Live in Ludlow, Chicopee, Enfield, or Somers? You’re about to have some unwanted houseguests. The Northeast is inhabited by a host of both mice and rats. As the weather cools, both types of rodents will seek refuge and food in your home. While the treatment for a mouse or a rat is similar, it’s important to know the difference so you can properly treat and prevent infestations.
Deer mice prefer rural outdoor areas, specifically in fence posts, tree hollows, and log piles. Deer mice are rarely a problem in residential settings, but they can wander indoors during the winter months while searching for shelter from the cold weather. Deer mice pose a significant health threat because they are the most common carrier of Hantavirus. This virus is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with the urine, feces, or saliva of infected deer mice. Don’t store pet food or birdseed in garages or storage sheds, where it is especially attractive to deer mice.
Unlike deer mice, house mice usually nest in dark, secluded areas within structures. They are excellent climbers and can jump up to a foot high. House mice can cause serious property damage by chewing through materials. In fact, they have been known to spark electrical fires by gnawing on wires inside homes. These rodents are also a health threat, as they can contaminate stored food and spread diseases like Salmonella, tapeworms, and Ebola. House mice hide in clutter, so it’s important to keep storage areas clean and store boxes off the floor. Also, keep food in sealed, rodent-proof containers.
Norway rats live in colonies and are primarily nocturnal and often burrow in piles of garbage or under concrete slabs. They tend to enter homes in the fall when outside food sources become scarce. Indoors, Norway rats nest in basements, attics, and other undisturbed dwellings. Norway rats can cause significant damage to property by gnawing through a variety of materials, including plastic and lead pipes, to obtain food and water. They are also vectors of disease, such as ebola, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, trichinosis, and salmonellosis. In addition, these rats can introduce fleas and mites into a home. Regularly inspect the home for signs of an infestation, such as droppings, gnaw marks, damaged food goods, and grease rub marks caused by rats’ oily fur.
Roof rats also live in colonies and prefer to nest in upper parts of structures or in trees. Historically, roof rats and their fleas have been associated with bubonic plague. Although cases are rare, roof rats also spread typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis, and salmonellosis. Be sure to clean up fruit that may have fallen from trees in the yard. Also, ensure the garbage is stored in tightly covered receptacles.
Need to scurry out of a bad situation? If you find a mouse or a rat, call us at 413-566-8222 or contact us today. We have the knowledge and the services necessary to help keep your home pest-free!