Archive for the ‘Rodent Control’ Category


Remodeling in the East Bay

From dirt to doorknobs

It’s a rare attic or crawlspace where we see no evidence of these nasty critters. It seems like they climb, swim, dig, or chew their way into our houses no matter what we do. One homeowner complained of rats that ate the fruit out of their dining table centerpiece!

Rat raceway between insulation and subfloorRat raceway between insulation and subfloor

It’s bad enough that they get into our attics and crawlspaces, worse yet is what they leave behind. Proteins in their urine are potent allergens and become airborne when dry. Their urine and feces can contain hantavirus, a group of deadly virus that can be aerosolized and transmitted through air movement (more on hantavirus).

In the average house ducts leak at least 30%, and the building “shell” leaks at least 100% more than what’s required for adequate ventilation (data). If the leaky ducts run through the attic or crawlspace, they can directly vacuum up rat leavings and deliver it into each room of the house. If they don’t vacuum it up directly, they can depressurize the house, causing the house itself to suck it in through all the little holes and cracks between the attic or crawlspace and the house.

Rat urine on a water pipeRat urine on a water pipe

 In a typical building performance project that involves rodent infestation, we remove all contaminated materials and neutralize soiled surfaces. Then we reduce duct leakage and eliminate air infiltration between the attic or crawlspace and the living space. Even if the rats eventually get back in, the bad stuff stays in the attic or crawlspace, not in the bedrooms.

This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.

April Designated as National Pest Management Month

The National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take steps to prevent infestations
FAIRFAX, Va. — The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) celebrates April as National Pest Management Month, an observance that has been taking place for more than 30 years. National Pest Management Month honors the professional pest control industry for playing a key role in protecting both health and property from significant pest-borne threats.

“The NPMA is pleased to have the opportunity to publicly recognize the important work that pest professionals do every day during National Pest Management Month,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “In honor of National Pest Management Month, the NPMA is dedicated to raising public awareness about the risks posed by household pests and encouraging homeowners to take proactive steps to prevent pest infestations in their homes and properties.”

Pest such as termites, rodents and carpenter ants can cause extensive property damage by chewing through walls, flooring and even electrical wiring. Other pests, including ticks, mosquitoes, cockroaches and stinging insects pose health threats to humans. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, while mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus. Cockroach allergens can trigger asthma attacks, while stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year.

During April, the NPMA recommends that homeowners follow these tips to prevent pest infestations:

Seal up cracks and small openings along the foundation of the house.

Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.

Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.

Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.

Keep all food containers sealed.

Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.

Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and outdoors.

Screen windows and doors.

If you see signs of pests or suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

Northern Manhattan Subway Riders Say Rats Abound

Fulton Street in Manhattan, June 2010.Marcus Yam/The New York Times The rats are downtown, too: Fulton Street in Manhattan in June.

Rodents, the traditional scourge of New York City, are having a rough year. The rise of the bedbug seems to have rendered rats a has-been pest, a mere nuisance to be ignored rather than read about in countless alarmist trend articles. The bedbug is a breakout media star; the rat is, well, still a rat.

But there is one realm where the rodent still rules, where rats play the stars of an underground theater with a captive audience in the millions. Where else but the subway?

Earlier this year, the city’s Board of Health, in what was called the first study of its kind, discovered that half the subway lines in Lower Manhattan exhibited signs of mild or severe infestation. At the time, many New Yorkers expressed a surprising fondness for the creatures.  Now, a new, slightly less scientific survey has found a similar rat takeover of 20 stations in Upper Manhattan, based on the observations of thousands of riders who say there is a “severe” rodent problem in the underground.

The Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, collected responses from about 5,000 New Yorkers who filled out surveys distributed by the senator’s office.

Because this type of survey is self-selecting, and because there was no way to verify the responses, the results of Mr. Perkins’s study (also see below) ought to be taken with a grain of rat poison. But the findings do seem to match up anecdotally with many New Yorkers’ experiences.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis in the subway, with a majority of sightings on the tracks. (Far fewer rats appeared to make their way onto benches or into the trains themselves.) Only 1 percent of the respondents said they “never see rats.”

All 20 stations in Mr. Perkins’s district, the 30th, were cited. The worst offenders: the big 125th Street express stop at Saint Nicholas Avenue; the 145th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines; and the 163rd Street station in Washington Heights. Strangely, the new 96th Street station at Broadway was also cited, although perhaps all the recent construction sent rodents scurrying of late.

