If You Build It, They Will Come…”They” Meaning Rats that is!
By: Rita Stadler
Which came first, the rat or the steamroller? Sounds like a silly question, but for Chicago residents living near Wrigley Field, which is undergoing renovations, rats have become a real problem.
“We’ve had rats almost on a daily basis walking all around the neighborhood. In the streets, on the sidewalks, on people’s porches,” one resident reports. The rats began appearing soon after construction started. This isn’t the first incidence of construction causing a spike in rat problems. Some people may be quick to blame the arrival of the rats on the renovations, but the truth is, the rats were always there. When noisy construction equipment moves into an area and starts disrupting the rats’ food supply and tearing up their burrows, they are forced to move. Neighbors who had never noticed the rats before will begin having problems.
Considering that Chicago came in first place last fall when a list of America’s rattiest cities was released, the Wrigley Field rat problem shouldn’t be so surprising. Metropolitan areas are a rat paradise; our food waste is their bountiful buffet. Since rats are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, and mice can fit through a hole as small as a dime, rodent infestations can be a big problem for big cities.
What’s the big deal about a little rat?
Not only are they unsightly, rodents carry a number of diseases that can affect people. Everything under the sun from salmonella to hantavirus can be caught from both direct contact with rodents or indirect interaction such as breathing air contaminated by rodent droppings or dander. Aside from health concerns, rodents can also cause property damage. They will eat almost anything, and what they don’t eat, they will chew and gnaw on to make nesting materials or just because it feels good on their teeth. When rats damage your personal property, it’s depressing, but if they chew on electrical wiring, it can cause a fire and be downright dangerous.
You can prevent rat infestations.
Just because there is construction going on in your neighborhood doesn’t mean you have to put up with rats. You can keep rats out if you take steps to rodent-proof your home. Rats and other rodents are just looking for a place to live and food to eat, so make sure your home doesn’t have any openings to let them inside. Store food in sealed containers and use a trash can with a lid. Keeping your home well sealed will also prevent heat loss during winter months, saving you money. Cleaning up food messes quickly and proper food storage will prevent spoilage and other pest problems as well. Nothing but good news!
Read the full story about Wrigley Field’s rat problem here: Wrigley Field neighbors complain about parking, rats as renovation continues.