As devastating as the number of people was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, life as we knew it has led to myriad disruptions in life, from remembering to bring a mask to the fact that we are too Stay home with our families.
And for many with rats and mice.
Rodent activity has increased for some time, according to pest control experts, but food supplies have changed since Connecticut was locked in March. According to experts, rats were no longer able to dine in the dumpster behind their favorite restaurants. They were on their way, away from the closed shops in the city center and on the shopping malls in the suburbs and to the garbage cans behind our houses.
And we, who throw away more rubbish because we work and eat more often at home, are their new suppliers, say experts.
However, the changes made by COVID have only shown what has happened in the past few years: an explosion in wildlife populations in general, particularly rodents.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous. This year is unprecedented. I’ve never seen anything like it, ”said Rocco Cambareni, co-owner with his wife Jane of Insecta X in Norwalk.
Usually the demands on rats and mice increase in late fall and winter when the rodents are looking for warm places to hide and every opening in your foundation attracts an intruder.
“Rats are rats. It’s not like they’re hibernating, ”said Cambareni. “But you see more of them in autumn and winter because they need warmth.”
But the increased sightings of rats this spring and summer could have two COVID-related causes: fewer shops in restaurants and more people who notice the rodents because they are more at home.
“There are a lot of restaurants I live in and it’s just right in the neighborhood,” said Cambareni, who lives in Fairfield. “Then the residents will see more activity in their own courtyards.”
Rodents have moved “from the dumpsters to the trash cans in the residence,” he said.
“I haven’t been inundated with phone calls about rats,” Cambareni said. “But I know that there are rats around because of COVID.”
To make sure they don’t wander around your house, he advised not leaving pet food or water outside – rats need fluids – make sure the trash cans are tightly closed, and “look around your foundation. If you see a hole, fix it, ”he said. Garage doors, especially the rubber strip below, are also potential entrances. “A rat can chew through metal if it wants to. It can chew through concrete if it wants to, ”said Cambareni.
Mike Lipsett, owner of Connecticut Pest Elimination in Orange, said “The rodent population in Connecticut and here in New England has been through the roof for seven or eight years”.
“I’ve never seen how much rodent activity we have right now,” he said. “Fifty percent of the calls to our office right now are rodents, rodents, rodents.”
People may notice more rats and mice just because they are more at home during the pandemic, Lipsett said.
“Is it possible that there will be more rat or rodent calls because the average household has more trash because they are at home and not going out? That’s a possibility, ”he said.
Lipsett’s message is: be proactive to prevent pests from getting into your home in the first place.
“If you can control the scope, you will reduce or eliminate what can get in there,” he said. Bait boxes that are firmly anchored to the ground or heavily weighted are best for catching rats, he said. Birdhouses should be removed and the overgrowth eliminated, he said.
“Not getting the food source close by can help you in the long run,” he said.
John Neary, owner of J. Neary Pest Control in Monroe, said he had more calls for mice than for rats, but “one of the theories” for increasing rodent activity is that we’re more at home. there is more garbage. “
“The cleaner you can be, the faster you get rid of your trash, the better you will be,” he said.
John Curley, Technical Service Director for Precision Pest Control in Fairfield, also believes COVID-19 has changed the behavior of rats and other rodents.
“Our theory is that all of these commercial properties are closed, offices are closed, restaurants are closed, and we’ve definitely seen an above-average amount of residential … mouse and rat activity,” he said.
His company extends to the lower counties of Fairfield and Westchester.
Other reasons for the increase: “People are more at home. They leave doors open too, ”Curley said. “They produce more household waste, debris.” Uncleaned grills do not help either.
“We’re busier than usual in residential areas,” he said.