According to recent news releases, it looks like humans are losing the fight for downtowns across the globe – to rats! Having deserted the offices last spring – and returning sporadically and in very small numbers – we left our real-estate empty, a great target for rodents on the move.
However, there’s a further backstory to rats moving into cubicles and enjoying corner-office views. In larger cities, the rodents thrived on waste in alleys and waste bins, usually behind restaurants, fast food places etc. When the pandemic hit, it hit hard and closed down food outlets almost immediately, robbing rats of their food source almost over night.
These animals generally don’t like to move: provided with food and some sort of shelter, they will stay on their turf for their entire life. However, take any of these away, and you have a very capable, distressed and disease-carrying traveller moving about. Remember: a rat can survive a 15m fall, can tread water for 3 days, and hold its breath under water for 3 minutes! Not only that – a rat is very capable of moving through small, challenging and dangerous passages! Their teeth never stop growing, and that’s the reason behind their insatiable urge to gnaw at pretty much anything – their teeth are stronger than iron, and their bite is 6 times stronger than that of a great white shark!
When you see one of them, chances are there’s a whole crew that’s keeping themselves hidden away. If you start seeing them during the day, that’s a pretty strong sign there’s an infestation booming near the sighting location. The UK has seen a 41% increase in rodent sightings during lockdown, with an estimated 25% increase in rat population only in 2020!
As it often happens in life, someone finds a silver lining in another’s troubles, and this time it’s the exterminators. Calls and revenue related to rodent infestations have gone up 30% since the onset of the pandemic, with rats occupying empty office buildings, as well as migrating into residential areas. Some Canadian pest companies have seen a 50% increase in rat-related calls in 2020, and we assume to see a further increase once people start moving back into their offices.
Bear in mind that empty (but not necessarily) water piping, cracks in walls, lowered ceilings, unused ventilation, food leftovers, even leather chairs, all present passageways for the rodent – or potential food targets. Not all offices had the chance to take precautionary measures when faced with immediate lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. When you begin coming back to your office, keep an open eye for signs of an infestation – or for the roommates themselves – and give us a call the moment you confirm your doubts!