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The Villages
Saturday, January 28, 2023

Rats in Village of Santiago targeted with more bait, traps

Is the rat problem on Carolina Court in the Village of Santiago under control?

Homeowner Sally Childs hopes a Thursday morning visit from Jeff Fox of Massey Services has trapped these critters once and for all.

“My fingers are crossed,” Childs said.”They placed out new bait and traps. They have given me some tips and are watching the situation.”

Since the initial report by Villages-News.com, the rats in Santiago have been the subject of news reports by Orlando media. TV trucks are suddenly regular visitors to the neighborhood.

A rat was killed at a home in the Village of Santiago.
A rat was killed at a home in the Village of Santiago.

Senior Director of Quality Assurance for Massey, Tom Jarzynka, said they were at Childs’ home most of the morning, analyzing and trying to isolate the infestation problem.

“We have spoken with the other residents on Carolina Court and out of the nine homeowners we spoke to, there were only two that experienced activity of this nature,” he said.

Massey placed bait boxes throughout the neighborhood and the pest control company plans to monitor the situation carefully.

While Jarzynka cannot pinpoint where the rats are coming from, he said many possible circumstances are influencing the situation.

“There is nature all around us and when that is disturbed, the animals that called that area home need to relocate,” he said. “Transporting natural materials can be a problem as well. They are basically hitching a ride.”

It’s hard to label an area “rodent prone” because so many external factors come into play.

Jarzynka said simple changes in your environment can eliminate rats and mice.

• Take away all food and water sources. Do not put cat food or dog food outside, even inside screened in lanai’s. The smell will attract rats and they will gnaw through screens to get to the food source.

• Make sure outside screening is heavy gauge and hole free. The heavier the screen material, the harder it is for rats to chew.

• Eliminate outside bird feeders. Rats love grains and bird seed is a perfect food source.

“Red cardinals are pretty to watch at a feeder.” Jarzynka said “but, it isn’t worth the trade off to have rats in your home.”

• Seal up outside “safe harbors” such as cabinets, hot tubs, wooden boxes and hollow areas where rats can crawl in and nest. Sealing cracks with a heavy duty outdoor caulk will prevent them from crawling into hiding spots. Rats can squeeze through openings only a half inch wide.

• Be diligent! Check your home and outdoor areas daily. If you suspect rats are nesting somewhere, call in a professional to deal with them before they cause further damage.

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