Call it the law of unintended consequences. As a result of the COVID-19 quarantine, residents of many large cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, and New York have reported swarms of rats.
The connection? Because many restaurants are closed entirely, with others open only for takeout, there’s far less food waste in the cities’ dumpsters and alleyways. That’s sent rodents scurrying into the streets looking for food, and it is even happening in the suburbs.
As Jim Fredericks of the National Pest Management Association told the Chicago Tribune, “Homeowners should use some of their extra time at home to look for any potential entry points, and shove a steel wool pad in any holes larger than a quarter: a quarter-sized hole is all a rat needs to squeeze inside, while mice only need a dime-sized hole.”
Rats are resourceful. When they can’t find food in their usual spots, common rodents will look elsewhere until they find it. Wherever restaurants are closed and dumpsters are devoid of tasty trash, rats will search for new sources of food – including inside your home.
If there’s a way to get into your house through a narrow opening, such as a doorway or window, rats can find it. Plus, they multiply quickly. A female rat can give birth to up to a dozen babies every three weeks.
On top of the “ick” factor, rats are bad news. These household pests can pose a threat to your health and safety. Rats spread a number of diseases and like to chomp on cords and wires, which can cause electrical damage or fires.
Normally, rodent “season” – when customers most often call rodent control services – occurs in late autumn, when temperatures drop and rodents seek shelter and warmth in homes and buildings. But you might want to take a few precautions now, especially if you live in close proximity to a restaurant. Remember, keeping rats away now is easier than getting rid of rats later.
Even if you’re not worried about rats, consider tackling this list of chores for general pest prevention while you’re at home:
Signs of a Rat Infestation
Think there’s a chance that your home already has a few unwelcome inhabitants? Look for these signs that rodents have taken up residence:
If you notice any of these signs or suspect that you have a rodent infestation, it’s best to call a pest professional to assist you with rodent control. As always, HomeTeam is happy to help, and we are committed to providing exceptional service. Visit www.PestDefense.com or call 855-855-4873 to schedule an appointment.