Mice And Rats Invade Ossining Homes After Sandy

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Pest control agencies said calls for rodents have increased more than 10 percent in Ossining and Briarcliff Manor since Hurricane Sandy.
Pest control agencies said calls for rodents have increased more than 10 percent in Ossining and Briarcliff Manor since Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Courtesy flickr User Dunleavy Family

OSSINING, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and power outages throughout Ossining and Briarcliff Manor, but local pest control agencies said it could also be causing pests like mice and rats to invade homes near the Hudson River.

Pest control agencies in Westchester and the Hudson Valley said calls have increased 10 to 20 percent in the last three months compared to previous years and that Hurricane Sandy could be the cause. Many rats and wild mice live near abundant food sources like lakes and rivers, according to Critter Control of the Hudson Valley. While it is difficult to track their patterns, it is likely that many rats and mice fled the Hudson River when it flooded during Hurricane Sandy, said Errol Fisher, president of Elmsford-based Citadel Pest Control.

“We typically get calls for mice and rats at this time of year because they are fleeing into homes to get warm but overall we’ve seen more than a 10 percent increase this year, especially after Hurricane Sandy,” Fisher said, adding that his company has seen a higher increase in Ossining and Briarcliff Manor. “When they are displaced from their homes that are in close proximity of the water and it floods, they can move up into homes to try to survive.”

Mickey Wright, owner of Critter Control of the Hudson Valley, said it is possible that Hurricane Sandy also helped decrease the rat and mice population along the river. Wright noted that the company had seen a 10 to 20 percent increase in calls this year throughout Westchester County.

“We had a very warm winter last year so the populations of most animals, especially rodents, were way up this year before Hurricane Sandy,” Wright said. “Sandy had an impact for sure in bringing that down as it may have destroyed some dens. I don’t know that it would have permanently chased them out and into homes but it’s possible that’s been a reason for the increase in calls.”

Fisher and Wright recommended that residents take several precautions in preventing rodents from entering their homes. They agreed that the first step in prevention is sealing up all holes that could lead into homes or garages.

“It’s very important that this is done well because a mouse can fit into a hole the size of a dime and mice and rats can both chew softer materials to make bigger holes,” Fisher said. “The most effective and humane method of preventing rodents is sealing up all cracks and holes so they can’t get inside.”

While rat traps, glue pads and other rodent prevention merchandise is easily available, both agreed that the methods are often ineffective.

“Placing traps is not that easy to do right and can be dangerous for little children and pets,” Wright said. “We get a lot of calls for live trapping and that’s fine if the mice haven’t made dens in your home but if they have, it’s very likely they’ll return in the next two days. Overall, trying to trap rodents yourself can be harmful and bottom line it’s not effective.”

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Sanitation is always the first line of defense whenever dealing with pest problems.
Keep all garbage in rodent proof containers (metal is best) with a tight fitting lid.
Remove all clutter around your home, such as wood piles, tall unkempt garden, or whatever applies to your specific case. The same would apply to inside your home, take out the garbage, do not leave it inside overnight, and Do not leave unwashed dishes in the sink. Keep pet foods in an inaccessible cabinet to rodents also do not leave you pet’s food dish down on the floor all day and night. Cats are not that big of a deterrent to rodents when hunger is involved.
Peppermint oils garlic oils, white pepper are natural deterrents, but keep in mind you will smell it as well. There are professional made natural products you can use if this is the way you wish to go.
Seal holes wherever possible, around pipes entering your home, inside do the same. Check for holes around radiators, hot and cold water pipes, drain pipes, water mains, electric, and gas. Check around the spaces between the wall and baseboards. In kitchens it may be necessary to seal behind a dishwasher, build in wall oven, washers and dryers. If it is a Norway rat you are dealing with, check to see if you have an open sewer drain, often your sewer drain serviceman will fail to replace the cap. Check to see if there are any holes or cracks in the sewer pipes (old piping this is often a problem). For roof rats you might need to hire a professional roofer to check for openings around the roof. It helps to be handy and have knowledge of the pests you are trying to exclude. Exclusion itself may not be enough as rodents may and will bore openings into the structure if they really want to get in. Sealing holes (or rodent proofing as the term is used today) is a good idea as preventative measure. If the rodent has already entered, than you will need to use your own preferred method of rodenticide or trapping (I recommend hiring a professional). Rodenticides should always be placed in tamer resistant secured baiting stations and placed in appropriate locations (read all labeling of the product you are using and follow it to the letter, the label is the law). If you use traps, there are stations made that can accommodate the larger rat snap traps.
This is the short list, I hope it helps.
I am a pest control professional for over 35 years in the city of New York.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge60y9Z4LaY Mie Proofing Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aDdrlT7huM Rat control

I am a big proponent of "alternative" pest control methods like spraying peppermint around the perimeter of the home...the smell actually repels rodents and could give your efforts of keeping rodents outside your home an extra boost. Moth balls also have the same effect. Either way, do whatever you can to prevent them from entering...they are a pain! http://www.pestexterminator.com has alot of tips for getting rid of rodents naturally, too.