If you spot a mouse hiding in your home or running across your porch, you might wonder if calling a pest control expert is really necessary. After all, we’re used to seeing mice depicted in popular entertainment as cute, harmless creatures. Could such a tiny animal really cause that much harm?
The reality is that a mouse infestation is a significant hygiene problem that can negatively impact your health. Below, we’ll explain some of the leading health risks associated with mouse infestations and how to tell when it’s time to call an exterminator.
HEALTH RISKS INCREASED BY MOUSE INFESTATIONS
While it’s possible to get an illness from a diseased mouse’s bite, the much bigger concerns are mouse droppings, urine, dander, and saliva. Not only can these things contaminate food and surfaces in your home, but they can also contaminate your indoor air and cause the following health problems.
Mouse dander, saliva, urine, and droppings are known allergens that can cause symptoms you might initially mistake for seasonal allergies. If you think your home is free of mouse allergens, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise: a nationwide survey of 800 homes (including homes outside inner-city areas) revealed that 82% had detectable levels of mouse allergens!
3. Diseases Transmitted Through Food
It’s possible to contract any of these diseases in the United States from eating food that’s been contaminated by mouse feces or urine.
4. Diseases Transmitted Through Dust and Air
Diseased mouse waste can also contaminate dust. Inhaling infected dust particles or bacteria from infected mice can cause you to contract the following diseases:
If the mice in your home have made it into your heating and cooling system’s ductwork, this creates a dire health concern. That ductwork circulates air and airborne particles (including dust) throughout your home. If you hear mice scampering or smell a stale odor in your air ducts, don’t wait to contact an exterminator.
SIGNS OF A MOUSE INFESTATION IN YOUR HOME
In one year, a female mouse can give birth to about 35 babies. Each of those little mice typically mate at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, and the gestation period is only about 20 days. At this rate, it’s easy to see how infestations can grow so quickly. If you observe any of the following signs, you know it’s time to call in a pest control company.
1. An Actual Mouse
Always remember: if you see one, there are definitely others around. Before they start (or continue) breeding, it’s time for some pest control measures.
Mice droppings look like tiny, smooth, dark grains of rice. Do not directly handle them, and make sure to disinfect the area once they’re removed.
3. An Ammonia Odor
Mouse urine has a stale, ammonia-like odor. They typically just let it dribble out in droplets as they scurry along, so if you can actually smell it, then the infestation is quite bad.
4. Scampering or Scratching Noises
Sometimes you can hear mice moving through your walls, cupboards, or air ducts. You’re most likely to hear these noises between dawn and dusk, when mice are typically most active.
5. Signs of Chewing
Mice are voracious chewers--not by choice but necessity. Their front incisors never stop growing, so they chew almost constantly to file their teeth down. If a mouse were to stop this behavior, at some point, its incisors would prevent it from eating, and it would starve. If your home has a mouse problem, don’t be surprised to find teeth marks in wood, wires, rubber, plastic, or even fiberglass and sheet metal.
6. Torn “Nest-Making” Materials
Mice shred an assortment of materials and gather them together to make nests. Clothes, papers filed in cardboard, furniture stuffing, and insulation are often casualties of mouse nest-making behavior.
Bring in the experts at Hoffman's Exterminating Co., Inc. to give you an effective, long-term solution to the mouse problem in home. Don’t wait to contact us online or give us a call at (800) 615-3920.