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When the Rats Belong to the Neighbors…

By Chris Williams on July 1, 2016.

We live behind a restaurant that clearly has a rat problem centered around their overflowing dumpster and overgrown backyard. On more than one occasion we have seen rats enter our yard but we haven’t found any burrows. What can we do? G. F., Boston, MA

Obviously the first step is to attempt to permanently solve the problem by contacting the restaurant owner and local powers-that-be such as the health department. If you’re not getting satisfaction in that direction, you have to do what you can to keep rats from colonizing your property as well.

A pest control company may be able to bait or place rat traps on your side of the property line adjacent to the restaurant. The ideal situation would be if the restaurant agreed to have the same pest control company handle rat control on their property as well. In the meantime, there are steps that you can take to make sure you are not inviting rats into your yard because if you feed them, they will come.

Keep Rats Away By Managing Food Attractants

  • Garbage Handling – If you store food garbage outside, make sure it is in a tied-off bag inside a heavy-duty garbage can with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Pet Food – If feeding pets outside, don’t leave food out after the animal has finished feeding, and especially not at night.
  • Pet Feces – Yes, rats will feed on dog and cat poop. Clean it up regularly.
  • Bird Feeders – Seeds are a favorite food of rodents and spillage under a feeder will easily attract rats. If you have to have feeders, install rodent-proof baffles on the feeder pole and use a feeder with a catch tray. Clean up under the feeder frequently.
  • Garden Produce – Remove any overripe produce from your garden and don’t leave rotting vegetables and fruits on the ground.
  • Harborage Sites – Rats are attracted to a messy, overgrown yard where they can hide and their burrows can be hidden as well. Clean up debris piles, wood piles, rock piles, and cut high grass or weeds, especially along the shared property line.

Give Colonial Pest a call and let our rodent experts evaluate your situation. They can come up with a management plan that should give you some peace of mind until the rat problem next door can be resolved.

Photo Credit : “WildRat” by Reg Mckenna – originally posted to Flickr as Wild Rat. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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