The Perils of Pests
My friends and I live in a house off-campus. It’s an old house, and it has mice. No big deal, right? Well, one problem: one of my roommates is deathly afraid of mice. He constantly talks to us about when and where he’s seen the mice, and how we’re all going to catch diseases, and how we need to demand that the landlord send an exterminator right away. The rest of us don’t really care about this problem, but our one roommate just won’t let it go. How common are mouse infestations? Is this really a big deal? I’d love to be able to tell this roommate just how small of a problem this really is.
Sure, mice are common enough: 82% of houses show some evidence of mouse allergens. But that doesn’t mean that a mouse problem is no big deal, especially if you’re spotting the little critters frequently. Your mouse problem may not be unusual, but it is dangerous and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
While your roommate’s reaction may be a bit over the top, he’s right that the rodents in your living space are unsafe, say exterminators at Alabama Professional Services, an Irondale, Alabama-based company that specializes in, among other things, pest removal.
For one thing, mice and other rodents can carry diseases that are harmful to humans. The CDC keeps a whole list of diseases spread by rodents, and it’s not pretty. And since the mice in your home are drawn to your food, it’s all too easy for diseases in them to reach you and your roommates.
The dangers don’t end there. Mice and other rodents are actually a fairly common cause of electrical problems, say the experts at Dillsburg, Pennsylvania’s Leer Electric. Rodents don’t know what electrical wires are, so they have no qualms about chewing right through them. That may not end well for the rodent, but it also may not end well for you: 8% of all house fires in the United States are caused by rodents.
So what can you do about your mice? Well, you can start with the basics: makes sure that your food is sealed up safely and stored properly, and police your living space for crumbs and snacks that have been left out. Invest in simple traps, and seal up gaps in the walls (you can use expanding and hardening foams, among other products).
But you also can – and should – demand a stronger response from your landlord. This is a serious issue, and you and your roommates deserve a serious response. Your landlord should send a pest control specialist to the property, and it’s in their own interest to do so. Reach out to your landlord and make sure that happens, especially if you don’t see quick results from your own traps and preventative measures.
“When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby.” – Nigerian proverb