Cooler Temps, More Rodents?
With the temperatures cooling down, rodents are seeking shelter inside our homes and other buildings. Researchers and Extension wildlife specialist Charlie Lee at K-State said that it is during late fall season when home and farm owners need to prepare for rodents seeking shelter, because these pest can do some serious damage.
Rats and mice damage structures by burrowing into our walls, insulations and under foundations. Sometimes we don’t realize the damage until its too late either. Keep your eyes out for chewed electrical wires, wooden structures and wall material. Rats and mice often use these materials to build their nests.
Rats and mice are responsible for at least 45 different diseases said Lee. The harmful human diseases include Hantavirus, Leptospirosis and the Plague.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Hantavirus is spread by breathing in dust contaminated with rodent urine or droppings; having direct contact with rodents and their urine, droppings or nest material; or even bite wounds from rodents, although they are rare.”
Eating food or drinking water that’s contaminated with urine from infected rodents can transmit leptospirosis, according to the CDC. Human contact with soil contaminated with urine from infected animals is another method of transmission.
Wild ground-dwelling rodents, including ground squirrels, prairie dogs, wood rats and chipmunks are all involved in the cycle with fleas to spread the bacterium that causes the plague. Modern antibiotics help combat the disease, however there has been reports of fatalities.
In order to work towards rodent-proofing our homes and buildings Lee says “close up places where its obvious that [rodents] are getting in. The next step is sanitation, which is simply habitat alteration,” he continued. “Clean up inside and out, particularly pet food and spilled grains. Then finally, the third step is population reduction. Many people rely on trapping, and some rely on toxicant programs.”
Visit Ag Wildlife Damage for more helpful information.