Texas having self-sized problem with rats

Rat-in-Garbage_blogWhile not yet a rat-pocalypse, favorable weather conditions have helped create a spike in rat numbers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, and other areas of Texas.

“We’ve really got a rat explosion,” said Cliff Moore, owner of DFW-based Animal Services Inc, as quoted in the Dallas Observer.  “It’s throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, the whole metroplex really.”

Jerry Falke, wildlife damage management biologist for AgriLife Extension’s Texas Wildlife Services, said the increase in rodents seen this year began with last year’s rodent-friendly weather conditions.

“Last fall was an exceptionally wet season in this area of Texas,” said Falke, in an article for AgriLife Today. “The increase in late-season grass and seed was a major factor in greater native rodent activity, and the resulting population led to increased migration into residences, storage buildings, shops and other indoor locations.”

Last year’s fall-feast for rodents in regions of Texas has been followed by a rat-friendly relatively wet and mild summer in those same regions. It all adds up to rodent numbers that add up.

Unfortunately, the rats don’t seem to be of the Ratatouille variety.

“Rats and mice eat and contaminate human, pet and livestock foods,” said Bruce Leland, assistant director for Wildlife Services, San Antonio, in AgriLife Today. “They also destroy property by chewing wires, which may cause fires, as well as gnaw pipes, chew water hoses and damage wood doors, floors, walls, clothing and furniture. They also carry diseases harmful to humans and domestic animals.”

In the article, Leland indicated the best approach to rodent control.

“An integrated approach to rodent management is the best,” he said. “A program using rodenticides and traps, removal of shelter, removal of food and water, and rat-proofing is most effective.”

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