Several years ago we were called upon by a large supermarket chain in need of rodent control to solve an ongoing problem in one of its stores in Cape Cod. The manager informed us that they’d been dealing with a rat problem for over two years and had been using a local pest control company. He thought the situation was under control until one night they noticed the rats had eaten the centers out of 20 watermelons.
As soon as we entered the store it was obvious there was a rodent infestation as it had the distinctive odor of rodent urine and feces. The store personnel had grown so used to the smell that they didn’t realize how big of a problem it was. We did a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior to gauge the extent of the situation and locate the entry points. Rat droppings were present under the base of most shelving units, especially the dog food aisle and under produce cases. This is typical, as rats harbor close to their food source. Our exterior inspection revealed holes in the black top behind an open dumpster along the back of the store. Rodent rub marks around the openings verified that this was the highway into the store, and that the rats were entering via the pipes that went through the slab beneath the produce and freezer units.
But where was such a rodent population coming from in this affluent section of Cape Cod? As we walked along the perimeter of the store, we noticed a line of eight-foot-high hedges dense with foliage. Curious, we walked around the hedge row only to find a pig farm! That’s right, a pig farm, and the source of the rat population.
Our plan of attack was to seal up the entry points and place traps inside, under and outside the store. The pig farmer went on a rodent control program as well. It took the better part of a month to repair the openings, clean and sanitize all areas of the store. We trapped over 250 rats inside, plus a few on the exterior traps. This proves that no matter where you live, once rats find an entrance and food, they will make that neighborhood their home.