Target 8 found them in homes, stores, etc.
Target 8 found them in homes, stores, etc.
Kenny Ray of Rose Pest Solutions in Niles has been working in extermination for 20 years. He had his first “bedbug job” five years ago. Last month, he had 40 cases; Tuesday, he serviced 11 apartment units.
Pest-control firms report increase in calls as rodents eat anything, go everywhere.
Tell us your rat stories and join a web chat 11 a.m. today to find out more about rats, the apparent upswing in the metro Detroit population and how to avoid being a target.
Joining us will be Mary Grace Stobierski, manager of the Michigan Department of Community Health's Zoonotics and Special Projects Section, and Gene White, director of education and training for Rose Pest Solutions.
10:49 Robin Erb:
Good morning. We'll get started about 11 a.m. with our panelist. They will discuss health concerns and rodents and what you can do to detect and get rid of rats around your home.
10:49 [Comment From Dr. Stobierski]
Hello, It's nice to be here this morning.10:51 Robin Erb:
Good morning Dr. Stobierski. Thank you for joining us this morning. We'll be taking comments and questions in about 10 minutes.
10:57 Dr. Stobierski:
11:00 [Comment From Gene White]
Good Morning!11:01 Robin Erb:
We're joined now by Mr. White and we have some questions already coming in.11:01 Robin Erb:
So let's get started.11:01 [Comment From Scott]
the brick rat repellant posion you get at the hardware store? how effective do these really work? also what is the best case to use them11:01 Robin Erb:
Good morning Scott. Mr. White, can you take this question?11:02 [Comment From Carl]
Is leptospirosis present in a rats or are only some of them infected?11:02 Robin Erb:
Hi Carl. Dr. Stobierski, can you help?
11:03 Gene White:
Yes, Hi Scott. Repellants and poisons are very different things. Repellants are not very effective at all against rats. Toxicants can be very effective if used properly11:03 Dr. Stobierski:
Leptospirosis is not present in all rats.11:03 [Comment From Jud]
I have a rat infestation in my yard. Is this a problem I can address myself, or does it always require professional help.11:04 Robin Erb:
On the leptospirosis issue, Dr. Stobierski -- how rare is that issue in rats?11:04 Robin Erb:
And can you explain exactly what lepto is and what it means for humans?11:04 Gene White:
Jud, It really depends on the nature of the infestation and how wide spread it may be.11:04 [Comment From Kelly]
Is it really necessary to get dogs vaccinated for the leptospirosis?11:05 [Comment From Scott]
What's the best way to catch a rat? Besides the obvious.11:05 Dr. Stobierski:
Based on the fact that this disease is rarely reported in people living in Michigan, our best conclusion is that it is relatively infrequent.11:06 Dr. Stobierski:
Kelly, With regard to getting your dog vaccinated against leptospirosis, I'd advise you to speak directly with your dog's veterinarian, to determine if your pet is at high risk.11:06 Gene White:
Scott, Trapping is the quickest and most effective way to eliminate a rat infestation. However, trap shyness can exist and make control difficult. Therefore, at times it requires some novel approaches to control if you want to avoid toxicants.11:07
Have you seen rats in or around your home or workplace? Yes( 68% ) No( 32% )
Have seen indications, but not sure. ( 0% )
11:07 [Comment From Bob]
Hi, we are seeing increased rat movement in our nieghborhood, due to abandon/unhabited properties. What is the best way to control this when the city wont help11:09 Gene White:
Bob, is it the city won't help, or doesn't know about the condition because no one has reported it? Again, keeping your surronding free of the attractions rats like is a good start.11:10 [Comment From Dick Nutwell]
What's the biggest cause of rat infestation?11:10 [Comment From Kovacs]
How do you recommend disposal of rats? Are they safe to clean and cook, or do rats often carry disease?11:11 Gene White:
Dick, the answer is resources; harborage, food and water.11:11 Robin Erb:
Dr. Stobierski -- Could you actually eat a rat if it's prepared? Would cooking kill any of the disease- microorganisms?
