wildlife infestation signs chewed hole in HVAC ductwork

The Impact of Wildlife Infestations on Health and Safety: What You Need to Know

November 15, 2023

Learn the health risks and safety hazards of wildlife infestations

When you discover a wildlife infestation in your house, the first thing you may worry about is the potential damage to your home. While that damage would be an obvious problem, there are other health risks and safety hazards present that you might not notice but will definitely feel the effects of. Keep reading to learn more about why wildlife infestations can be hazardous to your health and how these health risks should be properly removed from your house.

pile of bat guano in attic underneath a group of bats
Bat guano piled up under a group of bats in an attic

Why Wildlife Infestations Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Like any living thing, wildlife have to eliminate waste from their bodies. If that wildlife is in your house, that means all of that waste is going to start showing up. Rodents like rats and mice flock to heat sources like furnaces during the fall and winter, which leads to their droppings and urine accumulating. Both of these can carry and transmit illnesses like hantavirus and arenavirus.

Bats are another pest that can pose serious health risks to humans. Bat guano (feces) can quickly pile up as bats hang out in your attic. In fact, this is usually one of the first signs for homeowners that there are bats that have made their way inside their house. Bat guano carries a risk for histoplasmosis, a fungal disease that spreads through airborne spores and can lead to flu-like symptoms, eye conditions that can potentially cause blindness, and even death.

How to Protect Your House From Wildlife Health Risks

By finding possible wildlife waste material in your house, you've already completed the first major step in protecting your house from wildlife health risks. If left undiscovered, that waste would continue to accumulate and pose an even larger health risk to you and your loved ones.

Once you've found droppings, it might be tempting to grab a broom or vacuum to get rid of them. Do not do this! Not only are you not properly disinfecting the potential bacteria or viruses left behind, but you might be releasing airborne toxins that will spread around your house and cause serious illness.

Norway rat droppings on top of a hot water heater
Norway rat droppings found on a water heater tank

It's highly unlikely that you will find bat guano anywhere other than your attic, so leaving those droppings for professional removal does not pose a health risk to you or your family. If you find rodent droppings in an area that cannot wait to be cleaned by a professional, though, here are some very thorough cleaning steps you can take:

  1. Make a solution of one-part bleach and nine-parts water in a spray bottle or use a general purpose household disinfectant.
  2. Wearing rubber or plastic gloves, spray the solution or disinfectant on the dried urine, feces and nesting material until the substances are soaking wet.
  3. Let the wet materials soak for five minutes.
  4. After five minutes, use a damp paper towel to wipe up urine, droppings and nesting material.
  5. Place the paper towel and waste materials in a plastic bag.
  6. Then, using the same solution or disinfectant, mop or sponge off the area where the rodent evidence was located.
  7. Once finished, put the sponge or mop head into the bag with the rodent evidence.
  8. Wash gloved hands with soap and warm water or spray with disinfectant or solution before removing them. Place them in the plastic bag as well.
  9. Seal the bag and place it in a lidded garbage can.
  10. Wash the now ungloved hands with soap and water.


Like removing the actual wildlife pests that produced the droppings, removal of wildlife waste is best left to professionals with waste removal training and access to the proper waste removal equipment. For example, rodent urine is hard to spot with the naked eye, but if you use a blacklight or infrared camera, you will be able to clearly see it and know exactly how much cleaning needs to be done. At BREDA, our wildlife removal service comes with the BREDA Wildlife Guarantee that protects you if wildlife returns.

If you find yourself needing pest control and want it handled thoroughly, don't hesitate to give us a call. The BREDA Guarantee promises to fix your pest problem and keep it fixed—no matter the circumstances. Schedule a consultation online or give us a call at 770-466-6700.