What are rodents?


Rodents make up the largest group of mammals, and many have adapted to living with people. Some of the most frequent rodent invaders of Michigan properties include deer mice, house mice, squirrels, and Norway rats. These rodents are all generally considered "commensal rodents," meaning that they want to live with us and "share our table." Keeping rodents away from our properties is difficult because they want to be with us, taking advantage of the food, water, and shelter we provide them.

Are rodents dangerous?

Rodents are vectors of diseases that make people ill. They spread pathogens through their excrement, saliva, and through the bacteria they carry on their body and legs. Before finding a way into your home, rodents live outside, foraging from trash cans, compost, and other less-than-sanitary outdoor environments.

When they move into your home, the rodents move all over its surfaces, spreading diseases like salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and leptospirosis. They also spread parasites like fleas and ticks. When living in our homes, their shed fur and excrement often triggers allergies and sometimes even asthma attacks.

Another major concern with rodent infestations is that they are very destructive. All rodents have front incisors that continuously grow throughout their lives, and to keep them from overgrowing, they are constantly chewing on objects. In our homes, rodents chew on and damage things like wires, cables, insulation, flooring, drywall, furniture, clothing, boxes, and food storage containers.

Why do I have a rodent problem?

As our habitats have merged, rodents have learned to live with us, whether in the city, the suburbs, or the country. Food and warm, safe shelter are the two biggest things that attract rodents. Rodents will gather the food they need from our gardens, trees, trashcans, and leftover food in our outdoor eating areas.

Harborage sites include woodpiles, trees, overgrown landscaping, and spaces under decks, sheds, and our homes. While rodents will move into our homes at any time, the cold winter weather and lack of food often drive these pests indoors.

Where will I find rodents?

Norway rats are found living in fields, along riverbanks, and under concrete slabs. Inside of our homes, they nest in basements, crawl spaces, and behind wall voids. Squirrels in our area live in large numbers in wooded areas, parks, and yards where there are plenty of trees to live and nest in. Squirrels that decide to move into our homes usually nest in the attic, chimney, or wall voids.

House mice nest in areas of dense vegetation, tall grass, tree stumps, woodpiles, and playhouses – anywhere that keeps them out of sight of predators. Our attics, basements, cabinets, closets, and other dark, quiet areas provide indoor nesting sites for rodents.

Deer mice live in large populations in fields, forests, and grasslands. They usually don’t live in urban areas. These mice are less likely to move into our homes than house mice, but when they do, they like to nest in attics, behind wall voids, and in crawl spaces.

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