The point of the survey, Mr. Perkins said, was to prompt officials to examine new methods of attacking the rodent problem. He also proposed a ban on eating in the subway, similar to no-food policies used on transit systems in Chicago and Washington.

“What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald’s,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview. He noted that discarded food and litter are the primary culprits that attract rats to the mass transit system: “If you feed ’em, you breed ’em.”

Mr. Perkins mailed his survey results to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Oct. 21, and he urged the agency to step up its eradication efforts. The agency has laid off station cleaners this year and acknowledged over the summer that it may not have the budget to pursue a more advanced attack against rodents.

“I know this is a challenging time for transit and for the M.T.A.,” Mr. Perkins wrote in his letter. “But rodents in the subway jeopardize the health of all those who travel and work underground.”

In the interview, Mr. Perkins emphasized the far-reaching effects of his cause.

“This system is so important to people,” he said. “It is an experience that determines significantly one’s daily life, not simply from a bread-and-butter go-to-work point of view, but from an emotional and psychic point of view.

“You’re on a subway and a rat is sitting next to you — that moment does not end for a while.”

Rats! Metro Detroit has more this year

Rats are more than creepy. The scavengers also pose a public health risk — they carry diseases that can infect humans and pets.

The rodents are an increasing concern in metro Detroit, where several pest-control firms say they have seen a significant rise in rat calls. The reasons are unclear, but experts suggest several culprits: abandoned properties; a push to demolish empty buildings; even a wetter-than-normal summer, leading to thicker vegetation and more hiding spaces for rodents.

Troy-based Rose Pest Solutions has logged a 36% upswing in rat calls, a trend largely driven by residential calls in Detroit and suburbs such as Grosse Pointe Farms, Roseville, Warren, St. Clair Shores, Royal Oak and Sterling Heights. And Lake Orion-based A & D Animal Control, which services Oakland County, had about a dozen rat calls this summer, compared with less than a handful in some other years, said Al Krier, owner for 37 years.

Pest experts say the rats will eat just about anything. They can chew through concrete in search of food.

They’ll filch your garden vegetables or your pet food. Dog droppings? Yep, that too.

Abandoned property, slight rise in rainfall among likely causes

 Already waging battle against a surge in bedbugs, several metro Detroit pest-control companies say they’re now fighting another nuisance — rats.

 “We’ve been talking about it, trying to figure out exactly what’s going on,” said Mark Sheperdigian of Troy-based Rose Pest Solutions, which reported a 36% boost in rat calls — from 157 to 213 — through Aug. 31 this year, compared with the same time period last year.

 Certainly, some pest-control companies say they have not noticed an increase in calls specifically for rats.

 But others say they’ve not only been getting more calls overall from commercial and industrial property owners, but there has been increased concern from homeowners who have spotted the rodents darting along their fence lines, slipping in and out of nearby abandoned buildings and burrowing under everything from foundations and tree roots to hot tubs and expensive landscaping features.

“Rats tend to be a commercial-area problem. You don’t get them usually in residential areas,” said Ross Stevens, owners of Southfield-based Stevens Pest Control.

 Detroiter Kris Stevens said she and her neighbors battled a rat problem earlier this year, even though they try to keep their yards free of debris. They asked the city to put down rat bait this summer after noticing burrows and paths along fence lines and under a tree root that had grown under some concrete.

 Pest-control experts say it was the right thing to do because there’s a good chance there’s a colony nearby.

Many possible causes

 Animal populations fluctuate from year to year, and a single factor — disease or a killing winter, for example — can crash those populations. But it usually takes several things to make a population surge in numbers, said Sheperdigian at Rose Pest Solutions.

 Some exterminators theorize that more abandoned commercial areas, combined with a slightly rainier than usual summer and the lush vegetation that such weather brings, have given the rodents more places to hide. Or perhaps a push to demolish long-vacant buildings is scattering established colonies of rats into neighborhoods.

 Plus, with tight budgets in recent years, both government and industry may be cutting back on rat-baiting.

 “We’ve had accounts we lost because the companies went out of business,” said Dean Krotchen, owner of Livonia-based Anteco, which answered 22 calls for rat control this summer, compared with 16 last summer. “We’re no longer there, people are no longer there. But that doesn’t mean the rats are no longer there.”

 But clearly, rats aren’t income-specific.

