Rat Infestation:

Identification, Dangers, and Health Hazards

Rodents can be classified as a lot of things, be it guinea pigs or hamsters, but unlike these that we keep as pets, some rodents can pose serious threats to our families and houses.

a house mouse on a white background

House mice and roof rats, in particular, are what we should be careful of the most, and are the ones that require professional attention. About one-third of the population in the United States suffers from rodent infestation, and most of that occurs during the winter when these rodents seek shelter in our homes from the cold.

If you’re experiencing a problem with rodents, call your local rodent exterminator before things get out of hand.

Rodent Identification

Places one should be watching out for the most are damp, dark spaces around the house and areas where we do not often visit. For example, there could be mice in the attic, the garage, the laundry room, and basements. These places provide the perfect breeding ground for rodents and hence should be one of the first places to clean and check for infestation. 

The odd place out is the kitchen, where we do visit often, yet the kitchen has a lot of nook and corners which let these creatures hideaway, and lots of good and wasted food, which rodents snack on.

Rodents are also known to nibble at anything that comes their way, be it food, wood or clothes, but that should be the least of worries given that they can also cut through electric wires which highly increase the chances of electric fires. 

They also usually crawl into the house through the gutters and sewers, which means they are nothing short of a germ body waiting to infect while they carry parasites such as fleas and ticks with them.

Rodents also urinate everywhere they go including on food, which means anyone can be infected with it by consuming the food or coming in contact with a rodent in any other way.


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Facts About Rodents

Rodents always travel in packs, and if you have seen one in your home, it is very much likely that an entire family of rodents is hiding out there as well. Not only that they also reproduce quickly, up to 12-13 offspring in a few weeks’ time.

This means that by the time you notice the infestation there will be a few families of rodents in your home, which makes calling professionals such as Rest Easy Pest Control as soon as you notice very important.

These sneaky little creatures can enter any structure and any opening or gap, no matter how small. A space the size of a coin is enough for a rat or mouse to easily pass through. 

Plus they can also climb well, making the attic a comfortable place for them to reach, and reproduce in. Their incisors also keep growing throughout their life, meaning it gets sharper every day.

This makes it easier for them to cut through any sealing you might have used to fill in any gaps. 

Why Rodent Droppings Are A Health Hazard

Unless you happen to have one as a pet, there’s a fair chance that you don’t like rodents. For a good reason: most of these critters (the wild ones, anyway) suffer from the three Ds: dirty, damaging to your home, and disease-ridden.

This last one is especially concerning to many homeowners. Ever since the Black Plague, the fear of disease spread by rodents has been widespread and well known. Rodent problems are not to be taken lightly, no matter how clean their house is.

But did you know those rodent droppings can be just as dangerous as having physical contact with them? We’ll look at some of the diseases spread by rodents, which ones are spread through their droppings, and how to protect yourself.

Diseases Spread by Rodents

In case you’re wondering if we’re being overly cautious and exaggerating the need to be watchful when dealing with rodent problems, we can assure you that we are not.  The truth is, rodents can transmit several diseases. But there is also a list of diseases that are transmitted indirectly by rodents as they might be transmitted by parasites, ticks, etc. a rodent might be carrying.

The good news is that several diseases are not known to occur in the United States. Some, however, do appear in this country and are spread when dust in your home becomes contaminated by a rodent’s urine or fecal matter. These are the ones that fit the criteria:

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

This is the disease that often comes to mind when people refer to the health hazards inherent to different species of rodents. Since 1993, when it was discovered, there have been more than 500 reported deaths linked to HPS. One significant element of danger is that you don’t have to be bitten or even touch a rodent in order to contract the disease. This is because the virus is found in the feces and urine of rodents, and can be inhaled. This is why protective masks should be worn when cleaning up an area that contains rodent droppings.

  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • Tularemia

Transmission of Disease to Other Species

Staying away from rodents doesn’t always mean you’re 100% safe. A number of insects, such as ticks, fleas, and mites feed on infected rodents. After feeding, those insects can become carriers of the same disease that the rodent had been inflicted with.

