LIVONIA (WWJ) - The I-96 construction project has triggered another problem in Livonia -- rats.
A letter from the mayor's office says the road work and other large commercial building projects nearby have forced some of the rodents from their homes and into the neighborhoods.
Several residents have reported problems with rats and mice, which can carry more than 35 diseases. The rodents can cause quite the headache for homeowners -- they chew through wood, wiring, plasterboard, insulation and even cinder block.
Residents are being asked to take action in their own yards to eliminate food and shelter sources to keep these pests away. Suggestions include:
• Eliminate rodent food sources.
Rats eat garbage, food scraps, fallen fruit and nuts, bird seed, pet food and animal droppings. Use secure garbage cans (metal cans work best, as plastic cans may be gnawed through) with tight-fitting lids. Avoid leaving garbage in plastic bags. Bird-feeders should be at least four feet off the ground and spilled seed should be cleaned up from the ground. Pet feces should be removed daily.
• Eliminate rodent shelter sources.
Rats and mice can make a home in junk and large rubbish items, weeds and grass, and holes in any buildings. Lumber and firewood should be stacked and stored at least 12 inches above the ground.
• Seal up holes inside and outside of buildings.
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, while rats can fit through an opening the size of a half-dollar. Close any gaps inside, under or behind cabinets, refrigerators and stoves, inside closets, and around fireplaces, doors, pipes, sinks, water heaters, furnaces, vents, windows, doors, foundations and attics.
City officials say workers will visit neighborhoods to assess the rodent problem and distribute information on setting traps and pest control. Due to budget limitations, the city's Animal Control Officers are not responsible for handling rat or mice issues.
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