With scientists and relevant media outlets hailing the arrival of the PfSPZ Vaccine, which may (after further testing) prevent malaria in adults, we shouldn’t jump for joy just yet. Keeping in mind at all times that insect-borne viruses are one of the most common killers in many parts of the world, will save us in health bills down the line. And while not many houses come decked with mosquito nets – especially if the climate doesn’t require it – the pests that pose a threat to our well-being shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What You Didn’t Know About Household Pests
These lesser known facts about pests outlined below will probably reframe the issue to such an extent that you’ll be flipping through the Yellow Pages for a pest control technician before you’re done reading!
- Mice and rats have been the proven culprits in over 10 million disease-caused deaths across the world – and they are believed to have caused as many as one fourth of all fires that go unexplained every year. Not to take the mickey out of Mickey Mouse, but, considering the likely origins of all the other house fires, these rodents’ addiction to electric cables is more worrisome than serial arsonists’ to fire and chainsmokers’ to cigarettes – they, unlike the mice, can get treated.
- Rats and mice are carriers of around 55 different diseases, which they transmit to humans indiscriminately – Lyme disease, typhus, the plague (the bubonic kind!), even the hantavirus have all been linked to these pesky pests.
- Domestic termites are one (arguably bad) thing, but a relatively new species, the Formosan termite, is moving from New Orleans, its HQ for several years, into homes all across America and wreaking havoc – structures have been known to succomb to them in a matter of months, mainly because, unlike the so-far more common kind, their colonies number millions. A queen termite can lay up to 3000 eggs on a daily basis and they live up to 50 years… you do the math!
- Moles and gophers are a long-term plight that nestles below your home and never leaves – each critter burrows its own tunnel underground and each has to eat the equivalent of its body weight daily. Once they breed, there are many more for the homeowner to worry about and there might not be enough bullets in the world to get them all: even if one mole meets its untimely demise, another dozen are just waiting to lay claim on the abandoned tunnel!
Also, don’t be fooled by a temporary reprieve that you might get from these (and other) pests’ seasonal preferences, or by the promises of natural remedies and over-the-counter pesticides. Back in the 18th century, pests were kept away from meats through the combined use of smoke, in so-called “smokehouses,”pepper and hickory ashes. Nowadays, thankfully, we know better.