Storms are driving rodents into California properties

Storms are driving rodents into California properties

Rats and mice in the San Francisco Bay Area take shelter in homes to escape flooding.

OAKLAND, California – Recent storms and flooding aren’t just sending Bay Area residents searching for shelter.

Alameda County Vector Control’s community relations coordinator, Daniel Wilson, says they’ve received calls about rats and other rodents since the atmospheric river storms began.

“We’ve had phone calls and people have seen rats flushed out of manholes,” Wilson said, “Generally speaking, Norwegian rats live in our sewers here in Oakland, Alameda, and many cities in Alameda County and San Francisco.”

Wilson published research in 2018 showing an increase in calls about rodents during rainy years. Wilson says when storm sewers flood, rats and mice living outside or in sewers can become distressed.


“Some of the worst things we’ve had were rats coming into people’s homes via the toilets,” said Wilson, adding that they’ve had one call so far this year. “It’s always a good idea to keep the lid closed because it’s slippery in there and they don’t usually come out.”

Rami David and his wife Jenna own Eco Pest Control in Oakland and say they’ve seen a surge in calls about rodents entering homes.

“They chew wood, we’ve seen metals too, we’ve also seen them chew garage doors and plastic,” said David, “digging is so easy for them. Especially under the foundation.”

David says it’s important for homeowners to clear the area around the foundation of the building so any holes are easily visible.


An exterminator removes a rat from a trap.


Gilbert Jaimez, owner of Ratman Pest and Termite Control, says homeowners should be aware that rats and mice can squeeze through a quarter-sized hole.

“See that little dark spot? That’s a rodent jumping up here, squeezing through here, getting into this sub-area. Right here you can see the scuff mark there as well. Their bodies are kind of greasy, and they’re abrasion marks,” Jaimez said.

Jaimez says he’s been inundated with rodent control calls this week because of the storm.

“Rats are always active, but on this last storm, I’m getting 3-4 calls a day,” Jaimez said, “they’re just getting so cold and they’re getting swamped by all this water, they’re just trying to find shelter and the shelter they have try to find in people’s homes.”

A rat in the basement.


“You hear them, you see them. I’ve had people with rats on their kitchen counter eating their bananas and avocados,” Jaimez said.

Nola Woods, Contra Costa Vector Control’s public affairs director, says they’ve received 26 requests for rat and mouse services so far this month. That’s just four calls up from this time last year, but Woods says it’s good for homeowners to rat-proof their homes in the winter.

The Contra Costa and Alameda Vector Control offices offer free property inspections to residents to help them identify trouble spots.