Health Hazards Are Caused By Rodents
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- Rat, Pest, Control Services
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Diseases That Are Spread or Carried by Rats
Rats have all throughout history been symbols of plague and disease. Unfortunately, this symbolism is rooted in fact rather than superstition, as rats are some of the most virulent vermin to grace the animal kingdom.
Not only that, but they thrive in high-density population centres worldwide, such as large cities where food and shelter are aplenty for them.
Depending on the rat species and where you live, there are numerous diseases that they could potentially carry and spread. The most historically famous was the bubonic plague that tore through medieval Europe and Asia, killing millions.
While advances in medical science and vaccines have rendered the threat of the black plague negligible, there are still many common diseases that you can catch from exposure to rats, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, also known as LMCV.
The methods that diseases can spread from rats and mice are varied, but they generally fall into two categories. The first category is direct transmission. This method relies on an individual coming into direct contact with infected rats and being bitten or coming into direct contact with their urine or faeces.
The second category is indirect transmission. Indirect transmission of rodent-borne diseases relies on the fleas, ticks and other arthropod infestations on the rat transmitting the disease by jumping to a person or domestic animal.
While diseases are the most common harm rats and mice can do to a person, many people are allergic to rats. Their faeces, urine and shed hair can carry such allergens and cause people to have allergic reactions.
How can I discourage rats from my property?
To help prevent a rat or house mouse infestation from taking hold of your home, the most effective thing to do is make your property as unappealing to the rats as possible.
Deny them shelter by regularly checking for holes and blocking them, remove any debris or garden waste they can use to hide or make a nest. Next, deny them food. Avoid putting meat in compost bins, store bird seed and such things in containers that rats can't get to.
If your home is clean, tidy, lacks good shelter or food sources for the rats, then they will be greatly disinclined to move in at all.
What should I do if I have rats on my property?
If you think you have rats on your property, there are some signs that you can look out for. The most obvious one is rat droppings. Rat droppings are typically 12 millimetres to 18 millimetres in length and appear a dark brown in a spindle shape. If you identify droppings, you can look for other signs such as gnawing damage and sounds coming from the walls, ceiling and under the floorboards.
Once the threat has been identified, you can take pest control steps to deal with them. Firstly you need to know what you shouldn't do. Rat poison may seem like a logical first choice, but it is more often than not a terrible idea in practice. Rats are pretty big rodents, and when they die, they naturally begin to decompose.
A decomposing rat is an indescribably foul thing that can make you sick. Not only that, but the rotting cadaver will most likely have died somewhere you can't reach and is now attracting more rats and maggots and other health hazards. Rat poison also poses some serious health risks to your pets and children. The only time poison should be employed is by professional pest control services.
Traps are the next best thing, then. Using traps is a lot better than poison because at least when a rat dies in a trap, you can easily remove the body when it dies. The issue with traps is that they require patience and repeated uses. Rats are canny critters and have adapted well to human society, and consequently, they are quite good at avoiding traps, at least at first.
If you leave a trap for about a week, then the rat should have gotten used to it and stopped avoiding it; then it's just a matter of the baits temptation overcoming their caution. Where there is one rat, there are likely more, however, so you will likely have to repeat this process over the course of a month or two, depending on how bad the infestation is.
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