Pests like mice invading homes in winter is a well-known issue, but these unwanted visitors usually leave as the weather warms.
With COVID-19 forcing restaurants to close, and much less garbage being left on the streets and in dumpsters, a more dangerous colony of critters – rats are coming out of hiding and travelling to find new food sources.
Rodentologist Bobby Corrigan in a National Geographic articlesaid, “as particular colonies of rats lose their established food sources — whether it’s litter and trash cans in parks, or dumpsters outside restaurants — they will start fighting over any food that’s left… Others will strike out into the unknown, looking for new food sources.”
The well-known urban rodentologist went on to say, “If hungry rats smell food in your house, there’s a good chance they’ll try to come in. They are going to follow their nose below that door if they can.”
According to Abell Pest Control during Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic closures, the company has seen a 50% increase in rat-related calls compared to 2019, with most inquiries coming from urban centers like Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver.
“Rats can enter homes and buildings under door gaps, cracks in foundations or gaps around pipes. A determined rat can squeeze its way into an opening of only 1″ — that’s about the size of a quarter,” says Dusana Bondy, Quality Assurance Auditor at Abell Pest Control.
It is important to keep rats outdoors because pathogens such as salmonella and e. coli can be transmitted via rats.
Things you can do to prevent disease-carrying rats from entering your house:
- Inspect the exterior of your home or business and seal up any cracks or holes.
- Clear your yard of clutter and debris where rats can hide.
- Don’t leave food out on countertops.
- Keep a clean kitchen and store food tightly and securely.