Residents, businesses seeing increase in rodent population

Local experts told us the rodent population has indeed been on the rise over the past few years, but there are some steps you can take to prevent an infestation
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:47 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - You may have noticed more rodents lately in your homes and offices and you’re not alone. Local experts told us the rodent population has indeed been on the rise over the past few years, but there are some easy steps you can take now to prevent an infestation.

It’s often thought to be a problem only in the colder months, but it’s a year-round issue, so why are we hearing about more run-ins with rodents now? We checked in with minuteman pest control to find out.

“So there are many factors as to why. Some of it has to do with the pandemic. We had restaurants that were closed for long periods of time where rats were getting a free meal consistently, same with mice, out of their dumpsters. Now, they’ve moved more residentially after having that source taken away from them,” said Danielle Delano with Minuteman Pest Control.

Delano added that the weather contributes to the booming population as well. Recent mild winters and summer droughts drive rodents inside seeking shelter and water. While the sight of a rodent is enough to send some people running, if you find a population has moved into your home, it’s more than a nuisance. They can cause a lot of damage.

“They end up in dishwashers, inside of cars, they take nesting material from our electrical and that can cause, wreak havoc within a home of course. It can cause your home to catch on fire when they chew on electrical wires,” Delano added.

Other than actually seeing a mice or rat scurrying across the room, there are things you can look out for. Delano told Western Mass News to start looking in the basement or the lowest level where rodents are most likely to hang out for things like droppings, scat marks - which is a greasy looking substance left behind by rats - and burrows on the outside of your home. Of course, scratching and scurrying noises are a good indicator you could have pest intruders.

To prevent them getting inside, Delano said to make sure your foundation is sealed, secure compost piles, and take in any pet food. Natural repellants that are mint or balsam based can help as well. Should you find you do have a problem on your hands, act quickly and call for help.

“They do reproduce at a very rapid rate, so getting help when you need it when you find this type of evidence on the inside of your home, being proactive right away and calling someone,” Delano explained.

Delano added that local sewer separation projects have disrupted the rats and sent them looking for new territory. If you have construction projects around your home, it’s best to keep an eye out for any signs and use natural repellants.