by Kevin O’Connor
Several months ago, one of my neighbors told me a scary story. She and her husband did not know that her very young daughter had made a “friend” of a sneaky little enemy that had invaded their house. The little girl had been feeding a mouse.
The mother said, “I told her, Honey, that mouse could have bitten you. But children are so innocent and naive—she thought the mouse was her friend who would never bite anyone.” Fortunately, the little girl had not been bitten, and the parents immediately called for professional help to rid their property of mice.
But let’s find out why this “cute little mouse” (the child’s words) could have been very dangerous. For example, a surprisingly high percentage of the white-footed mice collected last summer in Howard County, Md, in an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Areawide Integrated Tick Management Project, turned out to be infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
The high rate of white-footed mice infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, in Howard County — just over 50 percent of captured mice —was a little surprising to ARS project leadership. Then it was demonstrated that white-footed mice elsewhere in the USA have infection rates as high as 80 percent.
What may this mean for homeowners? Professionals would advise caution on several levels. For example, unwittingly, people often make mistakes. So, which category might you be in when it comes to the most common mistakes homeowners make regarding rodent prevention? Consider:
- 17% of homeowners leave trash bins uncovered.
- 25% of homeowners place trash and recycling bins curbside on non-designated pick-up dates.
- 30% of homeowners do not properly seal pet food stored in garages.
- 30% of homeowners have doors and windows that are not tightly sealed.
- 22% of homeowners are not keeping vegetation trimmed and manicured.
However, the most helpful advice and solution we can offer is to warn families to call the professionals for help as soon as you become aware of a potential pest threat to your family’s health, as did the little girl’s wise parents.
From our family of experienced technicians to your family, please let us be there for you. We are all good neighbors working together in the fight against disease and “the sneaky little enemy in the house.”
Call 1-800-284-7985 for O’Connor Pest Control. www.oconnorpest.com.