 Brandon Currie, 32, of Warren holds the dead rat he caught Thursday outside his home as his son Trevor, 3, looks on. Currie works for a metro area pest-control company. Several of the pest-control firms in metro Detroit are reporting in an increase in calls about rodents this year. (KATHLEEN GALLIGAN/Detroit Free Press)

Area pest-control companies say they’ve been called to some of the poshestand cleanest restaurants and neighborhoods in metro Detroit — some of which sit close to vacant land. Some rats, also, are drawn to birdseed or pet food that has been left out.

 Krotchen said he’s currently working with a doctor who noticed signs of rats — holes, trails — around her otherwise clean and pest-free home.

“They don’t care what you make. They want a food source and a place to hide,” he said. Public health risks

 Rats are usually nocturnal and avoid human contact.

 Still, they are a public health risk, carrying diseases like leptospirosis, a rare bacterial infection from water that has been contaminated by animal urine. Some Macomb County veterinarians have reported that cases of the infection have been increasing among dogs.

 “They’re walking disease bins,” said Dale Kaukeinen, who last year coauthored the Rodent Risk Report, a national assessment of 30 of the largest U.S. cities. The report ranked Detroit as 10th at risk, based on 18 factors that ranged from average rainfall to foreclosure and poverty rates to even the money put into infrastructure improvements.

 The Michigan Department of Community Health has not recorded any serious human illnesses or deaths linked to rats in recent years, and it’s tough to assess the population’s size, said Mary Grace Stobierski, the state’s public health veterinarian.

 Local public health departments don’t track the calls to pest control, and rat bites aren’t usually reported, she said.

 Plus, rats are instinctively evasive and are active mostly after dark. Many property owners don’t see them, but spy their burrows or tracks instead.

 But as the weather cools, rats will be even more tenacious about finding warmth and food, and they’ll be looking for opportunities, said Ross Stevens of Stevens Pest Control. He recalled one job in which a suburban homeowner judged the distance wrong while pulling into his driveway. His vehicle punched a hole in the wall.

 It wasn’t long before he called Stevens.

 “We caught about a dozen young rats in one night,” Stevens said.

Do you hear noises in the attic? Do you hear “gnawing” sounds?

Call Us Now for a FREE Rodent Inspection 727-388-6759
We are the Rat Control Specialist!

“Worst Year For Rats”, Says Pest Control Company

Warm spring likely reason for outbreak

 By Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen  
 Those rats seen scurrying around Confederation Park are also invading homes and restaurants across the city, says an Ottawa pest control expert.

It’s not a full-fledged invasion but the rodents are rummaging through garbage and even entering improperly secured green bins, says David Saunders, owner of Paramount Pest Control.

“I can find rats … in many residential backyards all through Ottawa so it’s just not Confederation Park,” says Saunders, who has been in the pest control business for 21 years.

“People have this problem in their backyards, under their doorsteps and behind their garden sheds. When people feed birds and the bird seed falls to the ground it attracts a lot of rodents,” he says.

Saunders says his company has had its busiest year responding to rats and insect control calls. He suspects the outbreak is largely attributed to the warm spring the region experienced.

“This is the worst I’ve seen for rats in Ottawa, especially in residential areas,” he says.

National Capital Commission officials have resorted to calling in an exterminator to control rats spotted scurrying through Confederation Park, located at Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue, near the National Arts Centre and across the street from City Hall.

Eight poison-filled bait traps have been placed in the park. The traps read “rodenticide, do not touch.”

NCC spokesman Jean Wolff said this is the first time the Commission has experienced a rat problem at the downtown park. He said the traps seem to be working.

“The first indication is that we’re on the right track because in the last few weeks there has been fewer sightings of rats. But we hope to get the situation under control,” said Wolff.

The traps will be in place until the end of November, he said.

Wolff said he’s hoping the public will co-operate by properly disposing of trash in the park’s litter bins.

A warmer spring definitely led to a longer breeding season for the city’s rat population, says Saunders.

“Whenever you have a better food supply and a longer season all rodents and all insects tend to do better,” he says

Saunders says the region’s growing population and increased construction in the downtown core are also factors that contribute to more rats. He says rats are also getting into green bins because homeowners often forget to secure the lid.

“I don’t know how many customers’ homes I’ve gone to with a rat problem where they’ve got inside. If you can put your pinky finger in the bin then a rat is also able to pry his nose in and get inside,” he says.

Saunders says sloppy habits cause rat control problems. He says proper disposal of trash works.

