Rats invading Valley neighborhoods | 12news.com

Anything from high rises in downtown Phoenix or housing developments further out in the desert could have an impact.

PHOENIX — Development can lead to some growing pains, like construction causing noise or traffic. But there’s something else that could be causing a neighborhood nuisance.

“I actually really like rodents,” said Carolyn Lavender. “I understand completely that people have really strong gut reactions to them.”

Lavender’s lush lawn near 24th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix usually draws in some of the rodents.  

“My cats think it’s absolutely fantastic, of course,” she added.

But construction could be another reason some in residential homes in the Valley could be seeing more or different rats this season.

“Buildings that sit around, get torn down, those rodents go somewhere,” said Johnathan Woodard.

Woodard and his business partner, Pablo Mendoza, run Custom Pest Services in South Phoenix.

Anything from high rises in downtown Phoenix or housing developments further out in the desert could have an impact.

“You’re going to stir up the activity and they’re going to go to someplace that’s quiet, a little more settled, which is usually a residential home,” Woodard explained.

He said that winter is the time of year they usually get the most calls about rats.

The critters are nocturnal and can rapidly produce, meaning an infestation can happen quickly.

“A lot of people see them on their brick walls at night,” he said. “They run along the brick wall. They can grip this very easily, climb on top, jump into your trash can.”

The best way to repel rodents from your home is to make sure fruit, food scraps, animal waste, and trash are all picked up. Woodard reminded people to clean up their grills, too, as grease and food can fall when you’re cooking.

“A lot of people in the East Valley, Scottsdale, Gilbert might have more tendency to get rodents because of the fallen fruit because it’s not picked up,” he explained.  

He also added that it’s important to seal off any holes outside.

Lavender said she employs a lot of these practices at home to keep the rats out of her house.

“It’s creepy for some of the neighbors to see them on the lines but I just consider them a part of Phoenix now,” she shared.  

If you need something more heavy-duty to deal with an infestation, Woodard recommended calling in reinforcements.

“If you’re not trained, you could risk infecting another animal, or worse a kid,” he said.  “Don’t try to do it yourself. Contact a professional.”

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