After the Event
Rats and mice are destructive pests that can spread disease, contaminate food and destroy property. However, as a result of a disaster, the number of rats and mice are often reduced. Thus, illness associated with rats and other small rodents is uncommon immediately after a disaster.
Surviving rodents often relocate to new areas in search of food, water, and shelter. As the rodents settle into new areas, they will build colonies and reproduce. Typically, it takes 6 to 10 months for rodents to re-establish their colonies after a disaster. As the rodent population grows and resettles, people have a greater chance of being exposed to the diseases carried by rodents.
- Remove as soon as possible all debris around houses and buildings that could provide portective cover for rodents.
- Keep lawn and field vegetation mowed at a low height to eliminate protective cover for rodents.
- Remove any potential food source, such as household trash, waste grain other foods that might attract mice and rats.
- Close openings into buildings around water pipes, electrical wires, vents and doors with one-eighth-inch mesh hardware cloth and/or sheet metal.
Updated March 2012