Hurricane Sandy Could Lead to Increase Rat Populations

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The 8-million-strong human population of New York City is matched, if not exceeded, by the city's number of rodent dwellers. Fortunately, the two populations don't mingle all that often.

According to the Huffington Post, that could change as storm waters from Hurricane Sandy flood rats out of their underground residences, according to Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Milbrook, N.Y.

"Rats are incredibly good swimmers," said Ostfeld. "And they can climb." Sandy will not knock off the resilient rodents, but rather displace them. According to Ostfeld, this could result in increased risk of infectious diseases carried by urban rats, including leptospirosis, hantavirus, typhus, salmonella, and even the plague.

"One of things we know can exacerbate disease is massive dispersal," he added. "Rats are highly social individuals and live in a fairly stable social structure. If this storm disturbs that, rats could start infesting areas they never did before."

And it's not only the bite of a rat than can transmit disease. Rodent feces and urine can spread hantavirus, for example. Still, Ostfeld suggested that the huge volume of water Sandy is expected to bring should dilute the pathogens and lessen risks to public health.

Health experts have warned of floods flushing out the pests before. Out of the U.K. this summer, there were reports of "rats washed out of sewers" that began infesting homes.

"The rodents breed fast and by the time the flood water recedes, a single pair of rats can generate rodents through an entire neighborhood," the Winnipeg Free Press reported in April 2011, when rising flood waters in Manitoba brought fleeing rats close to the city.

"It's not just about the high winds and rain," said Ostfeld of Hurricane Sandy. "A rat disturbance is something we should be concerned about."

Although the Albany area lucked out with minimal damage, our friends in New York and New Jersey are still in shock over the devastation. Boardwalks are nonexistent, the power remains out, buildings are damaged, trees and plants are uprooted, food has expired, people are removed from their homes and the list continues. Although Hurricane Sandy has come and do hurricanes affect pest infestations:

Does hurricane damage increase or decrease the likelihood of pest infestations in and around the home? The recent hurricane in the Northeast has created prime conditions for pest infestation. Not only have pests been displaced from their previous hiding places and are looking for a new home, they love the moist conditions the hurricanes created.

What types of pests can those recovering from the recent hurricane damage expect to see around their homes? Homeowners are seeing all kinds of pests in and around their home as they begin the clean up process. Reports that pests like ants and rodents creating headaches for everyone in hurricane-damaged areas.

As pests and rodent flee their nests to seeking shelter, they may come in contact with you. Allow Thomas Pest Services to safely and effectively place these pests back where they belong to you and your family can have peace of mind.

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