Louisiana May be Facing an Increasing Rat Problem
Even though we have received some much needed rain recently, the long, hot summer and subsequent drought conditions have caused some unwelcome consequences.
Persistant dry conditions have forced rats and mice into Louisiana homes in search of food and water. Because of the drought conditions, the rodents have less access to food sources. LSU Ag Center Professor emeritus Dr. Claudette Reichel said:
“It’s getting harder to find outside and so they’re probably making stronger efforts than usual to seek it out in buildings.”
First it was crickets... now rats and mice. Reichel says that in addition to the more than 60 different diseases transmitted by our little furry friends, exposure to rat droppings can cause allergic reactions in people who are hypersensitive.
“Their droppings can be very allergenic and very unhealthy. The droppings tend to be in places behind furniture and bookcases.”
But there are things you can do to help mitigate the problem of a rat or mice infestation. Reichel says traps, rodenticides, repellents, and predators are a few ways to remedy the rodent issue. She also suggests eliminating access to your home.
“In general when you find gaps, filling them with copper mesh kind of material... If it’s a larger gap or a very small gap.”
According to EPA.gov:
Discourage rats and mice from taking up residence on your property by removing food and water sources, and items that can provide them shelter:
- Seal holes inside and outside the home to keep rodents out. This may be as simple as plugging small holes with steel wool, or patching holes in inside or outside walls.
- Remove potential rodent nesting sites from your property, including leaf piles and deep mulch.
- Clean up food and water sources in and near your house.
- Keep kitchen garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Turn compost piles to cover newly added food scraps.
- Stop feeding outdoor birds while you are controlling an infestation or feed only huskless items that leave less residue that can be food for rodents.