From time to time Pests and Rodents can become over whelming to a home owner, tenant or landlord. The Health Unit will provide advice on how to help you identify if you have a problem, how to prevent them from entering your home, what to do if you have a problem with pests or rodents. We can also advise what personal precautions need to be taken while cleaning up after an infestation of pests and rodents.
Common household pests include rodents such as mice and rats, bats, pigeons and insects such as bedbugs, house flies, fleas and food beetles. Pests can cause health problems including allergic reactions and asthma, respiratory disease, and mental health anguish. To protect your health it is important that you prevent these pests from entering your home and if you have a pest problem that it is dealt with quickly.
Prevent Rodents and Other Pest From Entering Your Home
Inspect the exterior of your home carefully look for small holes or gaps where rodents can enter. Pest proof your home to prevent rodents and other pests from entering. Did you know that a mouse can enter your home through a hole the size of dime and a rat can enter your home through a hole that is the size of a quarter. Fill holes and gaps with steel wool and caulking around the exterior of your home to prevent entry of rodents.
Did you know that bats and birds can infest your attic through opening in your roof? Soffit and fascia should be free of holes and gaps, screen roof vents and chimneys.
House flies will enter your home through improperly screened or sealed windows and doors. Prevent them from entering your home by repairing torn screens and properly sealing around windows and doors.
Insects such as food bugs will come into your home usually through dried foods and pet foods. Check your dried foods for signs of pests before bringing them home, small holes in your food packaging may be an indication of food pests.
Consult a Veterinarian to discuss flea control for your pets.
Bedbugs will travel from place to place through luggage. When travelling, check the beds that you will be sleeping in. Signs of a bedbug infestation include the actual live bug, dried blood stains on the mattress or mattress cover and casings of dead bugs. Check the seams of the mattresses as bedbugs do not like light and will hide in the darkest most protected parts of the mattress. If you suspect that you have bedbugs in your luggage do not bring the luggage into your home. Remove the clothing from your luggage outside and take it directly to the laundry. Immediately wash all clothing and anything else that can be washed in hot water and then dry your clothing in the dryer. The heat of the dryer will kill bedbugs. Consider replacing your luggage (dispose of the luggage without bringing it into your house) if that is not an option use a steam cleaner to kill any bedbugs that may be hiding in the crevices of your luggage.
Items that cannot be cleaned and dried in the laundry should be disposed of or you can place the items in a freezer at -20°C for 2 weeks.
Bedbugs are human parasites and feed on anyone.
Dealing With Large Pest Infestations
From time to time pests will infest our home and we need help to get rid of them. Hiring a licenced pest control operator is a good solution. Licenced pest control operators are not only able to help you get rid of pests but they will help to identify pest entry points and take corrective action to prevent future infestations. Certain pests such as bedbugs must be eliminated using a pest control company, there are no over the counter products that can be used to get rid of bedbugs. Local Pest Control Operators can be found in the telephone directory or by an internet search.
It is extremely important to follow the preparation instructions that are provided by a licenced pest control operator in order for the extermination to be successful for any type of pests.
Why Do I Need to Be Concerned About Animal Droppings?
Animal and bird droppings and urine contain many disease causing microorganisms. Indoor and outdoor areas contaminated with droppings and urine can make you sick. During the cleanup of areas where wild and or domestic animals have left droppings you may be exposed to disease causing microorganisms when you:
- touch them with bare hands and you contaminate food or food surfaces with unwashed hands
- create dust as you clean and you breathe them in
- have an open wound
Children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk and should not be involved in the clean up.
How Do I Prevent Animals and Birds From Leaving Droppings in my Home, Cottage or Outbuilding?
Prevent the entry of wild animals and birds from homes and buildings by:
- keeping food in sturdy food grade containers with fitted lids so they do not have a food source
- screening doors and windows
- filling in gaps and holes with caulking, steel wool
- using a fine wire mess around the base of raised building to prevent access
- keeping garbage and waste materials away from buildings as these provide a food source and a place to nest
- cutting brush and grass around buildings
- keeping piles of wood away from buildings
Remove nuisance animals from buildings by:
- setting traps and carefully removing the pests taking precautions such as wearing protective gloves. (take care not to be bitten during this process)
- contacting a pest control professional
How Do I Clean Up Droppings Safely?
If the accumulation of droppings is small you likely can clean up the area yourself. Be sure to protect yourself by:
- Opening windows for about 30 minutes to air out the area before you start cleaning.
- Wearing personal protective gear including protective clothing, thick water proof gloves, eye protection and a disposable N95 mask.
- Wetting contaminated hard surface areas down with a 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water solution and let sit for a few minutes. This will help kill the disease causing organisms and reduces the creation of dust.
- Avoiding the use of vacuum cleaners to clean up.
- Place droppings, any dead pests, nesting material and used cleaning materials in a plastic bag that can be sealed and dispose of in the garbage.
If the accumulation is large you should contact a company with trained professionals to remove droppings safely as specialized equipment is required.
For more information on specific diseases transmitted through animal droppings follow these links:
- Amphibians, Reptiles and Feeder Rodents
- Rabbits, Squirrels, Rodents