Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment protects residents against diseases that can be spread by animals (vectors) such as rodents. Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. There are disease concerns with both wild (rats, mice) and pet rodents (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs). These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through the handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites.

Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites, or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent. Wild rodents also may cause considerable property damage by chewing through wiring in homes, car engines, and other places. The primary strategy for preventing human exposure to rodent diseases is effective rodent control in and around the home. This is achieved by eliminating any food sources, sealing even the smallest entries into homes, and successfully trapping rodents in and around the home.

Hantavirus is a disease of concern that rodents can pass onto humans and can be fatal. People become infected through contact with hantavirus-infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection. The proper method for cleaning up after rodents can be found through multiple links on this page.

Deer Mouse: A mouse with brown fur on top and white fur underneath. Its ears are large relative its head size. Deer Mouse: A mouse with brown fur on top and white fur underneath. Its  ears are large relative its head size.

1. Rodent Droppings

Droppings are most likely to be found near food packages, in drawers or cupboards, under sinks, in hidden areas, and along rodent runways. You will find the greatest number of droppings where the rodents are nesting or feeding, so inspect the area around the new-found droppings to determine if there is still an active – or new – infestation.

2. Animal Gnawing

These will often be found on food packaging or the structure of the house itself.

3. Foul Odor

This is a result of the odor of the rodents and is most likely to occur when rodents have recently entered a structure. If an infestation is large, you may also detect an ongoing stale smell coming from hidden areas, indicating an active infestation.

4. Mouse Tracks and Runways

You may see smudge marks, footprints, urine stains, or droppings. If you suspect an area is being frequented by rodents, try placing a very thin layer of flour or baby powder there. If rodents are active, you are likely to see their trails in the powder.

5.  Rat (or Mouse) Nests

Rodents will use materials such as shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter to make their nests.

6.  Signs of Rodents in your Yard

Rodents are attracted to piles of trash, organic waste, etc. for both food and nesting. If these are present near the home or structure, inspect them for signs of rodents

7.  Rodent Population Size

Certain signs can also indicate the size of a population. If rodents are seen at night but never during the day, the population has probably not gotten too large and can be controlled with traps and bait. If you are seeing any rodents during the day, numerous fresh droppings or new gnaw marks, it is likely that the population has gotten quite large and may require professional services.

Getting a rodent problem under control can be very frustrating. The keys to rodent control are sealing, trapping and cleaning. We have provided you with some information on how to get your rodent problem under control. 

Tips on sealing up holes inside and outside the home to prevent entry by rodents.

Tips on trapping rodents around the home to help reduce a rodent population.

Tips on cleaning up rodent food sources and nesting sites.

It is very important to take the appropriate precautions when cleaning up after rodents. This includes cleaning up rodent urine, droppings, nests and dead rodents. We have provided you with some information on cleaning up everything from small messes to infestations.

Tips on cleaning up after rodents in your home, garage, outbuildings, cabins, and crawlspaces.