Rats becoming a problem in Prairie

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

It is a “rat race” in Prairie Township as residents have complained about rodents in the township.

“Since the late spring, we have seen a dramatic increase in complaints about rats in the township,” said Tracy Hatmaker, administrator for Prairie Township. “The complaints have been in the eastern and urban areas of the township.”

According to Hatmaker, as of this fall, the township has received 42 rat complaints in 2018. This is nearly triple the number of complaints received in 2017.

“On average we get a couple a year, but never anything like this,” Hatmaker said. “We are not sure what is going on, but we are working with Franklin County Public Health to get to the bottom of this.”

Hatmaker said one thing they have done in partnership with Franklin County Public Health is send out post cards warning people of the rat issue in the township and giving them tips on how to avoid getting an infestation of rodents. Among these suggestions is to not feed them, give them a place to live and contact pest control professionals right away if you see a rat.

Some of the things residents can do to avoid having rats on their property is to eliminate food sources for them, including making sure the trash is in sealed containers, not leaving out food for stray cats or other animals, cleaning up old food from vegetables gardens that wasn’t harvested, not leaving out bird seed for birds and picking up dog feces.

“Other things you can do to avoid having rats on your property include making sure there is no stale or standing water on your property, looking at your sheds and making sure they are not burrowing under them, not having wood or brush piles and keeping your grass and weeds tidy,” Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker added that rats can fit through half inch gaps so sealing all points of entry in your home and buildings also is helpful.

While most of the rats in the township have been outside, there is always a chance they could come inside, especially due to cold weather. For those who have an infestation of rats, some of the things you can do to get rid of them is to keep all traps and poisons away from areas where pets and children can access them, use gloves when disposing of dead rats and place them in a tightly sealed trash container and make sure you clean up the infested area to prevent more rodents from coming.

Prairie Township and Franklin County Public Health recommend hiring a professional to eliminate the rodents from your property, if possible.

“We also have created a call-in line to report rats,” Hatmaker said. “We would like everyone to report when they have a rat issue, so we can see what areas of the township are affected, if there is a pattern and other useful information to eliminate this issue.”

Hatmaker said the township does not have a time line of when they expect this issue to be resolved and said it will be an ongoing battle until they see complaints decrease.

“Once you have an infestation of rats, it takes a while to get rid of them,” Hatmaker said. “However, this is a priority for us and we are doing everything in our power to eliminate these pests.”

For more information on how to eliminate rats from your property, visit proprietorships.orc//Commercial-Building-Zoning-Department. To report a rat issue, call 614-525-4762.

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