A recent Washington Post article described how the rodent population is proliferating in the nation’s capital. The article cited numerous causes — mild winters when fewer rats die, the booming growth of new restaurants that add to the amount of garbage as a food source, and construction that disrupts rats’ underground burrows, causing them to seek shelter in yards or homes.
Rats are not just an urban problem; unfortunately we have them here in Four Corners. In broad daylight I saw a rat scurrying across the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. A friend in Woodmoor had to call an exterminator when she heard rustling in the basement ceiling and discovered a burrow under the deck. Also, as temperatures cool in the fall, mice look for shelter indoors. Sources of food for rats or mice can be compost piles or backyard bird feeders. Open dumpsters at any of the many restaurants in Four Corners offer rats a plentiful supply of food.
Blocking the burrow does not work to eliminate the problem. Glue boards or snap traps baited with peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, gumdrops, and apples may be effective. Alternatively, there are poison baits, but, to avoid harming children or pets, there are commercially available bait boxes or you can place the bait in a pipe. Be sure to read and follow all the directions on the package. Place traps or bait near burrows or along the pathways that the rodent is using. If you cannot or do not want to handle this, a qualified pest control company that specializes in rodent control will be able to take on the job. You can also speak to the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Rat Control Office at 240.777.3986.
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, it is best to take steps to avoid attracting rodents.
For more information, Montgomery County has a brochure that offers tips on identifying rodents and the places where they shelter along with useful advice for eliminating these pests at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/resources/ files/ratbroch.pdf. Additional information from the County is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs-special/LandREnviroHealthVector Control.html. ■
© 2017 NFCCA [Source: https://nfcca.org/news/nn201710i.html]