Which Winter Pests Carry Disease?

Which Winter Pests Carry Disease?

If the idea of winter conjures up thoughts of snuggling up under blankets and spending time inside, you’re not alone. Humans aren’t the only ones who want to build cozy nests and hang out indoors during colder weather. A variety of winter pests are also looking to stay warm as the temperatures drop—and they might just be looking to settle down in your house!

Winter pests have the potential to cause a great deal of damage and carry various diseases. These are the most common winter pests and what you need to know about them.


These large rodents may carry a host of creepy diseases that are spread through bites, scratches, urine, saliva, and fleas that live on the rats. Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, typhus and even the bubonic plague can all be traced to rats. Rats can also cause a plethora of physical damage to your home including gnawing on your insulation, furniture, baseboards, roofing, insides of walls, and electrical wires.

See Also: Get Rid of Rats!

German Cockroaches

Although these pests do not actively bite or sting, they can certain do a great deal of damage. Cockroaches are extremely dirty, preferring to dwell in areas where nasty bacteria thrive, such as garbage disposals, dumpsters, and sewers. When cockroaches enter your home, they carry germs with them, and they contaminate your food and food preparation areas. Salmonella, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and even the polio virus may all be carried by German cockroaches. Cockroaches can make a mess of your kitchen pantry, destroying your food and causing health problems for your family.

See Also: Identifying Asian vs. German Cockroaches in Your Home


Similar to the damage caused by rats, mice can gnaw and chew through your property, even potentially causing a house fire when chewing on electrical wiring. In addition, mice carry germs such as salmonella and Hantavirus that can cause your family and pets to become very ill if proper rodent control practices are not in place.

See Also: How a Mice Infestation Can Affect Your Health

Brown Recluse Spiders

One of the rarer but ever dangerous pests you may come across is the Brown Recluse Spider, often identified by the violin shaped mark on the back. These pests prefer to live in dark, secluded places where they can hide. Although they will avoid contact with humans if possible, they will bite if they are provoked, and a bit can result in nausea, fever, and lesions.

See Also: Danger Alert! Beware of the Brown Recluse Spider


Although they might appear to be cute and furry creatures if seen in a zoo, raccoons are able to cause harm and damage along to your home, property and family. Raccoons carry disease such as rabies that is dangerous to humans and pets. Because of their non-discriminating eating habits, raccoon urine and feces may contain bacteria such as leptospirosis and salmonella. Roundworm carried by raccoons can be extremely dangerous or even deadly, and can be contracted simply by inhaling the airborne eggs from being near the feces.

Raccoons can also cause a big mess in your yard, garden, garage, attic, or other places on your property. Chewing on pipes and cables, tearing apart ducts, destroying insulation, knocking over trash cans, and tearing up shingles are just a few of the activities raccoons can get up to.

See Also: Got Raccoons? Leave Trapping to the Professionals


Don’t let their fluffy tails deceive you—squirrels are dirty and messy creatures. Squirrels can carry several different diseases that can be transmitted to humans and pets, including salmonellosis, Lyme disease, tularemia, leptospirosis, and rabies. These pest can also cause harm to your trees and garden, and make a mess if they get inside your attic or garage.

See Also: How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Attic


These pesky critters are known for their odiferous scent that works as a deterrent out in the wild. But when skunks start hanging around your property, it’s not only the bad smell that you need to be concerned about. Not only do skunks carry rabies, but if you stumble upon one and scare it, their spray can potentially cause temporary blindness. Skunks also tend to tear up gardens as they dig up turf looking for grubs. If they choose to burrow under your home, they can cause damage to pipes and wiring, possibly predisposing your home to fire.


If a bat colony finds your attic to be their new home, then significant problems can occur. Bats droppings are a carrier for fungus that, if inhaled by humans, can cause histoplasmosis leading to infection of the lungs that may even be fatal. Not only do bats also carry rabies, but they can cause damage to your property including chewing on walls or wiring, damaging insulation, staining walls with urine, and creating a nasty odor with their droppings.

Staying vigilant about pest control is important throughout all seasons and seeking out a professional pest control program is the best way to keep your family safe. For Houston pest control, contact Cypress Creek to take advantage of their Healthy House Program. You’ll find peace of mind against not only winter pests but all year round.

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