11:12 Dr. Stobierski:
For the questions on cooking and eating rats, I' must defer to colleagues at the MI Dept Agriculture for cooking techniques, if they exist.11:12 Gene White:
I certainly would choose to eat a rat myself, but if the need arose I wouls make sure you follow all the cooking guidlines we do for other animals we eat.11:12 [Comment From Regina]
How often to rats spawn?11:13 Gene White:
That's wouldn't!!!11:13 Robin Erb:
Gene, that's a good question. We've heard they reproduce frequently.. is that right?11:14 [Comment From Andrew Plane]
I can hear the rats in my walls at night. Is there a way to poison them in the wall? can i inject something?11:14 Robin Erb:
Dr. Stobierski, can you talk about any health risks in using rat poison in your home? Or are they clear of risks for humans, including children?11:14 Gene White:
Yes, the gestation period for rats is relatively short. When you provide ample resources, that gestation period stays relatively short and increased reproduction is the result.
11:15 [Comment From IsleofDetroit]
How far does a rat wander from it's den?
11:15 Gene White:
Andrew, are you sure this is rat activity? Although rats will inhabit structural voids, they prefer to nest in soil. This soulds like a different rodent... maybe mice...11:16 [Comment From Linda Meiser]
Are there any state legislature laws on the books that force the city to protect us of these rodents?11:16 [Comment From Beau McGraff]
I see rat droppings occasionally around my dog's food bowl. It's not always there, but every once in a while. I've seen one rat before, but how do I know that I have an infestation.11:17 Gene White:
Rat home range can be a pretty good distance from its home base. 300 ft is not uncommon. However, most rats stay as close to their resources as possible...11:18 Gene White:
Linda, no laws (other than food related laws) to protect the citizens from vermin.11:18 Robin Erb:
Dr. Stobierski, other than the lepto issues, what are the other public health risks associated with rodents. We don't want to overstate the issues -- human infection from rodents is rare. But what are some things we should know?11:19 [Comment From Melissa]
I have two dogs so I dont want to use anything toxic... what would be the best way to to get rid of rats if you have pets?11:19 Gene White:
Beau, make sure you are not leaving down any unused food from your pets. If you have droppings, somewhere close there are rats...11:19 Robin Erb:
Gene, what can you tell us about poisons that are safe around pets?
Are there any? Or is there a trick to keeping pets away from them?11:20 Dr. Stobierski:
Besides lepto, rats may carry viruses such as hantavirus (not yet reported in Michigan) or LCMV (reported once in Michigan. Hantavirus has occurred in the southwest part of the United States.11:20 Gene White:
Melissa, Trapping, but in a protected situation so you do not "catch" your pets which can cost you a great deal of heartache and vet bills...11:21 Robin Erb:
Dr. Stobierski, Are those serious diseases? What can you tell us about them?11:21 [Comment From Kelly]
What kind of precautions can we take at our house to try to keep the rats away?11:21 Robin Erb:
This is more prevention. What can you tell us Gene?11:21 Dr. Stobierski:
Rats can rarely carry certain bacteria in their mouths too. The bacteria can be transmitted to people through bites. It is diagnosed as "rat bite fever". This is uncommon in Michigan.11:22 Robin Erb:
I thought rats were shy around humans. They bite?
