Used to abundant food trash from humans, rats now battle and forage for their next meal. Are they headed to your home?
Picture it: you’re a rat. You scurry around in the shadows, planning your meals around food that people discard on the streets. Or trash bags you tear into. Or your favorite, a dumpster behind a bustling restaurant. There’s no shortage of food trash when humans are out and about!
Ok, you’re a human again. And you’re not out and about, you’re home. Because of COVID-19 and trying to do your part to flatten the curve, your habits have changed greatly. You’re self-isolating, or only going out for groceries or to your essential job like the Modern Pest Service Professionals. You’re not going to restaurants or walking around downtown. And because of this, there just isn’t as much trash around. But rats aren’t going to use this time to lose some winter weight.
So, where will rats find food?
Well, they’re actively looking for it. They’re shamelessly out and about in broad daylight and they might be heading to your home for their next meal.
For example, a couple in Germany have stored root vegetables in their cellar since 1995. And for the first time, it looked like potatoes had been gnawed on.
Events like this are happening around the world as we all face this pandemic together. Famed rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan is an independent consultant who advises cities around globe about their rodent issues. He has also presented at Modern Pest training seminars.
Dr. Corrigan said that as normal food sources like public trash bins and restaurant dumpsters become depleted, rat colonies will begin to fight over whatever food is left. They’re even kill and eat other rats for survival. Eventually, they’ll start to seek out other food sources, such as private homes.
Rats don’t have GPS, so they use their noses to lead them to food. You know how it smells great when you’re grilling burgers or roasting a chicken? Rats agree.
“They are going to follow their nose below that door if they can,” Corrigan said.
Once they get in, it’s all about survival and finding food.
“It is a wild animal. It is going to go forage around the house,” Corrigan said. “If there is a baby in a crib with a milk bottle, they are going to follow that odor. They can chew on wires; they can bring their own viruses in. Rats in the house is serious.”
Can rats transmit COVID-19?
While there is no evidence that rats can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Dr. Corrigan does worry that they could become a vector for the virus by scurrying through sewer pipes full of human waste and carrying it into homes. That’s disgusting on its own, but combined with possible virus transfer, it’s even scarier.
“If we can transmit it on our fingertips, then of course rats can transmit it on their feet, their fur, their tails,” Corrigan said.
Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that while virus has been found in the feces of infected hospital patients, the risk of transmission from feces is thought to be low. But rats can still transfer other diseases into your home through this method.
- Secure your trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal cracks under doors and other openings to the outside. Rats can fit through a hole the size of a nickel and mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
- Clean up all food inside and outside of your home and keep it secured in containers with tight-fitting lids. This includes animal food, too.
- Avoid using bird feeders. Seeds on the ground are a great food source for rodents and draw them closer to your home.
- Call Modern Pest!
The Modern Solution
Pest control is considered an essential service by the federal government. Modern Pest is open for business. Letting pest control issues get out of control during a pandemic is a threat to public health, food supplies, and infrastructure. Modern Pest is still performing our pest control services and adapting to the constantly changing world of COVID-19.
- Click here to read about Modern Pest’s Response to COVID-19.
- Click here to read about Pest Control During Coronavirus.
If you’re having issues with rats or any of the other 50+ common household pests such as ants, spiders, and stinging insects that Modern’s Homecare Green program protects against, call us today at 1-800-323-7378. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about our wide array of pest control services and our operations during COVID-19.