As we all know, the DC Metro area has a lot of delicious restaurants. This means that there are usually dumpsters full of food waste in the alleys behind them. But now, everything is shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This being the case, the usual food resources available to rodents are not there. This may cause these rodents, such as rats, to search elsewhere for food and these marauding rodents may find their way to residential areas.
Rodents are opportunists, so they’re going to adapt and find food where it’s available. A rodent might be roaming around in the open, hungry and looking for new sources of food, or they might go through the sewer system. They’re also moving into residential homes, apartment complexes and buildings.
Many of us don’t realize this, but all a rodent only needs a gap as wide as its head to get into a building. While a mouse needs a space as small as a quarter inch, a rat may pass through a space of less than three quarter inch. And, if the opening is too small, they’ll gnaw on the surface to enlarge it for enter as needed.
“There could also be more rat colonies fighting over the scarce food scraps remaining outside dumpsters and the restaurants that are still open,” said Robert Corrigan, a researcher who has studied rodents for 30 years and is now based in New York City. “People have reported in a couple times that they’ve seen squabbling, that’s the word that they use, and fighting,” he said, adding that he has seen these fights himself. He said people have reported more squeaks and high-pitched shrieks from these fights everywhere from Boston to Washington, D.C., and compares them to rival gangs fighting over turf. The scientific term is interspecific competition.
How to Keep Rats and Other Rodents Outdoors and Away from Your Home
The best strategy is to take measures now to keep rats and other rodents out of your home. Once an infestation has begun, they are hard to get rid of. Here are eight steps you can take to keep these rodents out of your home:
- Fill holes, cracks and gaps: Check your home for any opening the size of a quarter and larger. Seal them up with proper materials. These include steel wool, hardware cloth, caulk, cement, and plaster. Weather-strip doors and windows if there are large cracks.
- Don’t feed them: Rats are resourceful. They will find things to eat around your property, so you have to be diligent in dealing with them. Cover garbage cans at all times. Pick produce from your garden and trees as it ripens. Pick up and compost fruit and vegetables that fall to the ground. Feed outdoor pets during the day and don’t leave leftover food lying around. Don’t store pet food outside without making sure it’s in rodent proof containers.
- Remove their habitat: Don’t give these vermin a place to live. Remove debris such as limbs, old cars or appliances from your property. If you have wood piles or lumber, store them at least 18 inches above ground and a foot or so away from your home and other walls. Remove heavy vegetation, as rats consider this is a great hiding place.
- Trim trees, shrubs and limbs back four feet from your home: Rats aren’t Olympians; they can’t bridge that gap.
- Check your neighborhood: Chances are, rats are a neighborhood issue. If you have a rat problem, it’s likely you won’t be the only one dealing with these rodents. Band together with neighbors to check community areas for rat activity. Take the same steps listed above in these areas.
- Call the pros: In general, the most effective step for eliminating rats and other rodents is to call on exterminators when you see evidence of an infestation. Expert help will give you much better results than working on your own.
Call Us to Help You Get Rid of Pests or Rodents!
At Alexandria Pest Services, our trained professionals will analyze your pest control needs and come up with a personalized plan for your household. Our team of expert technicians will provide a free inspection and work to create a plan to eliminate your pests. At Alexandria Pest Services, we help homeowners just like you get rid of pests in their homes all year round. If you find that you are having a problem with insects or pests, and need an exterminator, call Alexandria Pest Services at 703-923-0925 to schedule a professional evaluation. We can help you get rid of these invaders in your home or office!
We hope you and your loved ones stay well and healthy during this time. We are open and following all CDC regulations. Please call us today for all of your pest control needs!