YONKERS, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and power outages throughout Yonkers, but local pest control agencies said the storm also could 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 past three months compared to previous years and that Hurricane Sandy could be the cause.
Halil Odabas of Yonkers’ United Exterminators said his company commonly gets more rodent complaints after a storm as many rats and mice flee the Hudson River or storm sewers to escape rising flood waters.
“Whenever there is a turbulent storm surge we do see more calls,” he said.
Many rats and wild mice live near abundant food sources such as lakes and rivers, according to Critter Control of the Hudson Valley .
Hurricane Sandy may have actually decreased the overall population of rodents, trapping the critters in their natural habitat, Obadas said.
But those that escaped the rising flood and storm surge went searching for a dry place, he said.
“Some survived and they climbed to higher ground,” he said. “That might be why we have a few more complaints of mice in homes at the moment.”
Errol Fisher, president of Elmsford-based Citadel Pest Control , agreed and said his company has seen more than a 10 percent increase in calls about mice and rats this year.
“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.”
Pest controls experts recommended residents take several precautions in preventing rodents from entering their homes. They agreed the first step in prevention is sealing 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, Mickey Wright, owner of Critter Control of the Hudson Valley, said 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.”