By Michael P. Neufeld
San Bernardino, CA – We all want to take good care of our families and maintain healthy homes
We try to eat and serve healthy foods, take our children to the doctor for regular check-ups and do our best to protect our family from accidents and illness. But it’s also important for the health of our families and pets to maintain a vector-free living environment. A vector is any animal that can transmit disease to humans. Examples of vectors are mosquitoes, rodents, fleas and ticks. If infected, these vectors can transmit Hantavirus, Plague, West Nile Virus, or Lyme disease to humans and other animals.
With the arrival of winter weather, vectors climb, claw and gnaw to find an entry way into our homes. This can cause structural damage to roofs, siding, and basements. Rats and squirrels seek warmer climates for building nests. Rodents work at night to gather food and often gnaw on electrical wires, possibly causing home fires.
PREVENTING VECTOR INFESTATIONS
Signs of vector infestations often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Here are some simple tips for preventing vector infestations in your home:
RODENT CONTROL MAINTENANCE
Maintaining your yard plays a large role in keeping your home vector-free. Be sure to trim shrubs, bushes and trees near your house to prevent rodents from climbing the branches and reaching your roof. Squirrels and rats like to gnaw at roof overhangs, shingles, gables, and sections where two roofs meet. Squirrels can even get into the attic through crevices in the chimney.
OUTDOOR RODENT CONTROL TIPS:
* Keep your branches and bushes trimmed back away from the house
* Check for leaking outdoor faucets and pipes
* Don’t leave pet’s water bowls or food bowls outside
* Always keep doors closed – rodents are quick!
* Store firewood away from the home
* Empty garbage cans and keep lids closed
INDOOR RODENT CONTROL TIPS:
* Seal all entryways, cracks, and holes in siding, doors, window screens, and areas around pipes
* Practice good sanitation by cleaning up crumbs and spills
* Never leave glasses of water or pet food/water bowls out at night
* Store dry food in sealed containers
* Clean under counter-top appliances and large kitchen appliances
For more information, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SERVICES online.