Increase in Rat Infestations in During Pandemic Likely Has Multiple Causes
The cause of the increased rat activity is likely due to two major factors: the corona virus pandemic and one specific abandoned property.
Causes of Rat Infestations
At the start of the year, events leading up to the corona virus pandemic began to unfold. By March 2020, students were learning from their kitchen counters, some businesses required employees to work from home, and restaurants either closed or offered pick-up only.
Restaurants closing their dining rooms or shutting down completely meant less discarded food accumulating in trashcans on sidewalks, liter debris, and garbage in dumpsters.
This has left rats feeling hungry and on the search for alternative sources of food. Desperate times call for desperate measures, like venturing into homes in the area to scour for food. Empty restaurants haven’t been the only concern for the area.
The pesky rodents can adjust to their surroundings rather quickly and usually live close to where people live as this creates easy access to food. Even though rats prefer to live in restaurants and homes, rats will build nests in abandoned buildings, too.
Residents are now seeing an increase in rat-related activity, from taking over their gardens to searching through their trash.
And even though we can’t say with absolute certainty that these issues have caused the increased rat activity, it is plausible. Whether it’s the building or lack of readily available food, one thing is for certain, residents will need to work a little harder to protect their property.
Preventing a Rat Infestation
A rat in your home or business is an unwelcome sight and can be quite unsettling. From damaging buildings, to contaminating food, and spreading disease — discovering a rat problem is a major concern.
There are steps homeowners and business owners can take to prevent rats and other nuisance wildlife from taking over.
“Removing food and water sources is a great start to deter rats from entering your home or business,” Ding wall explained. “But, to protect your home or business, points of entry will need to be sealed to prevent possible infestations.”
Eliminate Food Source
Rats, like the Norway rat, prefer a diet that’s high in protein and carbohydrates like meats, fish, cereal grains, livestock feed, and fresh fruit.
But rats living in cities or suburban areas near people will consume just about any human food or pet food they come across. Garbage or discarded food left out can be enticing for rats and other rodents looking for their next meal.
It’s important to ensure garbage is kept inside a secured trash bin, pet food is not left out for an extended period of time and standing water should be eliminated. Animal food like bird seeds should be stored inside a sealed container
Although trees, shrubs, ivy, and other aspects of landscaping can add to curb appeal, they can also act as a way for rats to access homes and other structures. But you can still have these visually appealing landscape touches, without running the risk of rats moving in.
Instead of removing trees, trim the limbs back from the roof and power-lines. Installing metal tree trunk guards around the base can act as an additional way to discourage rats from climbing.
Ivy and climbing vines can look great, but also act as a way for rats to climb the side of a building. Instead of letting the vines creep along the building, install a trellis for the plant that is far enough from the structure, so it won’t be of interest.
Eliminate Points of Entry
Rats can access a home or business through an opening as small as ½-an-inch wide. That’s rather small, so even the most unsuspecting hole or crack can be an entry. The rodent has also been known to chew or gnaw on entry points if they need a little more wiggle room.
Access points will vary depending on the species. Norway rats, for example, will search for access to basements, garages, and low spots on walls. Roof rats, however, are strong climbers and will look for way inside the attic or other upper levels of the structure.
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