What are Rodents?
Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of unremittingly growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About forty percent of all mammal species are rodents; they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica. Well-known rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters, and capybaras.
Some rodent species are serious agricultural pests, eating large quantities of food stored by humans. For example, in 2003, the amount of rice lost to mice and rats in Asia was estimated to be enough to feed 200 million people. Most of the damage worldwide is caused by a relatively small number of species, chiefly rats and mice. Rodents are also significant vectors of disease. The black rat, with the fleas that it carries, plays a primary role in spreading the bacterium Yersinia pestis responsible for bubonic plague, and carries the organisms responsible for typhus, Weil's disease, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. A number of rodents carry hantaviruses, including the Puumala, Dobrava and Saaremaa viruses, which can infect humans. Rodents also help to transmit diseases including babesiosis, cutaneous leishmaniasis, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, Omsk hemorrhagic fever, Powassan virus, rickettsialpox, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and West Nile virus.
Prevention of Rodents
1. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
2. Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
3. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
4. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
5. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
6. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
7. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
8. Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
9. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.