hazard, as they can chew through electric wires igniting a structure fire. One scientist from Cornell University estimated rats along cost $19 billion in damages annually.

The closure of restaurants during the pandemic created a need for rats to find new alternative food sources that sit outside of their usual 50-foot to 150-foot radius of their nest. This means rats are not only turning cannibalistic against each other as they fight over food sources, but they are also willing to seek out new places, such as your home, for food.

The specialty industry plays a vital part in the protection of public health through controlling rats and other rodents. Especially in densely populated cities where COVID-19 is more prevalent, the need for regular IPM protocols and use of EPA-approved rodenticides is vital to protecting the health and well-being of our families and communities.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is the best practice for controlling harmful rodents. IPM considers all control and prevention options and follows a process to observe, identify, solve and prevent rodent problems. IPM balances the benefits of cost, control, public health and regulatory compliance.

Rodenticides are part of an IPM approach, as responsible, targeted use of rodenticides is, at times, the best solution. Rodenticides are rigorously tested and reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they are made available for sale and use. Read and follow label directions before selecting and applying rodenticides. If you have questions, ask a local professional or extension agent.

How to Spot a Rodent Infestation:

  • Materials that could be used for nesting in and around your home, including leaf piles, firewood, shredded paper, fabric or dried plants
  • Droppings in and around places you store food, including drawers, cupboards or under the sink
  • Holes in walls, floors or on packaging of items
  • Stale smells that seem to be coming from hidden areas

    Prevent rodent infestations from harming your indoor and outdoor living spaces with these tips:

  • Remove “nesting” sites in and around your home and lawn, including dead leaf piles and old mulch. Be sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house. Remove dead and dried plants from your property.
  • Seal all food in air-tight containers and keep kitchen garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent pests.
  • Check for cracks and holes outside, including where utilities and pipes connect, as these are easy sources for rodents to enter. Seal up the holes and replace any damaged screens on windows and doors.
  • If you notice a strange, stale smell in your home, look for other indicators that you have an infestation.
  • Consider calling a pest control professional to determine the best treatment for the removal and prevention of rodent infestations.

    Learn more about how to identify and prevent a rodent infestation on the EPA’s website, here.

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