Read more:


Here is information on common diseases caused by rats, as gathered from the Center For Disease Control & Prevention

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS): Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified throughout the United States. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.

Murine Typhus: Murine typhus (caused by infection with R. typhi) occurs worldwide and is transmitted to humans by rat fleas. Flea-infested rats can be found throughout the year in humid tropical environments, but in temperate regions are most common during the warm summer months. Travelers who visit in rat-infested buildings and homes, especially in harbor or riverine environments, can be at risk for exposure to the agent of murine typhus.

Rat-bite fever (RBF): Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a systemic bacterial illness caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis that can be acquired through the bite or scratch of a rodent or the ingestion of food or water contaminated with rat feces.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium: As its name suggests, it causes a typhoid-like disease in mice. In humans S. Typhimurium does not cause as severe disease as S. Typhi, and is not normally fatal. The disease is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and generally lasts up to 7 days. Unfortunately, in immunocompromized people, that is the elderly, young, or people with depressed immune systems, Salmonella infections are often fatal if they are not treated with antibiotics.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.

Eosinophilic Meningitis: Eosinophilic meningitis is an infection of the brain occurring in association with an increase in the number of eosinophils, white blood cells that are associated with infection with worms that penetrate into the body. The organism most commonly causing eosinophilic meningitis is a rat lung worm called angiostrongylus cantonensis.

If you think you are having rodent problems, Call Us immediately 727-388-6759  We are the Rodent Specialist

Aw, Rats: Inspectors Shut Down Two Local Restaurants

When the Inspector’s away, the mice will play.

Two restaurants got popped last week for what’s called “rodent activity.” Before you ask, no, that’s not the latest underground, cult horror film. But it could be. 
By that I mean if you eat there. 
Check out the grievous details after the jump.

Fu Wa Chinese Restaurant

2465-2467 NW 40th Ave., Lauderhill
Busted for: Rodent activity on 9/14/2010 and 9/15/2010. 
Fu Wa in Lauderhill racked up 14 critical violations during a surprise inspection last Wednesday. Some of the stuff is your standard I-can’t-believe-how-dirty-this-place-is sort of fare: Food contact surfaces crusted with grease; soiled reach ins; unsanitary prep stations; raw chicken being stored in the same container with cheese-filled rangoon. Nothing good, basically. 
But the real show stopper came in the form of fresh rat droppings found near the handwashing sink, the reach in freezer, and the hot water freezer. It culminated with the discovery of one rodent going belly up by the same freezer. 
Well at least he was dead.
The restaurant reopened on 9/16 and is pending another follow-up inspection.
Elbaum’s Gourmet Deli at Bageland
13800 S. Jog Road, Delray Beach
Busted for: Rodent activity on 9/15/2010 (and so much more).
Elbaum’s Gourmet Deli must have set some sort of record last Wednesday. Inspectors reported 53 critical and 33 non-critical violations in the restaurant for a total of 86 health violations
Going through this stuff is like watching an episode of Fear Factor. I can’t imagine eating in a restaurant this filthy. Here are some of the highlights:
* A bag of rotten potatoes hanging out in dry storage, oozing liquid and serving as a nest for flies.
* Ready-to-eat food stored under the pipes by the hand sink.
* Open food containers just sort of hanging out, including sugar and whole buckets of cooked noodles.
* Slime build up inside the ice machine and encrusted material clinging to the deli slicer.
* “Objectionable odors” observed throughout the kitchen and dish room.
* Gnaw marks found on packages of pasta, noodles, and flour.
And, the grossest bit, ladies and gentlemen:
Inspectors found literally countless rodent droppings all over the restaurant, including “hundreds” by the back door, the soda syrups, and the prep kitchen. Rodents also, apparently, loved to take their morning constitutionals by the soda machines, prep tables, dish room, food speed racks, walk-in cooler, and countless food containers. To add insult to injury, inspectors found a single live roach by the walk-in cooler. 
That doesn’t sound like “activity.” That sounds like a full-scale infestation.
Repeat inspections have since seen some of these myriad violations corrected, but the most recent inspection on 9/17 notes there were still rodent droppings found in the restaurant. 
Buyer beware.
Thank goodness the above restaurants were not in our area!
Do you own a restaurant that you suspect rodent activity?
Are you a home owner that suspects rodent activity?
Call Us Now,  We are the Rodent Control Specialist   727-388-6759