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Pressed For Food, Rats Venture From City Areas Into Neighborhoods

Utah State Exension

Federal health officials are cautioning Americans about another pandemic-related issue: rats.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, it’s been a recurring problem in the downtown Eugene area…but now it’s moving outward to homes.

The City of Eugene says its Code Compliance Team hasn’t received a complaint of downtown rats in nearly a year. But that isn’t necessarily good news. After bars and restaurants closed for the pandemic, the CDC is warning of aggressive, unusual rat activity in residential areas, as rodents forage for food.

Merle Jackson of Merle’s Pest Control says she’s gotten more calls from homes during the pandemic.  Residents are best to limit food sources.

“Compost piles, people that have chicken feed out or bird feeders.  Some people feed the squirrels, and so you’re also feeding the rats, too," advises Jackson.

"Make sure that your house is secure. Check all your vents around your house, etcetera, and make sure that there’s no entry point.”

Jackson adds that if you’re seeing rats during the day, that’s a sure sign of infestation (they are largely nocturnal). Besides leaving droppings and possibly spreading disease, rats have to gnaw constantly, so wiring in homes and cars are at risk.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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