What Are Rodents?  

08 April 2024 · 4 min read

Rodents are a common problem in Tampa, Florida; they are notorious for sending shivers down homeowners’ backs and screams across the neighborhood. They are a diverse group of small mammals known for their long incisors (teeth), which never stop growing. This continuous growth drives them to constantly chew on objects to keep their teeth in check. 

However, it’s not just the rodents lurking inside our walls that we need to worry about. Our yards, backyards, and trash cans are also fair game for these repulsive critters. Florida rodents, including mice and rats, can take over and create holes in your lawn. Throughout this blog, we’ll explore everything from sealing up entry points to setting traps and understanding the behavior of these critters.

Are There Health Risks with Rodents?  

Outdoor rodents pose significant health risks to family members due to their potential to carry and transmit various diseases. Here are some key health risks associated with outdoor rodents: 

  • Hantavirus: Rodents such as mice and rats can carry hantavirus, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Inhaling particles from rodent droppings can lead to severe respiratory illness that could be potentially fatal. 
  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection can spread through contact with water, soil, or contaminated food. If rodents urinate in homeowners’ gardens, the bacteria can contaminate fruits and vegetables. Ingesting contaminated food can lead to symptoms ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to severe conditions such as liver and kidney damage. 
  • Tularemia: Also known as rabbit fever, tularemia is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected rodents. Transmission can occur if ticks or fleas feed on the rodent and then feed on humans. Common symptoms include fever, skin ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, and in severe cases, pneumonia or infection. 
  • Salmonella: Rodents can carry salmonella bacteria and spread them through their droppings or water sources. Salmonella infections can cause gastroenteritis, with symptoms such as fever and abdominal pain. 

Direct contact with rodent droppings, urine, or rodent hair increases the risk of disease being transmitted to family members. Children are particularly vulnerable because they may come into contact with contaminated surfaces when playing outside. 

Are Rodents Harmful to Pets?  

Yes, rodents can pose significant harm to pets, and it’s essential for pet owners to take precautions to protect their furry friends from potential dangers. Here are some ways that your pet could be harmed by rodents: 

  • Transmission of Diseases: Rodents can carry diseases that can easily be transmitted to pets upon contact. If a dog eats a rodent carrying diseases, they can become infected and develop illnesses. 
  • Contaminated Environment: Rodent droppings around homes can create an unsanitary environment for pets, especially dogs that may come into contact with them while exploring or playing outside. This increases the risk of disease transmission to pets.

How Do I Know if I Have a Rodent Infestation? 

Recognizing the signs of a rodent infestation outdoors is crucial for early detection and effective control methods. Here are key indicators to watch for: 

  • Rodent Droppings: The most common sign of a rodent infestation is the presence of rodent droppings. These small black pellets are often found along pathways, near food sources like trash cans, and in hidden areas of outdoor furniture. 
  • Rodent Smell: A decomposing rodent creates an unpleasant odor, indicating a recent death within or near your property. This smell can linger for several weeks until the rodent is located and removed. 
  • Rodent Holes in the Yard: Burrows or holes in the ground, particularly near fences, home foundations, or secluded areas in the yard, suggest entry points or nesting sites for rodents. 
  • Damage to Cars: Rodents, such as rats and mice, may chew on electrical wires and other components of parked vehicles. Signs of rodent damage include chewed wires and insulation. 
  • Holes in Lanais and Pool Areas: Rodents may create openings in screens around pools, lanais, and other outdoor structures as they search for food or shelter. 
  • Witnessing Them in Person: Spotting rodents during daylight hours indicates a significant infestation. Since rodents are nocturnal, seeing them during the day suggests a large population competing for food and shelter. 

How Can I Prevent Rodents?  

Preventing outdoor rodent infestations is essential not only to protect your property but also to prevent the increase of other pests like fleas, ticks, roaches, and other insects that rodents may attract. One of the most important steps to take is to inspect the exterior of your home for potential entry points. If you notice gaps in your homes siding, holes in your lanai, or holes in your yard, it’s crucial to seal these areas with materials to prevent rodents from gaining access to your property.  

Another important preventative measure is ensuring that your outdoor area is clean and free of debris. This includes removing any piles of wood or clutter where rodents could hide or build nests. Also, store garages in sturdy, tightly sealed containers to prevent rodents from accessing food sources. If you have outdoor pets, it’s important to keep their food in sealed containers and avoid leaving it out overnight, as it can attract rodents. Additionally, maintaining bird feeders and regularly cleaning up spilled seeds can help prevent rodents from accessing the bird food and returning.  

By implementing these preventative measures, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of outdoor rodent infestations and minimize the potential damage to your family, pets, and property. 

How Do Professionals Take Care of Rodents?

Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control, a local and trusted pest control company, uses a comprehensive approach to address outdoor rodent issues. Our professional technicians begin by conducting thorough inspections of properties to identify rodent entry points, nesting sites, and areas of activity. Once the assessment is complete, our technicians strategically install weatherproof bait boxes around the exterior of homes. These bait boxes contain water-based bait that appeals to rodents. As rodents are drawn to the boxes in search of shelter, they consume the bait, which is toxic to them. After ingesting the bait, rodents typically return to their nests, where they die, resulting in the reduction of a rodent population. 

At Greenhouse, we prioritize customer education by providing homeowners with valuable insights and tips on rodent prevention and control. Through our expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to customer satisfaction, Greenhouse delivers reliable and effective outdoor rodent control services for homeowners in Tampa. 

How to get rid of rats outside my home

 References

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/wildlife/rodent-control.html

https://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/rodents/index.html

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