rats 2016: the discouraging

According to Wikipedia, there are 64 species of rat in the world. Fortunately, there are only two primary rat species around here—Norway rat and black rat. (Wikipedia also says rat stew is a common item of West Virginia cuisine. Wikipedia says that. Not us, so send all complaints to Wikipedia).

Mt. Lebanon has discontinued its rat-baiting program, and is putting more emphasis on making people aware of how to keep rats at bay by taking away their habitat. With the birds returning and the squirrels still here, we thought it would be a good idea to review the basics of how to discourage rats from visiting.

One of the prime attractions for rats is bird feeders. The food birds drop on the ground can become a buffet for mice and rats, but  vermin will eat just about anything, including garbage and animal feces. If you clean up after your pets and put your trash out for pickup in a sealed container, you can whittle down some food sources. Also, any pet food you leave outside is fair game.

Inside, the house, store grain products in glass or metal containers. This will prevent the critters from nibbling on your rice or pasta. Potatoes and onions are also safest kept in the refrigerator or in metal or glass containers.

Rats can nest in brush and compost piles and can burrow into wood piles that are on the ground. Storing wood in a box or other container that is off the ground can take away potential shelter.

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 containers.