US Cities More Vulnerable Than Ever To Rodent Infestation

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Rodent Infestation

Wacky weather, aging cities, and urban sprawl have rats on the move across the country. For the first time, the nation's foremost rodent experts Dale Kaukeinen and Dr. Bruce Colvin, have developed an assessment on the country's rodent problem. Kaukeinen and Colvin used the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics to reveal risk factors related to cities and their environments. The report, sponsored by d-CON(R), America's leading brand of rodenticide, identifies four key risk factors plaguing cities from New York to El Paso, Texas to Long Beach, California, and many more across the country, including:

-- Aging Infrastructure -- According to Kaukeinen and Colvin, antiquated city structures are contributing to increased rodent activity.Older cities are experiencing aging infrastructure such as sewer systems, streets, sidewalks, areas of older un-kept housing and subway systems.Looking at the 30 largest metropolitan areas of the U.S., four cities (New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit) are over 300 years old, and 11 cities are over 200 years old.

-- Resurgence of U.S. Cities as Residential Areas -- According to the US Census Bureau, metropolitan areas in the U.S. grew by nearly 10% during the 1990s, with the greatest growth in the South and West. Over the past few decades, cities across the country have experienced gentrification and development with a resurgence in living space, construction, and expanding shopping and cultural centers.This trend is proving to be an ideal environment for rodents due to the density of people and the abundance of food waste from residents, businesses and local eateries.

-- Unseasonably Warm and Wet Weather -- Cities with warm, wet conditions this past year have higher risk factors for increased deterioration of structures and support the growth of lush weeds and overgrown areas providing natural food and cover for rodents.Warmer weather also aids rodent survival and reproductive rates.According to reports by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest have risen four degrees and the amount of rain and snow has increased from 4% -- 20% over the past century.

-- Rodent Mitigation Funding -- Kaukeinen and Colvin note the cities across the country no longer receive federal subsidies for rodent programs as was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s.Twelve to $15 million dollars was awarded yearly during that era to over 100 communities specifically for rodent control programs that included surveys, education, improved sanitation and baiting. Kaukeinen and Colvin say that states and local municipalities have not picked up the gap in funding, opting to take a reactive approach by responding to complaints, rather than executing proactive citywide plans.

"It is important to assess risk factors, so that cities and consumers are aware of a potential problem, and are equipped with the tools and knowledge to control immediate issues and implement long-term solutions." said Dale Kaukeinen. "These risk factors have created a perfect environment for the survival of a robust rodent population. More than ever, people need to take measures to prevent rodent infestations from occurring in their businesses and homes."

Homeowners Beware

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Rodents can gnaw through metal, plastic and wood, damaging furniture and homes, and can destroy electrical wiring and insulation, causing fires and other problems. These issues are a reality for many homeowners as rodents can enter a home through a dime-sized crack in the foundation. In addition, rodents can bite people, especially small children, and are known carriers of a variety of diseases, including hantavirus, salmonella and leptospirosis. Rodents have also been linked to childhood allergies and asthma.

The fall season is when most rodent infestations occur, as rodents reach their annual abundance. As the weather cools in much of the country, rats and mice move inside in search of food and shelter.

Help Is On The Way

To prevent increased rodent infestations this fall, Kaukeinen and Colvin have teamed up with the d-CON(R) to launch the "Good Riddance to Rodents" campaign. Kaukeinen and Colvin will be traveling to cities across the country to educate community leaders on the threat rodents present, and to provide tips, training, and prevention techniques on how to combat the impending problem. For homeowners, Kaukeinen and Colvin offer five simple tips:

1. Keep all trash in sealed containers and remove junk piles

2. Don't leave food out on counters overnight and limit access to pet food and bird seed

3. Seal up any holes or cracks in foundations (rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime)

4. Cut brush and bushes back at least a foot from the home/building

5. Stock up on baits and traps, such as d-CON(R) brand, to manage infestations effectively

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