Your home is so much more than a simple structure where you store your personal items and rest. A home is where you should feel safe, where you spend the majority of your life, and where you share time with loved ones. Your home is familiar, warm and inviting; a sanctuary from the outside world. Having a house to call your own is a luxury that requires a major upfront investment, with many ongoing costs that every property owner expects to pay. What most people don’t realize is that there are unwanted visitors lurking just outside your door at all times. These undesired guests will pay you no rent and could eventually ruin your entire home if let inside. If provided with food and shelter, they will wreak havoc on your most beloved possessions, threaten your health, and chew through all the hard earned dollars you have invested into your home. These destructive tenants are commonly referred to as rodents.
The rodents that often cause the most damage to a home are modest in size and can look rather innocent. The main culprits you must keep an eye out for are rats, mice and squirrels. All three of these mammals can literally destroy an entire home if granted access. They are not outwardly malicious; they are simply destructive by nature and can multiple at alarmingly fast rates.
Rodents Tear Apart Your Home as They Enter
Rodents are similar to humans in their desire for a warm and dry location that offers food and water for their family. A human’s home is the perfect paradise for a rodent and they will do anything they can to get inside. Squirrels are notorious for chewing through roofs to gain access, resulting in massive expenses when leaks occur shortly thereafter. Certain types of rodents, such as Norway rats, prefer burrowing into your home through the ground, which can shift and destroy the foundation. No matter how a rodent is gaining access to your home, it is deteriorating the structure in some form.
Rodents Will Chew Through Everything to Build a Nest
If a rodent is able to get in, its next step will be to look for a quiet spot to make a nest, such as an attic or a basement. In order to build a nest, a rodent needs materials and will chew apart anything they can get their little paws on. Often they will destroy any paper, cardboard, or furniture that is nearby, although they do not discriminate against costly possessions, not thinking twice as they munch through priceless family heirlooms or valuable paintings. A rodent’s absolute favorite nest building component is insulation of any kind, which can be an absolute nightmare for a homeowner. Chewing through insulation in an attic or around a water heater can amount to thousands of extra dollars spent on heating or cooling your home. Mice and rats also tend to snack on the insulation surrounding electrical panels and wires causing endless frustrations with power failures. A more terrifying possibility is an electrical fire that can flatten a home in hours. It is estimated in the US alone, that rodents are the cause of 20% of undetermined fires.
Rats and Mice Will Eat and Contaminate Your Food
As a rodent is busy building its new nest, it will constantly need food. A rodent, such as a rat will typically consume 15 to 20 percent of their body weight in food everyday. Rodents come equipped with razor sharp teeth, meaning they can gain access to any food-items you have stored in your home. As a rat or mouse eats, it is constantly urinating and defecating, leaving a scent trail indicating to other rodents that this is where a meal can be found. During this process, a rodent is contaminating 10 times more food than it actually eats, a further expense to the unsuspecting homeowner.
Rodents Spread Disease
While a rodent is leaving its “scent trails” all over your home, it is also possibly spreading infectious diseases to your family. Common ailments passed on by rodents are tapeworms and salmonella, although more deadly diseases and viruses such as leptospirosis, hantavirus and lassa fever are all possibilities which can be fatal. Many people have become ill due to the exposure of bacteria left behind by a rodent and not even known the cause, as mice scurry back and forth between their walls undetected. Humans are not the only ones at risk either. Your pets can become very sick from the diseases carried by rodents, often passed on from their food bowls as dog and cat food is a favorite treat for rats and mice.
Signs of Rodents Bring Down the Value of Your Home
While threatening both the structure of your house as well as your health, the value of your home will also be affected. Any visible signs of rodent exposure will greatly decrease the market value and if you have any active rodent problems, it is unlikely you will be able to sell your house until the situation has been resolved. For all these reasons and more, it is imperative that homeowners take all the necessary precautions to “rodent-proof” their homes. It is also important to contact a professional immediately if any signs of rodents do show up, ensuring that your unwanted furry friends are removed, and kept out for good in the future.