BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy caused power outages throughout Bronxville, and 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.
Robert Ciardullo, owner of R&K Pest Control in New Rochelle, said his company has experienced a big uptick in calls for mice throughout Westchester and in Bronxville since Sandy.
"We've been seeing a lot more deer, field and house mice since Sandy hit," Ciardullo said. "Even before the storm, Westchester has been dealing with a big rodent population. Many of these mice have become well accustomed to living in urban environments and around people, so making the living adjustment probably wasn't too hard for the mice."
Many rats and wild mice live near abundant food sources like lakes and rivers, according to Critter Control of the Hudson Valley.
The current spike in calls isn't unique to Sandy, but happens with every major storm, Ciardullo said.
"Sandy destroyed a lot of habit and ruined a lot of trees with all of its rain," he said. "This same thing has happened in the past with other destructive storms. Rodents are great survivalists, and will do everything possible to stay alive in the face of a danger."
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,” Fisher said.
Pest control experts recommend that 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, such methods are often ineffective, said Mickey Wright, owner of Critter Control of the Hudson Valley.
“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.”