Urban centres across Canada and the U.S. are experiencing a rise in “aggressive” rodent activity due to COVID-19 restrictions shuttering restaurants and cafes. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rats are becoming more aggressive in some cities south of the border as they frantically search out new food supplies. To contend with these outbreaks, pest control workers in many jurisdictions are classified as essential.
“Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behaviour,” said the CDC, advising home and business owners to cover garbage cans, put bird and pet food out of reach and seal small holes where rodents could gain entry into buildings.
According to Toronto-based Abell Pest Control, calls across Canada for rat extermination increased by 52 per cent last month compared to March 2019, with calls across the GTA up by 36 per cent.
Signs of rodent activity
Known to transmit disease and cause expensive structural damage to buildings, Orkin Canada advises multi-res property managers to consult with an expert if they suspect a rat infestation.
Signs can include: unsightly holes in lawns and in building foundations; torn up insulation, paper, and cloth found around the property; and complaints of gnawing sounds coming from behind the walls.
“Check wiring for chew marks and look out for small, pellet-like droppings,” the Orkin website suggests.
To prevent an infestation, apartment tenants should be reminded to keep food preparation areas clean, and to properly dispose of garbage in exterior bins and trash cans. Dumpsters should be well secured and maintained with more frequency as the pandemic continues.
In addition, Orkin reminds facility managers to trim back vegetation from building exteriors; seal any cracks or holes with caulk or foam; remove any standing water throughout the property, and keep doors and windows closed.