A Rat Problem in Ferndale? Residents Express Concerns
One family says they've been dealing with rats for three years. Find out what local officials recommend to help combat the problem.
It's a problem Ferndale and other local communities have been dealing with for years: Rats.
One resident wrote in to Ferndale Patch about the issue: "I live in Ferndale and have been battling the rats for 3 years now," wrote Yvette Tremaine.
She says rats set up camp in her home's crawl space during the winter three years ago, and she worries the problem could be related to a nearby drive-through that she says leaves its dumpster lids open.
"That spring, we had to throw everything away, dig a trench, build a support and pour cement. After several months we managed to rid them of the space," she said.
But the problem continues: "We see them in our back yard daily, in the day light, they are taking over and no one seems to care. I have done everything possible to keep them away.......no wood piles, no bird feeder, removal of dog feces daily and still.....rats."
Tremaine says rats have damaged her barbecue grill, garden and more. She has contacted the city and her husband spoke during public comment at a recent City Council meeting about the issue.
"Most of my neighbors have said they are dealing with a rat problem too," she wrote. "I don't think Ferndalians want to talk about this because it's gross, but we have to and I can't do this alone."
A post was also recently started on Ferndale Patch's Facebook page, where another resident asked if anyone else was dealing with rats and got these responses:
- Liz: They are everywhere! I live near 9/Pinecrest and see them all the time.
- Erica: Yes. On Inman we are having terrible problems with them! Have caught 7 in my yard in the last 2 weeks and neighbors see them all the time too.
- Gloria: Yes I [live] on the border of Ferndale and Hazel Park. We just killed one in out garage!!!
City working to educate residents
Ferndale City Manager April Lynch said she has heard from residents about the issue and said rats have always been a "consistent" issue in the city.
"We're an urban community. It's no surprise that we have rat issues," she said. "But what we're working on right now is very much about education. That's one of the key components."
Lynch said the city is updating its information and will be working to get the word out to residents about the best ways to prevent rat problems.
Removing food sources is important, she said, including keeping trash in tightly-closed containers and not leaving out loose trash bags. She also said residents with pets should pick up dog feces regularly.
"The issue is that you can't get rid of them if you don't get rid of the reason why they're there," she said.
The city refers residents who are having a serious problem with rodents to Eradico Pest Control Services in Ferndale, Lynch said.
Health division offers prevention tips
Tony Drautz, administrator for environmental health at the Oakland County Health Division, reinforced that the best way to avoid a rodent infestation is to remove any food sources.
"You really want to remove their food or water source, that's the bottom line," he said.
This can be done by making sure garbage can lids are tight-fitting, not leaving out dog food or other food, picking up pet waste right away and avoiding standing water in tires, swings or birdbaths, Drautz said.
He said the mild winter and hot summer may have caused places rats previously lived to dry up, so "they're going to be out on the prowl looking for food and water," he said.
It's also important to be cautious in how you deal with a rat infestation. Drautz said the department doesn't recommend individuals use any poison products - citing dangers for children and pets - and said it's best to contact pest control professionals.
"We would advise that you have a certified pest exterminator, someone that knows what they're doing and would be able to set traps or bait for these rodents and be able to eliminate the problem," he said.
If you do have rat carcasses to deal with, Drautz said they can be placed in the garbage but said residents should use protective gloves for safety as rats can spread diseases. Visit the Centers for Disease Control to learn more about these risks.
County collaborative proposed
“This is regional problem that the county should and can be a part of solving,” Woodward said. “This is as much a public health problem as it is an economic development and quality of [life] issue.”
Woodward’s proposal recommends the creation of a pilot program called the Oakland County Rodent Abolition and Termination (RAT) Program, and would make $200,000 available to support community collaboration efforts to tackle the issue.
Each community project would be eligible for up to $50,000 in matching funds to support extermination, remediation, and public education efforts to tackle rat infestation in Oakland County communities.
“The concentrated increase in the rat population in Oakland County merits a coordinated approach to improve the quality of life of residents, educate people about best practices we all should all be doing, and protect the public health,” Woodward said.
The proposal has been sent to the the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ General Government committee for further consideration. Woodward also plans to bring up proposal during the 2013 county budget discussions.