The Dangers of Rodents in the Attic

When the mercury drops, the food becomes scarce and the chill in the air becomes unbearable.

During this time, your home can appear like the perfect destination for rats or mice searching for food, water, and warmth.

Mice and rats are nasty little creatures that look harmless but can pose several serious threats, should they find their way into your attic.

So, you shouldn’t ignore the advice on how to keep rats and mice out of your attic.

Here in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest dangers posed by rodents in the attic.

1. Rodents Can Spread Dangerous and Even Deadly Diseases

The most serious danger rats and mice pose comes from the diseases they may carry and pass on to your family members and pets.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), rodents can directly or indirectly transmit dozens of serious and even deadly diseases.

Some of the diseases directly transmitted by rodents such as rats and mice include Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, Salmonella, rat-bite fever, and bubonic plague.

The transmission of disease-causing bacteria and viruses from infected rodents to humans or pets can happen in many ways.

Rodents’ urine, droppings, and their decomposed bodies are primary modes of transmission.

In the recent past, several cases of Hantavirus infection have been found in California. Human exposure to such disease vectors is still rare but an infection can have serious health implications.

Rodents can also scratch and bite anyone if they are somehow cornered in the attic, without any opportunity to escape.

When this happens, the person scratched or bitten would have to immediately see a doctor to check for the possibility of having contracted a disease.

2. Greater Risk of Allergies among the Residents

Rodent presence has been linked to allergic reactions in humans.

Various harmful chemicals found in rodent droppings, urine, hair, trails, etc. can cause allergic reactions.

Scientific studies have already established that exposure to rodents can aggravate symptoms associated with asthma.

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), approximately 20% of children suffering from asthma in inner-city areas in the United States were found to have been sensitized to rats. Roughly 15% of these children were found to have been sensitized to mice.

This isn’t surprising because the presence of mouse allergen has been found in 82% of homes in the United States.

3. Damage

Rodents don’t chew on food alone.

Both rats and mice have powerful, incisor teeth that never stop growing. They need to keep filing down their teeth. Hence the constant need to gnaw on anything they can land their teeth on.

From your precious family heirlooms and file folders to wooden furniture, walls, doors, floors, and plastic plumbing rats and mice will keep damaging one thing or the other.

When in the attic, they love to tear up paper, photographs, cardboard boxes, fabrics, insulation, etc. Shredded pieces serve as cozy nesting materials.

Rats and mice also have dirt and oil on their coats. When they walk along walls or siding, they can leave damaging strains on them.

Continued accumulation of rodent urine and droppings in the attic can also cause rot in the wood.  

4. Rodent Passages into Living Areas

A growing population of rats and mice in the attic will eventually try to gain access to the main part of your residence.

After all, rodents in the attic will keep looking for more food.  

If they stumble upon a tiny open passage alongside the vents, walls, etc., they will gnaw on it and turn it into a primary portal through which they can enter the living spaces in your house.

When this occurs, a rat or mice infestation can grow significantly in a very short timeframe.

For instance, if a few rats or mice enter your attic in winters, they may multiply and infest the entire building by the time spring arrives.

5. Fire Hazard

Gnawed wood and burrows under the floor or along the foundation of a building are damaging to the house. However, these damages aren’t nearly as dangerous to the residents as gnawed electrical cables.

According to one estimate, rodents gnawing on electrical wires (or their insulation) and leaving them exposed cause approximately 20% of house fires in the United States.

There are ways to keep rats or mice out of your attic.

Final Words

When the winter is around the corner, it is a good idea to get attic cleaning and decontamination done by rodent control experts. Preventive measures are necessary if you or your neighbors have had rodent problems in the past.