Rats running rampant in Pinellas Co. after Hurricane Irma

Storm debris is attracting rodents to your home

SEMINOLE, Fla. - They’re gross, they’re dirty, and they’re running rampant in Pinellas County: Rats!

The huge piles of debris left behind from Hurricane Irma are helping the nasty creatures creep their way into your home. 

The rats are making themselves very cozy in your debris, and they’re scurrying right into your home. 

Tiffany Vealey, who lives with her 4 kids in a home in Seminole, recently made a disgusting discovery enough to make her stomach turn. 

At first, Vealey noticed a hole in her home, then she noticed: “rat poop.”

Soon enough, she captured 6 rats that were the size of two of her fists.

Steven Winger, Natural Born Killers LLC has been flooded with calls about rats getting into people’s homes. “I’ve gotta get those traps set in the attic,” he said as he rushed into a home in Gulfport, “Yes, the calls have increased but we have a terrible rat problem in Pinellas county and this isn’t helping,” he said pointing to a massive debris pile.

Those piles at the end of your curb are a major harborage for rats, according to Winger.

Screens, black foam and rat traps are helping Winger catch the unwanted house guests around Pinellas County, but the rats are trickier than ever to catch. All those down trees are giving them plenty of acorns, dates and fruit to eat. Winger is using a secret ingredient for bait that works every time: Chocolate trail mix. 

The longer it takes for the storm debris piles to get cleaned up, the bigger the rat problem gets. Vealey hopes her hairy intruders got the message that they’re not welcome back. “It’s like your worst nightmare and they’re animals so you can’t tell them shoo, shoo, shoo.”

The scariest part, rats invite snakes. Plenty of people in Pinellas County are having close encounters with snakes too.

Some good advice: keep your debris on the curb, but move it to the furthest corner of your property so the rats have a tougher time scurrying in.

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