Photo: Rats are back in Belmont; what to do when you see a rodent?
Rats! They’re back – well, never really left. But residents around town including in Precinct 7’s Harvard Garden neighborhood have reported an uptick in the the rodents scurrying around houses and in yards in the past months.
Geoff Lubien of Unity Avenue told the Select Board at its Aug. 15 meeting his Harvard Lawn neighborhood is experiencing ”a significant rat issue” and heard that ”other pockets” of town have similar problems.
“If they are active in the day, it means they feel safe and comfy” being in the environs they are occupying, said Lubien, who said the visitors had cleaned out his left over grass seed in his garage which has never happened in 15 years.
The Warrant Committee Chair asked if the town could issue a public service announcement to provide information on mitigating what brings rats to an area of town.
In the past week, the town and the Health Department has issued a pamphlet with a pair of messages for residents: a list of sources that provide a comfy home for your rodent co-inhabitants as well as a process mapping diagram on what to do when the rats show up (see the diagram below).
First thing to do is inspect the exterior of your house; be on the look out for:
- Rat burrows (holes in the ground 2-4 inches wide),
- oily smudge mark on walls, and
- hearing them scurry in your walls or attics.
There are three sources that rats need to live in your neighborhood: food, water and shelter.
- Food: Household garbage (secure it), pet food (bring it indoors), bird seed, and your vegetable garden and shrubs with fruit or berries (remove what’s close to the ground.
- Water: Remove standing water including bird baths, pet water bowls. Repair leaks from hoses, faucets and gutters.
- Shelter: Get rid of clutter and rubbish, cut overgrown grass, remove building material.
The pamphlet also advised that trying to poison rats is extremely harmful to wildlife that are the rodents’ predators such as hawks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes.
Or just get a cat.