For more than two months, most Americans have been quarantined within their homes in order to avoid contracting COVID 19, which experts say is one of the most contagious diseases in modern history. Not long after the quarantine order took effect, many Americans found it difficult to avoid social contact, and some suffered negative psychological stress from isolation. As it turned out, the quarantine was rough on America’s urban rat population as well, as the lack of public activity has literally starved urban rodents that rely solely on humans for food.
Due to starvation, Norway rats all over the US have been viciously fighting one another for access to dwindling food sources, and reports of rodent cannibalization have been common in every urban center in the country, including San Antonio. Pest control professionals and public health officials in Bexar County have been warning residents about the uptick in aggressive rat behavior in urban and suburban areas. In response to the lack of food waste available to urban rodents, large groups of rats and mice have been migrating into residential areas in search of food. The filthy pests were, and continue to be, unusually brazen in their efforts to gain access into homes, presumably to secure food. Because of this, Bexar County pest control professionals have been overwhelmed with service calls concerning both rat and mouse pests.
When news reports were released that claimed rats were behaving violently and invading residential areas as an indirect result of the nationwide lockdown, many Americans were dubious. That is, until officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a bulletin stating that Americans should be mindful of Norway rats invading suburban areas en masse in search of food. Since Norway rats and house mice are synanthropic species, the pests would go extinct if it was not for the massive amounts of food waste that humans generate on a daily basis. Under normal circumstances, the amount of food waste in restaurant and supermarket dumpsters is more than enough to support the unmeasurable number of rats inhabiting urban areas. However, given the current situation, the CDC recommends that residents living in and around big cities should make sure to eliminate conditions on their property that are known to attract rodents. For example, it may not be wise to throw a neighborhood cookout and residential garbage bins should be well sealed. Setting precautionary snap traps and/or monitoring stations around homes can prevent infestations, but if rats or mice manage to establish an indoor infestation, professional pest control intervention is probably necessary.
Have you noticed a rat presence around your home?