keep rats at bay

In 1974’s Diamond Dogs, David Bowie lays out a grim prediction of a dystopian future where “fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats.” How has Mt. Lebanon been able to avoid that fate? Well, one reason is, we stay on top of the rat situation here.

With warmer weather returning, many people are restocking the backyard bird feeders and maybe putting some pet food outside for wandering cats and dogs. This is a prime attractant for rats, and also raccoons and other wildlife. But rats don’t maintain very high dining standards—food garbage left outside in plastic bags, and even pet and other animal droppings in the yard.

If you see rats in your neighbor’s yard, the best thing to do is to speak to your neighbors, says Mt. Lebanon Public Works Superintendent Rudy Sukal. If your neighbor does not respond, or if you notice the problem spreading to your own yard, call the Mt. Lebanon Public Works Department at 412-343-3403. A certified technician will come to check out the problem and offer suggestions on how to make the property less attractive to rats. If necessary, a public works technician will put rat bait in sanitary sewers near your house and return once or twice weekly for updates.

Here are some other tips to keep us on the right side of a rodent uprising:

Put a lid on the can when storing garbage, both indoors and outdoors Have a minimum of one 30-35 gallon lidded container for every two people in the household.

Check for holes Rats can enter your house through holes in wood, brick, pipe—even the venting for your drier. Once inside, they’ll roam around the infrastructure, chew through wood cabinets and help themselves to food in cardboard or plastic containers.

Store grain products in glass or metal containers Potatoes and onions are also safest kept in the refrigerator or in metal or glass containers.