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Chicago is home to the nation’s largest rat population. Furthermore, the rodents are acting strange, likely due to the COVID lockdown, which has caused them to search in unusual places for food, reports Orkin.
Without food waste to consume, these pests were seen scavenging new areas and exhibiting unusual or aggressive behavior.
Shutting down restaurants and food-related businesses led to less garbage and waste for rats and mice to eat. But, as soon as the restaurants return to their regular day-to-day activities, these pests have easy access to food waste, explains Orkin Entomologist Ben Hottel.
Rodents are experts at sniffing out food and shelter, and they’re resilient in their ways to obtain both. After a year of depleted resources, residential properties offer the ideal habitat for rodents, and once they settled in, they’re capable of reproducing rapidly and in large quantities.
Orkin ranks the rattiest cities based on the number of new residential and commercial rodent exterminations performed during the previous year. Chicago placed first on the list for the seventh consecutive year, with Los Angeles and New York coming in second and third, respectively.
Seeing rodent dung will let a person know there are rodents in their home or business. Other signs include scratch and or bite marks along baseboards and walls.
The pest inspection company also says that rodents can cause damage in homes like chewing on cords and pipes, especially with winter coming. Rodents to use this time to find warm shelter for the season, aka someone’s house. Even worse, rats and mice carry diseases that could give a person food poisoning or diseases like hantavirus and plague.
Thankfully, Orkin recommends ways to keep homes rodent-free to prevent having to deal with this problem:
- First, keep any or all food stored away in metal or glass containers.
- Second, always throw unattended cardboard boxes away as they are perfect homes for pests to chew through and nests.
- Mowing the lawn and keeping the yard clean from debris should also be a priority. Grass that has not been cut and woodpiles make inviting shelter areas for rodents.
- Finally, identify any points where rodents can enter and exit a home and seal them off.
Using the tips above, homes across the nation can be better equipped to keep rodents out.
Written by Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
NBC Chicago: Chicago Rodents Exhibiting’ Unusual’ and ‘Aggressive’ Behavior During Pandemic, Report Says
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Annie English’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Doug Beckers’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License