The Harmful Effects of Rodents & Insects

Rats can spread deadly diseases.
Rats can spread deadly diseases. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Rodents and insects are a necessary part of the ecosystem, but infestations of homes and other areas can create serious problems. Rodents and insects are primary carriers of disease and illnesses that can be passed on to humans through bites or droppings. The harmful effects of having them around are reason enough to immediately deal with an infestation.

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Rats and Mice

Rodents may bite if cornered, and this can transmit a dangerous disease such as rat-bite fever, murine typhus and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, among other diseases. Rodent urine and feces also contain many diseases. The urine contains allergens that can cause an attack with people who have allergies or asthma. Urine can also stain large areas and cause the area to stink. Rodents may chew through electrical wires, which can start fires, or they can cause structural damage by gnawing on wood.

Roach Risks

Cockroaches carry allergens that affect one in five children in the United States. These allergens can trigger severe asthma attacks. Children can come in contact with these allergens through cockroach saliva, droppings and decomposing cockroaches. Cockroaches also carry E. coli and salmonella and contaminate food and food surfaces.

Mosquitoes, Vectors for Disease

Mosquitoes carry all sorts of deadly diseases and viruses, such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile Virus, yellow fever and all sorts of other ailments. Mosquitoes spread the disease by biting into their victims to draw blood. A good way to eliminate the presence of mosquitoes is to get rid of standing water. Bird baths and old tires lying outside can collect water, for example.

Tick Bites

Ticks thrive in the summer to fall months. They carry Lyme disease, typically found in the Northeast and Upper Midwest within the United States, but more cases are turning up in the South. Most people run across ticks in heavily wooded areas.

Stinging Insects

Bees, yellow jackets, hornets and wasps are extremely dangerous when attacking in groups, and even one sting can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction in some people. Stings send 500,000 people to the emergency room each year in the United States. They usually do it to protect the hive, so if they have built a nest in or near your home, it is best to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Fleas and Pets

Fleas create major problems for cats and dogs and sometimes even for humans. They usually show up in the warmer months and the feed on blood in a warm-blooded body. Fleas cause itchy marks and sometimes allergic reactions.


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