11:22 [Comment From Sarah]
Do you recommend removing bird baths and feeders? How about fruit trees?11:23 Dr. Stobierski:
Hantavirus is indeed a very serious disease, it can causes total respiratory failure or can be fatal. LCMV (lymphocytic choriomenigitis virus) can cause a meningitis or brain inflammation in people, so it is serious too.11:24 Gene White:
Robin, In general, rodenticides are weight related and formulated to be specific to rodent size. This says nothing about the general health of a pet or its size. We refrain as much as possible in using toxicants around pets and when we do, the baits are in a protected station a dog or cat cannot get to.11:25 Dr. Stobierski:
Rats can bite if they are caught and handled by people, but I agree that they generally would run away from people.11:25 [Comment From Sharon Caudill]
I was gonna say, that rats dont live in walls.11:25 [Comment From Carrie]
I have rats underneath my porch. We have poisoned them, but they are still there. Any ideas on getting rid of them permanently?11:25 [Comment From mike]
@Andrew Plane i heard scratching in my walls at night as well and in the morning. i finally isolated that squirells were coming in around sunset and leaving at the break of dawn. i found and secured where they were getting in and the sounds went away. just a thought!11:26 Gene White:
Kelly and Sarah, Both of you make excellent points about removing resources. Keep food attractants cleaned up on a daily basis. Do not allow standing water, fruit falling from trees should be cleaned up daily.11:26 [Comment From IsleofDetroit]
Are we dealing with just the Norway Rat or are we seeing roof rats also?11:26 Gene White:
Sharon, they will live in walls, but it's a last resort unless there is some special attraction.11:27 [Comment From Dick Nutwell]
How can I distinguish the difference between mice and rats?11:27 Robin Erb:
Speaking of rats vs. mice... Dr. Stobierski, is there a difference in what diseases the two carry?11:28 Gene White:
Norway rats are the common rat here in the midwest. However, Roof rats can occur...11:29 [Comment From Margaret]
What are some tips on keeping rats out of your garden?11:29 Robin Erb:
Good question. There's a push to raise our own food -- for both health and economic reasons. So how do you keep rats from your veggies?11:29 Gene White:
Carrie, It sounds like you have an extended population and new animals have moved into the porch area, or you didn't get rid of them all in the first place.11:30 Dr. Stobierski:
Good question. The diseases that I mentioned above can be carried by rodents in general, and not just rats. We often make our health advise based on all rodents, not simply one species.11:31 Gene White:
Mice rarely get bigger that 1.5 ounces. Rats can be around one pound or so. Size is obvious, but not with young specimens at times...11:32 Robin Erb:
So are the microorganisms that cause the disease air-borne? For folks who didn't see this earlier -- specifically how are they passed to humans?
11:32 Gene White:
Keeping rats (and mice) out of a garden is tough, especially with an active population around the garden. Only reducing the populations will help. Fencing generally doesn't work well...11:33 Robin Erb:
Is there a special fencing Gene?
11:34 Dr. Stobierski:
The diseases that can be spread from rodents to people can be via urine, dried up feces (breathed in) or from a bite.11:34 Gene White:
Robin, No, not really. Rats like to dig under fencing and will also climb as well... They are really quite remarkable in their abilities to circumvent any constraints you place on them...11:35 Robin Erb:
Urine or feces? Could a barefoot child catch be at risk? Would that be a way disease is spread from rat waste? or does it have to be ingested?
11:35 [Comment From Mary]
Have we always had issues with rats or is it because so many people have lost their homes and have left them empty? I don't ever recall a discussion like this.11:35 Robin Erb:
You know, it has been interesting talking to pest control folks the past week. It seems like no one has an absolute answer. But the vacant buildings came up again and again in discussions.
For those who didn't see the story today – to either of our panelists -- what are some other reasons rat calls might be on an upswing?11:36 [Comment From Mike]
We've had rat problems before in our neighborhood due to several factors; open trash containers, thick growths of vines (especially on power lines) and dog droppings. Are these good rat attractants as well? We've had the city drop off several rat traps that have been placed in our back yard.11:37 [Comment From Mary]
I have a issue with Rabbits leaving their droppings everywhere. Do they also carry disease?11:38 Gene White:
I'm not really sure that vacant homes is the only reason. It certainly provides rats with an undisturbed area to vacate, but remember that other resources must also be met... food and water. It is most likely a coombination of things that is causing this up-tick in the rat population increase.
11:39 Gene White:
Mike, You're right on the money! These are all contributing factors to increased rodent activity...11:40 Dr. Stobierski:
Rabbits are known tobe carriers of yet another rare disease, tularemia. Tularemia is a bacterial disease that can also be transmitted by certain ticks. In Michigan, again, it is not reported every year.
11:41 Robin Erb:
So it sounds like animal-human transfer of disease really varies by what animal we're talking about. Is that right?11:42 Robin Erb:
(Again, I want to underscore what Dr. Stobierski says -- that these diseases are reported rarely.)
11:43 [Comment From Melodie Davis]
You can eat rats. You need to clean them real good, but if you follow a good recipe they taste pretty good.11:43 Dr. Stobierski:
Yes Robin, you're correct. Transmission of all the diseases that we've mentioned today is exceedingly rare in people living in Michigan.
11:45 Gene White:
Melodie: I've eaten many species of insects, but not a Norway rat. Although their near cousins, the squirrels are very edible and are prised by many hunters as a source of protein.11:45 [Comment From Scott]
I am thinking of raising rats as a new hobby/business. Is there any precautions I should take before getting started. Any advice would be helpful11:45 Robin Erb:
Gene, that's an interesting question. If you're thinking about raising rats, say, for pets -- what are the things you' should consider first?
