While some have seen their businesses close, or revenue halt during the coronavirus pandemic, at least one industry is on the rise.
Clifford Daniels, co-owner of pest control business A Better Bugman , says work is up around 35% during the pandemic and one reason for that is the rat population.
“Last week, we had four or five new customers call me specifically for rats,” Daniels said.
Because restaurants are closing or limiting service, rodents are looking elsewhere for food and shelter.
“They’re moving away from where they normally feed now they’re coming to the residential side,” Daniels explained. “Now they’re starting to get in people’s houses and patios in screen closures.”
Eric Tibbs, who has lived in his Estero home for five years, has never seen rats until now.
In the last three, weeks we’ve had a rat or multiple rats coming to our garage and try to enter the house,” Tibbs said.
Tibbs said he and his wife were in the house when they heard a scratching noise coming from the garage.
“I opened the door, flipped on the lights and saw the tail end of a rat scurry along the wall,” Tibbs said.
Fort Myers resident Seth Griggs is also seeing the changes in patterns of pests.
“We had noticed there are more rats. They’ve been digging holes under the shed that I have in the back, and they also cut holes through the lanai screen and go back-and-forth, so they’re just very destructive,” Griggs said.
And while they’ve had issues with the rodents in the past, Griggs says he’s seeing a surge and it may cost him hundreds.
“You’re talking about replacing screens, are talking about possibly having to pour concrete to prevent them from doing any more damage and then also having pest control come out,” Griggs said.
To try and prevent the issues, Daniels suggests cleaning your grill thoroughly and storing it in the garage. He also says that rats are after anything they can eat, like birdseed and pet food. To prevent access, consider storing those items in metal containers.
Trimming landscape can also cut back on access to your home.
Lastly, Daniels recommends “closing up the area around the air conditioner where the line runs out of the house. They like to use that as a little interstate so some steel wool just cram it up there nice and tight that’ll stop them from being able to go up and down.”