Then, all they have to do is find an unsuspecting human and the transmission of the disease continues. This is just another reason why ridding your home of rodents is imperative if you want to keep your family safe.

a house mouse on a white background

“Staying away from rodents doesn’t always mean you’re 100% safe. A number of insects, such as ticks, fleas, and mites feed on infected rodents.”

-Rest Easy Pest Control

Contamination of Food

Your pantry or other food supply makes an attractive place to investigate. Rats and mice will chew through whatever is necessary to reach your food. This usually means gnawing through the wood of your pantry or cupboards. Of course, they enter from behind, so they’ll start doing damage before you even know they’re in your home.

Once they’re inside your pantry, they will use it as their own private buffet. These rats and mice will chew through your boxes, bags, and whatever else they can get their teeth on. Any food that has been touched or eaten by a rodent must be thrown away because there’s no way to know what kind of contamination has occurred.

They Can Destroy Your House and Business

For many homeowners, rodent problems can equal a huge hassle. They eat our food, leave feces everywhere, and can even spread disease. The annoying critters are nocturnal, which means they’re usually running around while we’re sleeping. But with all the problems that rodents can cause, some homeowners don’t consider the fact that they can even cause fires within your home.

If you have rodent problems, it usually doesn’t take a long time to figure it out. After all, those huge teeth aren’t meant to give them a bright smile; they are made to chew. A rodent’s teeth, hands down, is the best tool that the critter has when it comes to foraging for food or building a nest.

There are a few things that a rodent can’t chew its way through if given enough time. Whether it’s cardboard, wood, or bags of food, rodents know how to cause a lot of damage to your home. What may be surprising is the fact that one of the biggest problems is that they have no qualms about chewing through the wires in your home.

people is chatting in the restaurant


No one wants to shop in a store where there could possibly be rats. As previously mentioned, they carry disease and are often filthy. This is why rat infestations — or even one rat — can quickly become a health violation, leading to fines and even a possible shutdown of your business if the problem is not rectified.

If your company includes grocery items, there is a chance that rats will feast on various types of food at night while the store is closed. But even if your business is in an office building, you must worry about issues such as chewed electrical wires, as noted above.


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Chewed Wires Can Mean Real Danger

Electrical wires are everywhere, in every room of your house in one way or another. If these wires become damaged, it causes a safety hazard. Luckily, wires are almost always safe, because of the way they’re protected by an outer casing. Unfortunately, rodents will chew through wires and everything else in the search of food, or to build a nest for itself.

Exposed wires can lead to malfunctions of equipment, but even worse, can cause a fire if not dealt with promptly. And the real kicker? Rodents have also been known to chew through the wires of smoke alarms around your home. Together, these rodent problems can mean a very real danger to your family and home.

Automobiles Are Not Safe

When it comes to the dangers of rodents, and in particular their tendency to chew through wires, most homeowners will strictly concentrate on the house itself. But that is only a part of the problem. When it is cold outside, rodents will attempt to get into your house, but very often, it is much easier for them to gain access to your garage.

Once there, they will attempt to find someplace warm to stay for the night. One such common area is underneath your hood. Engines stay warm for a bit of time, so the rodents may feel the warmth and be drawn to it. After they’re inside, they will chew through available materials to build a nest. Which means that the wiring of your car is often damaged and, just like your home, will create a fire hazard.

How to Protect Yourself

Of all rodent problems that you can experience, the disease is the one you don’t want to mess with. The trick is to act safely and responsibly.

If you have a rodent infestation of any kind and need to clean up their droppings, it’s a good idea to air out the room and use a face mask that will prevent you from breathing in any of the dust that might have become contaminated.

If you have a reason to be overly cautious, your best bet might be to call a professional cleaner who is adept at this type of clean-up.

Rodent Removal Service in NYC and Long Island

Rest Easy Pest Control professionals are known to be able to handle every sort of pest situation, including that of rodentsThey can easily identify and diagnose the problem while providing the right solutions for it.***


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