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Of Mice and Men: Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of Mice & Rats?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Despite all of our technological prowess and the advances we’ve made in such fields as health care, computing, genetic engineering and other scientific areas that bear directly on our well-being, there’s one domain where we seem to be faltering: Controlling our rodent populations.

Now, there are any number of reasons for this ̶ too many to go in to ̶ but one reason may be that pest control specialists have not kept pace with the ways in which these populations have changed over the last few decades!

And by pace, we don’t mean they don’t recognize the problem. It’s just that many in the industry are relying on what used to work in the past and, as a result, have narrowed their approach to rodent eradication.

Why Keep up with the Rodents?

Believe it or not, there are some radical souls who think that we should not be trying to eliminate rodents at all! Their argument, such as it is, goes something like this: Rodents are a natural part of the environment as a whole and are key to the stability and sustainability of various species. All life on planet Earth is interlinked, therefore we should do nothing to ‘upset’ that balance.

Unfortunately, that’s rather like saying that we shouldn’t try to control mosquito populations because malaria is caused by a naturally occurring parasite so we should just let it be. Alas, that’s just not an option.

And for those of you who hesitate, just for a moment, about the appropriateness of rodent eradication, remember that rats and mice can pose a threat to humans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

"Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through 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."

In fact, reliable research indicates that rodents can directly transmit such diseases as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis , Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM), Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, as well as Plague, Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis and South American Arenaviruses.

Quite a list, I’m sure you’ll agree.