Q: Why am I seeing an increase in the number of rats in my neighborhood?
A: There has been a consistent increase in the number of rats seen at this time of year. There are a couple of reasons:
Weather. The weather is changing and rats are seeking warmer habitats.
Construction. The increase in construction displaces rats and mice from their natural habitat.
Agriculture. You may have seen the many fields with tall grass that we have in the area. This is the time of year when the property owners cut the grass and disc or plow the land. This displaces large numbers of rats and mice.
Q: What is the city doing to get rid of the rats?
A: The City is limited in what we can do. There are several reasons for this:
Expertise. The State of Texas requires anyone (other than private homeowners on their own property) to have an Exterminators license. The City does not have staff with that license.
Private Property. The City cannot enter private property to exterminate. We would have to have permission from each property owner. Placing baits or traps on right of way would only cause the rodents to move to private property.
Risks: Setting traps or placing poisons could pose a risk for pets or children.
Q: Does that mean the City isn't going to do anything?
A: No. It is the City's job to provide information to residents on ways to address the problem. City staff does this with press releases, Web entries, and communications with homeowner associations. We are working on means to address the rodents that come from the agricultural fields. We are open to other suggestions and are working on ideas to help with the problem.
Q: What does the city do on its own property?
A: The Parks and Recreation Department contracts with an exterminator for rodent control in parks. The City does not have anyone certified by the state to handle those types of issues.
Q: How do residents address the problem?
A: The best method is to work with your neighbors and HOA in a concerted effort.
The main three species of rodent currently in Frisco are:
Norway Rat – The largest and most robust rodent with brownish/grayish fur and a furless tail shorter than its body. They produce four-to-six litters per year and average about eight young per litter. The Norway rat lives one-to-two years and reaches productive maturity at three months. Norway rats typically burrow under building foundations, beneath rubbish or wood piles and around gardens or fields. Generally, they remain in the basement or ground floor when invading a residence. Norway rats are also powerful swimmers and may enter a residence through the sewer or broken pipes.
Roof Rat – Sleek and agile the Roof rat has brownish/grayish fur and a furless tail longer than its body. They produce at least three litters per year and average about six young per litter. The Roof rat lives about one-to-two years and reaches productive maturity at three months. Roof rats are adept at climbing and will nest above ground in shrubs, trees, dense vegetation such as ivy, elevated spaces in walls, attics, false ceilings and cabinets.
House Mouse – The smallest of the three rodent species listed with brownish/grayish fur, small black eyes, large ears and a long furless tail. They produce 13 litters per year and average about 6 young per litter. The House mouse will live about one year and reaches productive maturity at 6 to 10 weeks. Due to the small size of the House mouse, they are able to enter buildings much more easily than rats and are also able to survive in smaller areas with less food and shelter available to them.
Signs of rodent infestation:
*Droppings along walls or in cabinets and drawers.
*Gnaw marks where the rodents have entered the residence or have found access to food.
*Greasy smudge marks where rodents have entered the residence or rubbed along beams, pipes, rafters or walls.
*Remnants of nests when moving old boxes, yard debris or junk.
*Burrows dug in the landscaping or under the foundation.
*Sounds such as gnawing, clawing, climbing in walls and squeaks.
Rodent Prevention and Population Control
Rodent proof your home:
*Seal all holes, cracks and entryways around pipes, cables and wires with course steel wool or wire screen that the rodents cannot chew through. Holes as small as ¼ inch will allow entry into a building. Concrete may be used to prevent rodents from burrowing under the foundation.
*Ensure all doors, windows and screens fit tightly. Repair or replace any damaged screens. Garage doors may be sealed using weather stripping.
*Cover the gnawed edges of entryways with sheet metal to prevent further chewing.
*Keep inside doors to the garage and pet doors closed at night.
*Use self closing exits on clothes dryer vents to the outside.
*Do not forget to check roof and eaves areas and to repair or replace vent screens.
Sanitation and Prevention
*Remove trash and yard debris frequently to eliminate possible nesting areas.
*Keep grass and landscaping trimmed and away from the house.
*Do not leave pet food out. Feed only the amount your pet will finish.
*Remove dog waste daily.
*Repair water leaks or drips. Remove accidental sources of water.
*Use trash containers with secure lids.
*Keep pet food sealed and stored in rodent proof containers.
*Store boxes, firewood and equipment off the ground at least 18 inches and away from walls.
Best when a neighborhood and HOA make a unified effort at population control.
*The old fashioned snap trap is still one of the most effective means of rodent elimination.
*Must place traps where the rodents are living and traveling. This depends on the species
*Secure the trap in place
*Trapping is labor intensive
*Requires removal of the deceased rodent
*Use quality bait and keep it fresh
*Can modify the trap to be more effective by adding a larger trip plate area.
*Glue traps are not recommended due to the possibility of trapping other animals by mistake
Bait Stations with Rodenticides
*Should be only used outdoors and after rodent proofing the building to prevent a rodent from dying inside.
*Use high quality bait and keep it fresh.
*Protect bait from moisture and dust.
*Provide a secure place for rodents to feed allowing them to feel secure.
*Keeps children and other animals away from the bait.
Allows easy inspection of the bait to verify it is being eaten.
*Prevents accidental spilling.
*Allows placement of bait in locations where it would be otherwise difficult due to weather or potential hazards to non target species.
*May be purchased commercially or built at home.
*Also required to be secured in place.
*Best placed between the rodent’s shelter and source of food.
Removal and Clean Up
*Place deceased rodents in a sealed plastic bag and place in the trash.
*For cleaning areas of urine or droppings:
*Wear rubber, latex or vinyl gloves.
*Soak the area with a disinfectant or bleach/water solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
Do not sweep or vacuum the area.
*Use paper towels to remove the waste.
*Clean and disinfect the area again.
*Wash any clothing or bedding that was exposed.
*Clean any furniture and carpeting.
*Remove the gloves and wash hands with soap and water.
*Use a professional service to clean heating and cooling ventilation systems.
Info updated fall 2008