2014-03-21 / Front Page

Mice, Rats Like The Great Indoors

By Katie McFadden

With an unusually long and cold winter, staying indoors with the heat on has become the norm. However, people aren’t the only ones who have been seeking some warmth. Rodents have been moving indoors too. And though the problem is widespread no one wanted their name attached to a story about troublesome critters.

For some residents, this winter was the first time they have ever noticed a rodent problem. “I have lived in Dayton Towers for 15 years and have never seen a mouse in my apartment until this winter,” a first- floor resident of 102- 00 said. “I’ve caught at least eight already and my neighbor I believe 13,” the resident said, adding that her neighbor lives on the 4th floor of the building. Her problem started in late November and she has already hired an exterminator, but says the problem is ongoing.

A woman who lives next to the abandoned Neponsit Health Care Center says that rats were responsible for tearing apart her new car and she blames the surroundings as the source of her rodent problem. “That Neponsit property is infested with rats. These rodents have chewed the rubber molding around my garage door in order to get into my garage, which they have accomplished. Not only did they get into the garage, they have gotten into my car, chewed a seat and all the wiring in the car. My car is a 2013 Honda, which I purchased in October,” the resident said, adding that her rat problem started in December.

“This ordeal is costing me quite a bit of money. I also had to replace the garage door molding, purchase traps for the garage, and pay the $500 deductible on my car insurance,” she added.

Further, she says she had seen large mouse traps on the Neponsit Health Care Center property in prior years, but the traps have since disappeared. She also believes that a regular mess left at the bus stop in front of the property has also contributed to the upsurge in rodent visitors.

She says that bus riders often leave their garbage at the bus stop and since there is no garbage can it blows onto her property. “I have gone to the bus stop and picked up the trash even though I am not on Sanitation’s payroll,” she said. The woman enlisted the help of local politicians to try to get the Department of Sanitation to place a garbage can in the area and was told that there would only be one there from Memorial Day to Labor Day, meaning unsanitary conditions that invite rodents may continue until summer.

The Dayton Towers resident also believes that surrounding conditions have contributed to her rodent problem. “I don’t understand where they are coming from. The only thing I can think of is all the scaffolding that was up around our building prevented the areas from being cleaned so it attracted the mice and when it got cold they came indoors,” she said.

Unclean areas and cold temperacontinued tures are just some of the contributing factors to an increasing rodent problem according to Alan Camhi, owner of Condor Pest Control. For exterminators, business has been better than usual when it comes to rodent exterminations. “It has been a terrible winter with extreme cold and major snow storms. We got an increase in rodent calls because of the weather,” Camhi said, noting that most of the problems involve field mice that are looking for warm places that may also provide food.

He also says that the snow had created problems because garbage pickup wasn’t operating as normal this winter. “When Sanitation doesn’t pick up on time, and garbage is left from one week to another, you’ll get mice going through garbage pails,” he said. Residents may have brought the garbage back to the baseline of their homes when it wasn’t picked up, bringing possible varmint closer to houses, Camhi added.

Camhi says the weather may not be the only factor for the rodent problem as they can be around all year. “It’s worse this year than any other year, but there’s no set season for rodents,” he said. He says that post-Sandy work may have something to do with the particular increase now. “We’ve had an influx of calls because a lot of homes damaged by Sandy are still being repaired. That is a problem because we have to put traps with poison down because not everything has been done to seal houses,”

Camhi said.

Camhi says all of the road work going on around the community can cause rodents to relocate as well. “Repairing the roads and using heavy equipment to do so has moved them around,” he said. “It’s an ongoing thing and it’s causing rodents to come to the surface and relocate into homes and businesses nearby.”

Camhi also says work on the beach and the boardwalk is another problem that may cause rodents to move around. “When progress starts with the boardwalk, that is going to cause a problem as well.”

Camhi says there are many ways to keep rodents out of the home and it starts by blocking off the outside. “You need to take care of all of the outside openings that might be around the house. If it’s a house with a basement, it could be a sewer, open window, open drain or any other opening that they can come through.”

“People are touchy about killing mice, but there’s nothing you can do about that unless you want it as a pet,” Camhi said. “We’re there to do a job, make a difference and show that we’ve made a difference to take care of the problems. Humane traps don’t get us anywhere because we have to let them out somewhere and the mice become someone else’s problem. The only good rodent is a dead rodent.”

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