Many city dwellers complain that construction creates rat problems. The problems can become so pervasive, they become headline news, such as the "waterfall" of rats in San Francisco, the "rat race" in Tribeca, and numerous other reports of infestations. The unfortunate truth is that the rats were always there, the construction just disturbed their nesting ground or hiding spots and brought them out into the open.
Where do rats live?
There are two types of rats in North America that cause homeowners problems, the Roof Rat and the Norway Rat. Both types are most active at night and can transmit numerous diseases such as plague, jaundice, and salmonellosis. Roof rats, A.K.A. black rats or ship rats, tend to reside in the upper parts of buildings, but can also be found under, in, and around structures. Norway rats are happy making their home indoors or out, frequently burrowing in soil, garbage, woodpiles, and under concrete slabs.
What can you do?
Neighboring residents and businesses may not have control over construction, but they can still take steps to help control rodent problems. Controlling rats and other rodent problems depend on three factors: food, water, and shelter. Eliminating these three necessities will have the greatest effect getting rid of rats and preventing future infestations.
Your first line of defense is to clean up rodent attractants. Instead of letting pet food and water dishes sit out all the time, only put out enough for one serving at a time. Make sure to clean up promptly after cooking and eating, and use a garbage can with a lid.
Next, reduce hiding spots for rodents. Rodents like to hide in tight, narrow spaces so pay special attention if you have a couch pressed up against a wall or rows of boxes in storage. Shrubs and brush near the exterior of your home, woodpiles and compost heaps also create rodent friendly habitat.
A team effort
Working together as a community can make all the difference when it comes to rodent infestations. Discuss sanitation habits with neighbors. Make sure neighborhood trash receptacles all have fitted lids. Encourage neighbors to only put trash out as near to pick up time as possible and to refrain from feeding wild or stray animals.
Lastly, use of a natural rodent repellent can keep unwanted rodents from intruding upon your property.
Dealing with construction can be frustrating, but it doesn't mean you have to deal with rodents too.