Saturday , July 11 2020
Home / World News / And now, rats: US disease control centre issues aggressive rodent warning

And now, rats: US disease control centre issues aggressive rodent warning

Home and business owners have been advised to cover garbage cans, put bird and pet food out of reach and seal small holes rodents could use to invade buildings. If people follow established cleaning guidelines, the agency says they can avoid exposure to rodent-borne diseases.

“Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food,” the CDC said. “Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behaviour.”

In areas trying to combat rodents, such as the District of Columbia, pest control workers are classified as essential. The District has had more than 800 calls regarding rodents in the past month, according to city 311 data.

Swarms of rats can turn on each other in the fight for food.

Swarms of rats can turn on each other in the fight for food.Credit:Shutterstock

Rats can transmit food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and their urine can also worsen allergies and asthma, especially in children, according to Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association.

Rats pose an additional threat to those working from home: devouring cars. Rats gnawing at car engines and tyres have caused fires, cost car owners fortunes and goaded officials to seek DIY solutions.

Urban rodentologist Bobby Corrigan predicted increased reports of aggressive rodents when the pandemic began. He said with restaurants closing, rats would need to adapt to find new food sources. In late March, he put out a call to other pest experts to share what they found in their areas.

Corrigan said that a pest expert sent him a photo after a gruesome rat battle in Queens, New York: a nest of rats had left to scrounge for food at their usual city block of restaurants but turned on each other when they couldn’t find enough scraps. A pile of rat limbs on the footpath was all that remained.

As restaurants have closed across the US, rats have become more desperate as they scrounge for food.

As restaurants have closed across the US, rats have become more desperate as they scrounge for food.Credit:Leander Nardin

“Many of these rats in our cities depend on their nightly food, which is the restaurants and hotels and bars and doughnut shops and everything that we consume on the go,” said Corrigan.

Loading

Corrigan said rats were “opportunistic foragers”, so as many rats’ reliable sources of food vanished, the rodents were seeking new menu options. To keep rats from dining at your home, he advised following CDC guidance, securing food properly so rats couldn’t get to it, adding that he recommended people avoid inhumane traps or poison.

“Deny them the opportunity, and you’ll never even know they’ve visited your property,” he said.

The Washington Post

Most Viewed in World

Loading

About admin

Check Also

High ranking Chinese officials blacklisted over Uighur rights

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment. But China …