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In Houses Haunted By Rodents, How Spooked Are Homeowners?

ATLANTA – Oct. 30, 2006 – Black cats and full moons are not the only things to beware of this fall. A recent survey by Orkin, Inc., reveals that the majority of Americans (61%) has had or knows someone who has had the eerie experience of finding rodents in the home. One in three adults in the U.S. has seen or heard a rodent in their own home.

Of that one-third, nearly half (48%) said their first reaction was to set traps, and men are almost twice as likely as women to turn to traps. Women instead have a tendency to call a friend or family member to help with the problem (25%).

When asked which creepy crawlers sent shivers up their spines, Americans were more frightened of cockroaches (35%) and rodents (34%) than of spiders (26%). Only one percent of men who spotted the rodents admit to being spooked enough to scream. A small percentage of people (2%) used their own bewitching spells on rodents and chased them with brooms.

Americans share a trait that may illicit more screams than rodents in the home: more than one-fourth of adults (27%) describe themselves as pack rats and have hoarding tendencies. This trend increases with age and proves that there may be more than one rat species creeping around the closets and corners of your home.

As temperatures drop during fall months and rodents attempt to haunt your home and drive you batty, knowing how to prevent infestations is important. “Fear may be the main reason that Americans don’t want rodents in their home, but what they may not realize is that rodents can carry diseases and pose health threats.” says Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist and director of training and the Orkin Training Center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, rodent species can spread viruses or bacteria through their urine or droppings that cause diseases such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome or leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that causes fever and can lead to kidney failure or other serious illness. A bite or scratch from a rodent can cause rat-bite fever, a bacterial disease that can result in severe illness if untreated. Avoid contact with rodents and take precautions when cleaning rodent-infested areas to prevent these diseases.

“Tightly sealing doors and windows can prevent rodents from entering your home. If they do manage to creep into your house, turning to an experienced pest control specialist is the safest route to treat the problem,” states Harrison.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Residents of the Northeast are most likely to have experienced a rodent in the home (42% in the Northeast, compared with just 27% in the West)

  • Fear of spider infestations declines significantly with age (43% of 18-24 year olds are afraid of spider infestations versus only 21% of those 45 and older)

  • Fear of rodents in the home increases with age (less than one quarter of young adults fear finding a rodent at home, versus 38% of those 45 and older)

The Orkin survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation between September 14-17, 2006. The telephone interviews were conducted among 1,006 adults (aged 18 and over) living in private households across the continental U.S. At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus three percentage points.

About Orkin, Inc.

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin, Inc. is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees in the United States and Canada serve approximately 1.7 million customers. Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc., which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ROL). Learn more about Orkin by visiting and

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