Rodents can be destructive, dangerous, and threaten the health of people and pets. This justifies rodent management, and why they should not be tolerated where people live, work, learn, or play:
Rodents contaminate countertops, cabinets, and food. Their urine, droppings, and corpses can contain pathogens that affect human health and contaminate every stage of the food production chain. Estimates suggest they’re responsible for billions of dollars of damage to the food supply each year.
Whether by chewing or burrowing, rodent activities damage structures.
- Gnawing: rodents use powerful jaws and strong teeth to chew through materials and access perceived resources. This can include weather stripping on doors, building materials (wood, sheetrock, etc.), dumpster lids, and, particularly dangerous, gnawing on electrical wires. It is thought that a percentage of building fires with an unknown cause might be due to rodents chewing wires.
- Burrowing: Norway rat burrowing can damage plant roots and ornamental plantings. Infrastructure including sidewalks, statues, and other objects can be undermined and collapse.
Rodents are known carriers of pathogens (disease-causing organisms) transmitted to people in two ways:
- Direct Transmission: rodents can contaminate surfaces or food items with droppings, urine or dead bodies. Cleaning up dry rodent droppings without using a mask is the primary route of exposure for one type of Hantavirus. Norway rats have also been known to bite the young, elderly, or individuals with limited mobility, who might have food residue on their bodies during sleep.
- Indirect Transmission: rodents can host arthropod vectors (insects, ticks, and mites). Fleas, lice, and mites that feed on rodents can transmit pathogens and parasites to people and pets. Particularly, fleas that feed on rodents may acquire and transmit several serious pathogens that cause human diseases.
Components of rodent urine are a known source of allergens that can lead to asthma.