smelling a rat

If you have a rat in your organization, there are ways of dealing with that cheese-eating lowlife. Tony Soprano, Frank Costello and Stringer Bell could all tell you how to handle that problem.

But how do you keep the rats from finding you in the first place? How do you keep something away that can hear better than dogs, can smell different things out of each nostril and is even capable of becoming a world-class chef in that one Disney movie?

First thing you can do is take away their food source. Rats can eat up to 5 percent of their body weight every day—for a 150-pound person, that would be 7½ pounds of food—and they’re not that choosy about what they consume. Along with the grains, seeds and nuts that fall on the ground from your bird feeders, they will also eat food you leave outside for your pets, garbage left outside in plastic bags, and even dog  poop.

Rats are a chronic problem in most if not all towns. If you see a rat, 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 area 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.

Of course, instead of trying to get rid of them, you may be tempted to go the other way, amass them into an army of thousands and unleash them on your enemies, like in Willard. But we recommend you watch the movie before attempting it.

Here are some other tips:

  • 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 dryer. 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. If possible, store your potatoes and onions are also in the refrigerator or in metal or glass containers.


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