ATLANTA, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Residents cleaning up in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy need to keep in mind this is the time of year when rodents seek shelter for the winter months. Orkin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL), warns that rodents can be displaced from their normal habitat because of wind, heavy rain and flooding after severe weather strikes.
"The storm, coupled with the cooler weather, can drive rodents inside to overwinter and breed," said Dave Bridge, Atlantic division technical services director at Orkin. "Their gestation period is about a month, so before you know it, one mouse that finds its way into a home now can turn into a major problem for homeowners in the winter."
A pregnant female mouse can produce an average of eight pups in a litter, and a rat, seven pups on average, with a typical four to five litters per year. However, they aren't just a nuisance—rodents can also pose health threats.
"With the recent increase in the number of vector-borne diseases caused by Hantavirus and Bubonic plague, it is extremely important to be proactive in protecting your home against rodents," said Bridge. "Both diseases tend to occur more frequently in rural parts of the West, which is where rodent activity is higher this year, but those diseases cannot be ruled out here in the East."Hantavirus is carried in a rodent's urine and feces, and people can breathe in the affected particles in the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the plague is most often transmitted by fleas when an infected rodent dies from the plague and the fleas from that transmit bacteria once biting people or pets. As you clean up from Hurricane Sandy, Orkin recommends the five following tips to help prevent rodents from making their home inside your house:
- Make sure all holes, gaps and cracks around doors and windows larger than ¼ of an inch are sealed, as mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime.
- Replace door sweeps, and make sure doors and windows close tightly.
- Clean out gutters, and install gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating.
- Store firewood as far from the home as possible.
- Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over the home.
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