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Rodents

Whether in the country, the suburbs, or the city, most people have seen the scurry of a mouse or even a rat.

Rodents frequently find refuge and resources in the spaces we call home. There’s no question as to why they’re unwanted friends. Vermin are often associated with outbreaks of the bubonic plague; rats played a role in the death of approximately 25 million people during the 14th century when the Black Death spread rampantly through Europe. Great Plague of London.1 But even today, mice and rats spread over 35 diseases across the globe.2 Humans can be infected directly through contact with rodent feces, urine, saliva, or bites or indirectly through ticks, fleas, mites and other insects that feed on rodents.

Rodents can contaminate food and eating surfaces which may cause diseases such as tularemia, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM).3 They can potentially endanger residents by causing faults in electrical cables in ceilings and walls that can lead to fires.4 In addition, studies have shown that rodents can trigger asthma symptoms.

Seeking Shelter

Mice can squeeze through a space the size of a nickel, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a half dollar. That leaves a lot of potential vulnerabilities in the home. Once inside, they can stake their claim under and inside kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and stoves, as well as around pipes under sinks, vents, attics, crawl space, and between the floor and wall juncture.  Gaps where rodents can penetrate outside include: the roof, windows, doors, vents, and holes for electrical, plumbing, cable, and gas lines.

Eviction Notice

There are a few options to prevent rodents from entering your home. The first is to seal holes and passages along ceilings, walls, and floors. The second is to keep bushes at least three feet away from your house; mice and rats like to build their nest in bushes, and their close proximity to your house can allow for an easy passage inside the home.5 Lastly, always seal garbage bins which attract rodents and store food only in seal proof containers.

In the case that rodents do make their way into the home, using traps can be an effective method to get rid of them. Mice and rat traps are different due to their size. It is always important to read the label to learn exactly how each product works. In general, position the trap next to the wall so it forms a “T”; rodents like to run along walls as to not be exposed.6 Rodenticides, pesticides designed specifically to kill rodents, are also an effective way to get rid of mice and rats that have entered your home. Wax bait blocks are the most common for use inside the home. This product contains Bromethalin that causes the rodent’s nervous system cells to stop producing energy. This means that the cells swell to the point where it causes the mouse or rat to become paralyzed and eventually it will die within 1-2 days of eating the bait.7 They can be flavored like fish oil, molasses, or peanut butter to attract animals.8 All rodenticides are toxic when they are consumed and undiluted rodenticides contain active ingredients that can be toxic when they are inhaled or come into contact with skin, so make sure to read the label instructions for proper use and be sure to store these products out of reach of children and pets.9


  1. Reducing the negative effects of animals, insects and vermin Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.housingforhealth.com/the-guide/health-housing/reducing-the-negative-effects-of-animals-insects-and-vermin/
  2. Rodents. (2017, January 20). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/
  3. Health Hazards Posed by Rodents. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-health-hub/health-hazards-posed-by-rodents/
  4. Reducing the negative effects of animals, insects and vermin Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.housingforhealth.com/the-guide/health-housing/reducing-the-negative-effects-of-animals-insects-and-vermin/
  5. N. (n.d.). National Center for Healthy Housing. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.nchh.org/What-We-Do/Health-Hazards--Prevention--and-Solutions/Rodents.aspx
  6. Rodents. (2010, July 29). Retrieved May 01, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/prevent_infestations/trap_up.html
  7. Bernarducci, E., Bilancieri, J., Cassin, T., Chase, B., Endres, M., Fisher, R.,… Zdanowski, D. (1992) The CSMA Consumer Products Handbook. Washington D.C., US. Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association, Inc.
  8. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/rodenticides.html
  9. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/rodenticides.html

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