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To protect, promote and improve the health of our community
Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. In the Eastern United States, the most common diseases spread by rodents include Hantavirus, Salmonella, LCMV, Rat-Bite fever, and Tularemia. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.
How to Prevent Rodent Infestations
- Seal holes inside and outside your house to prevent rodents from getting into your house
- Trap rodents inside your house to reduce their population
- Clean up rodent feeding and nesting sites
- Store items such as pet food and bird seed in sealed containers
Physical Signs of Rodent Infestation
- Runways – Paths will form between feeding and shelter areas. Rodents memorize their territory through muscle memory and continue to use the same paths. They prefer to move along objects. Identifying rodent movement patterns helps to effectively place traps and bait stations.
- Droppings – Droppings and urine are left where rodents travel or rest, especially in corners. Identify the rodent type by the size and shape of droppings. Use a palette knife to check droppings – fresh droppings are soft and shiny, while older droppings are gray, crusted and easy to break.
- Odor – A distinctive, musky odor may be present.
- Gnaw Marks – Fresh gnaw marks are light and will darken over time. Mice leave scratch-like marks approximately 1/16-inch long. Rats make much larger gnaw marks, approximately 1/8 inch in length.
- Rub Marks – Rodents leave rub marks from body oil, grease and dirt along their runways. New rub marks will smear if touched. Old rub marks are darker and may flake off.
- Tracks – Footprints and tail drags may be seen in dusty locations. To view difficult-to-see tracks, shine a strong flashlight at a low angle across the dust. Place a non-toxic powder, such as mason’s line chalk, in a place where a rodent runway may be and re-inspect it the next day.
- Upset Pets – House pets, such as cats and dogs, may become agitated when they hear rodents gnawing, digging, running and fighting.
Rodent infestations can pose a hazard to the public and are considered a nuisance. Environmental Services can help with identifying and removing infestations. Click here to file a nuisance complaint with MCHD’s Environmental Services branch.
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