CDC warns of increased rodent activity due to restaurant closures

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning public health agencies across the country to be on the lookout for increased rodent activity. 

According to the CDC, “Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas.”

The release says those agencies may see an increase in unusual and aggressive rodent behavior.

“They like to be around trashy areas, whether it’s overgrown areas or places where garbage is left behind,” says Monte Deatrich. 

Deatrich is the Environmental Health Manager for the Tri-County Health Department, which oversees Arapahoe, Douglas and Adams counties. 

He says rats frequently rely on dumpsters behind restaurants as a food source. 

With many restaurants closed or doing take-out, those supplies have dwindled. 

“Those rats don’t have that food source anymore,” says Deatrich. “So now they’re going elsewhere to find that food source.”

He says his department hasn’t seen an increase in rodent complaints, but says those problems are more likely in urban, commercial areas.

Deatrich says it’s a good reminder for people, especially those living in cities, to eliminate shelter, food and water from rodents.

“You want to eliminate pet foods,” he says. “A lot of people put pet foods out at night. Try to eliminate bird food that drops on the ground, certainly rats like that. Make sure your garbage — when you put it out — put it in a container that has a tight-fitting lid.”

Deatrich also recommends sealing up access to homes, sheds and garages, to eliminate places for rats to shelter. 

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