Increase in Rat Infestations in Connecticut During Pandemic Likely Has Multiple Causes
Areas of Connecticut have seen an increase in rat-related activity recently, particularly in parts of West Hartford.
Even though rats and other rodents continue to be a nuisance to be concerned about during the warmer months, increased rat sightings have been a major concern in 2020.
The cause of the increased rat activity is likely due to two major factors: the coronavirus pandemic and one specific abandoned property in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Causes of Rat Infestations in CT
At the start of the year, events leading up to the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold.
By March 2020, students were learning from their kitchen counters, some businesses required employees to work from home, and restaurants either closed or offered pick-up only.
Restaurants closing their dining rooms or shutting down completely meant less discarded food accumulating in trashcans on sidewalks, liter debris, and garbage in dumpsters.
This has left rats feeling hungry and on the search for alternative sources of food.
Abandoned University of Connecticut West Building
Desperate times call for desperate measures, like venturing into homes in the area to scour for food.
Empty restaurants haven’t been the only concern for the area.
The former University of Connecticut West academic building has been vacant since 2017, adding to the rat-infestation concern.
Fintech Village, LLC, a subsidiary of Ideanomics, Inc., purchased the property in 2018 after the university moved its Greater Hartford Campus to downtown Hartford. But the property has primarily gone untouched for the past two years.
This has led residents to believe the rats are coming from the empty building.
The pesky rodent can adjust to their surroundings rather quickly and usually live close to where people live as this creates easy access to food.
Even though rats prefer to live in restaurants and homes, rats will build nests in abandoned buildings, too.
So, it would make perfect sense for the rodent to find the UConn West building to be an attractive option — if they can find a way inside.
Residents in the West Hartford area have seen an increase in rat-related activity, from taking over their gardens to searching through their trash.
And even though we can’t say with absolute certainty that these issues have caused the increased rat activity, it is plausible.
But officials don’t think the empty building is to blame.
“This increase in rat activity is definitely a concern, as rats can cause structural damage and pose potential health risks,” said Catseye Pest Control President Joe Dingwall. “Once a rat finds a source of food or shelter, it can be difficult for individuals to fix the situation.”
Whether it’s the building or lack of readily available food, one thing is for certain, residents will need to work a little harder to protect their property.
Preventing a Rat Infestation
A rat in your home or business is an unwelcome sight and can be quite unsettling. From damaging buildings, to contaminating food, and spreading disease — discovering a rat problem is a major concern.
There are steps homeowners and business owners can take to prevent rats and other nuisance wildlife from taking over.
“Removing food and water sources is a great start to deter rats from entering your home or business,” Dingwall explained. “But, to protect your home or business, points of entry will need to be sealed to prevent possible infestations.”
Eliminate Food Source
Rats, like the Norway rat, prefer a diet that’s high in protein and carbohydrates like meats, fish, cereal grains, livestock feed, and fresh fruit.
But rats living in cities or suburban areas near people will consume just about any human food or pet food they come across.
Garbage or discarded food left out can be enticing for rats and other rodents looking for their next meal.
It’s important to ensure garbage is kept inside a secured trash bin, pet food is not left out for an extended period of time and standing water should be eliminated.
Animal food like bird seeds should be stored inside a sealed container
Although trees, shrubs, ivy, and other aspects of landscaping can add to curb appeal, they can also act as a way for rats to access homes and other structures.
But you can still have these visually appealing landscape touches, without running the risk of rats moving in.
Instead of removing trees, trim the limbs back from the roof and powerlines. Installing metal tree trunk guards around the base can act as an additional way to discourage rats from climbing.
Ivy and climbing vines can look great, but also act as a way for rats to climb the side of a building. Instead of letting the vines creep along the building, install a trellis for the plant that is far enough from the structure, so it won’t be of interest.
Eliminate Points of Entry
Rats can access a home or business through an opening as small as ½-an-inch wide. That’s rather small, so even the most unsuspecting hole or crack can be an entry.
The rodent has also been known to chew or gnaw on entry points if they need a little more wiggle room.
Access points will vary depending on the species. Norway rats, for example, will search for access to basements, garages, and low spots on walls.
Roof rats, however, are strong climbers and will look for way inside the attic or other upper levels of the structure.
Professional Rodent Removal & Exclusion
Once a rat or another critter has taken over your home or business, it’s time to work with a professional.
Rats and other rodents are capable of spreading diseases like hantavirus, Lyme disease, the bubonic plague, and many others.
These diseases can be spread easily through direct contact, their droppings, urine, or inhaling contaminated droplets.
With this in mind, it’s important to seek the help of a pest and wildlife professional to remove the infestation and disinfect the impacted area.
Removal and cleaning are only a portion of the Catseye Pest Control rat control and removal process.
Preventing future infestations is just as important.
Catseye can help put your mind at ease with Cat-Guard Exclusion Systems. The wildlife barrier systems are a permanent, chemical-free way to protect your home or other structure from nuisance wildlife.
Catseye offers three distinct wildlife exclusion products, each act as barrier from the lowest part of the structure to the peak of the roof.
- Upper Cat-Guard Wildlife Barrier: From the top of the first-floor windows to the peak of the roof, Upper Cat-Guard shields against rats, bats, birds, and other nuisance wildlife.
- Lower Cat-Guard Wildlife Barrier: Acting as the main line of defense for the first floor of the home or business, Lower Cat-Guard defends against mice, rats, chipmunks, snakes and other rodents.
- Trench-Guard Wildlife Barrier: Operating as the underground component, Trench-Guard ensures low-clearance areas like decks and sheds are protected from nuisance wildlife.
To learn more about our professional wildlife removal and exclusion services, and how we can protect your home or business from a potential rat infestation, contact our pest and wildlife professionals today.