11:47 [Comment From Mike]
Thank you Gene. That's what we thought too.11:47 [Comment From Mary]
Thank you Dr. Stobierski.11:47 [Comment From Mary]
Hawks could be the answer in catching these rats along with taking care of your property!
11:48 Gene White:
Scott: All of the same precautions are still in play. First, if you're goinig to raise animals, you should research to find what vaccinations your starting populations need to have. There's a lot more to this than meets the eye...11:48 [Comment From beau mcgraff]
What does an average rat infestation inspection and cleanup typically cost? With the increase, do you see companies trying to "get rich quick" and overcharging?11:48 Dr. Stobierski:
Scoot, Those businesses that raise rodents are goverend by rules from the United States Department of Agriculture, that are designed to protect and promote animal welfare. You would need to start by checking in with their offices in Michigan.11:49 Gene White:
Mary: As much as I love your idea, Hawks cannot keep up with the reproduction rates of rats... The rats and mice will win every time...11:50 Robin Erb:
Dr. Stobierski, it sounds like Michigan Department of Public Health and the Michigan Department of Agriculture both have some insight into rodents and rats. Can you tell readers a bit more about when they should call authorities on rodent issues and what those different state departments do?
11:51 Gene White:
Beau: this is a hard question to answer. It really depends on what the job requires. We look at each situation independently and try to keep the cost down, but fair to all parties. Without looking at a situation, it's almost impossible to give you a ballpark figure.11:52 [Comment From Kovacs]
Is there a poison you can set out that the rat will take with it and back to its colony to poison the rest of the clan?11:54 Gene White:
Kovacs: No, is the answer to your question. Rodenticide baits do not work like ant bait for example. We do know that mice will "hoard" or "cache" foods which may ultimately poison nest mates, but you can't rely on this method.11:55 Robin Erb:
Gene, how do consumers make sure that they're getting a reputable pest control expert? Is there some certification process?
11:55 Dr. Stobierski:
Many of today's questions dealt with rats/rodents as pests and often, pest control companies are best able to handle those issues. People may want to contact their local health departments too, as they have staff who are able to answer many of these health-related questions. Michigan has local health departments that are responsible for folks in every county of the state. The state agencies can be a resource working in collaboration with local agencies.
11:57 [Comment From Guest]
I killed a rat in my garbage can on Friday night. What reccomendations would you make to get rid of these things and keep them away (and out of) from my home?
11:57 Robin Erb:
Interesting question here about the dead rat -- If you've killed a rodent, what is the best disposal method? Especially from a health standpoint, I'm wondering the safest way to handle this... Dr. Stobierski?11:57 [Comment From Mary]
I didn't know this Gene, I see Hawks circling daily. Are you saying there aren't enough Hawks to catch the rats OR do rats multiply to fast?11:57 Gene White:
Robin: Yes, make sure the company is licenced by the state to apply pesticides commercially. Second, state certification is required for this type of business for all workers. Third, you can also see if the company belongs to the MI Pest Management Association and National Pest Management Association. This at least tells you the co. should be up to date in technology and training...11:58 Robin Erb:
Who in the state licenses pest control?
11:59 Gene White:
Guest: Keep the can lids tight, that's a start. Eliminate all resources that will attract rodents...11:59 Gene White:
Mary: Both! Good observations!11:59 Dr. Stobierski:
Well Robin, without touching the rat (use gloves or with a shovel) place the dead rat/rodent into a double-bag plastic bag. Tie it up and dispose of in the usual trash.12:01 Gene White:
Robin: Licensing is managed by the MI Department of Agriculture. You can go on line and look at the certification programs through their website... www.MDA.gov
12:01 Robin Erb:
Thanks for joining us this morning everyone -- and a special thanks to our panelists for their insight.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to all our questions because of all the interest.
We'll be following this story as it develops in the Detroit Free Press and at www.freep.com. And feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 313 222 2708.
Have a great rest of your Monday!
12:02 Gene White:
Thank you everyone!
12:02 Dr. Stobierski:
Thank you, it was my pleasure.
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