With so many restaurants closed during pandemic, rats look for food in residential areas
MONCTON, N.B. -- City centres around the Maritimes are quiet these days as the closure of many businesses like bars and restaurants have left streets empty.
That means less garbage and food waste -- and that means rats are hungry.
"There’s a lot less waste around," says Orkin Canada technical director Sean Rollo. "A lot less trash for the rodents to get into, so they’re having to adapt and when they adapt they are looking for new resources."
Those new food sources are now being found around homes. Birdfeeders, compost bins, even animal waste can attract rodents.
"We don’t want to discourage people from having birdfeeders, but definitely some maintenance around that birdfeeder would be advised," Rollo said. "As well as placing it as far away from the home as possible."
It's important to check around your home for small holes that may let rats inside, and they don't need much room. A rat can fit through a hole about the size of a toonie.
"If they take root inside of your home, and they’ve made a nest and start populating, the problem is obviously much more substantial than just seeing one or two around the outside of the property," Rollo said.
Like other cities, Halifax is seeing increased visibility of rats in some residential areas.
"A lot of people are not spending a lot of time outside," said Kenneth Penney a branch manager for Orkin in Nova Scotia. "There is less human pressure, so they are going to be around the exterior more often and looking for ways to get in."
The experts say the best thing to do is fill in any holes around your foundation, make sure there is no debris in your yard, because once they're inside they're difficult to get rid of.
Moncton fire chief Conrad Landry said rats will also chew on the electrical wires, and if those wires touch, it could create a spark similar to touching the ends of jumper cables together and that spark could cause a house fire.