The Centers for Disease Control has provided updated guidance on rodent control, and the latest version cautions that environmental management programs and pest control services may receive reports of “unusual or aggressive rodent behavior” amidst pandemic-related closures.
The new guidance, which has been updated to reflect pandemic closures, warns that rats may be missing out on restaurant scraps and commercial business garbage, causing them to scatter off to new places in search of food.
“Rodents rely on the food and waste generated by these establishments. Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” said the CDC guidance. “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food. Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior.”
Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist and consultant, told NBC News last month that when rodents face food shortages, they may declare war on other rodent colonies or start to cannibalize each other.
“It’s just like we’ve seen in the history of mankind, where people try to take over lands and they come in with militaries and armies and fight to the death, literally, for who’s going to conquer that land. And that’s what happens with rats,” said Corrigan. “A new ‘army’ of rats come in, and whichever army has the strongest rats is going to conquer that area.”
“They’re mammals just like you and I, and so when you’re really, really hungry, you’re not going to act the same — you’re going to act very bad, usually,” said Corrigan, who also mentioned that rats are designed to find “food molecules like heat-seeking missiles.”
Inside Edition recently published a video report showing rodents, “emboldened like never before,” swarming a trashcan in front of a restaurant in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio told the public only the week before that the rodent problem in the city would not become worse, purportedly in response to rats problems in that same location, reports the news agency.
“As New Yorkers, unfortunately, we know way too much about rats. And we are certainly not going to ever let it get to be a worse situation. We’re going to fight it back,” the mayor told reporters in a press conference.
Inside Edition notes in response: “But our camera found they’re still here, and they’ve brought reinforcements, swarming all over this trash can.”
To reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with rodent-borne diseases, the CDC recommends taking preventative measures, such as “sealing up access into homes and businesses, removing debris and heavy vegetation, keeping garbage in tightly covered bins, and removing pet and bird food from their yards.”
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