The following is a guest post by HomeServe.com
Everyone’s scared of something – and for many people, the thought of pest infestation is a fear that’ll never go away.
And when it comes to scary vermin, few creatures conjure up more nightmarish visions than a furry, sewer-dwelling rat.
Research carried out a couple of years ago detailed just how much Britain is in the grip of verminophobia, the fear of household pests such as rats, mice, spiders and cockroaches.
According to the study, more than half of us would be unable to deal with a rat ourselves in the home.
Women in particular displayed a deep-rooted fear of this type of vermin – 70 per cent would call for help if they spotted a rodent in their property, compared with 43 per cent of men.
However, it seems the nation’s fears do not end with rats when it comes to house invaders.
One in five said they’d call in the experts to deal with a mouse, while 12 per cent would be too terrified to tackle a spider.
Although other people’s fears can be amusing, there is a serious side to pest control – and in many cases the fear is largely justified.
While wasps and ants can be classed as more of a nuisance than a real health hazard for most people, rats carry all sorts of germs and diseases.
Around 20 per cent of this type of animal carry Leptospirosis, or Weil’s disease, which can be fatal to humans.
Toxoplasmosis and Salmonella, which can both make people seriously ill, are also commonly carried by rats.
However, some of the dangers caused by rodents can be less obvious.
For example, rats are known for gnawing their way through anything they can get their teeth into, including walls, furniture and cupboards.
Over time this can cause serious structural damage to your home – which could lead to injuries caused by falling walls and ceilings.
Rodents are also known to chew through wires and cables, meaning they also pose an electrical risk to households.
With this in mind, one of the best things you can do is aim to do all you can to prevent rats from entering your property.
They’re attracted by litter, scraps of food and dog droppings – meaning these should all be cleared away, or at least kept neat and tidy in and around your home.
However, you can’t account for the activities of your neighbours and even the most careful household can be hit by an infestation.
For this reason, some may find that having pest contamination cover offers the peace of mind that an expert will be on the way to deal with the unwelcome visitors as soon as they arrive.