Ratastic News Week “Cali Rats” Edition

David Bennett David Bennett

This week we take a look at how fast diseases like typhoid (considered an old, obsolete disease), can break out when humans get sloppy!  The focus of our stories this week is in the rat infested Los Angeles, California area, which came in at number 3 on the Orkin Rattiest City in America list for 2017! Then we buzz over to Scottsdale Arizona, where a man who bought a house bought more than he bargained for when he discovered thousands of rats who missed the house closing and hadn’t moved out!

NBC News reports that on Skid Row in Los Angeles, it’s DEFCON 5 for rat infestation due to the illegal trash, discarded food, and human waste lying in the streets.   Other things attracting the rats are fish markets, (and the accompanying trash), and homeless encampments.   With the rats, come fleas.  With the fleas, come a disease that used to be more prevalent 100 years ago—typhus.  Typhus has a long and deadly history, especially epidemic typhus. Typhus is caused by bacteria. Rickettsia prowazekii causes epidemic typhus. Rickettsia typhiand, occasionally, R. feliscause endemic typhus and are transmitted to humans by vectors such as lice (mainly epidemic) and fleas (mainly endemic).  Typhus can cause meningitis and death.

 Typhus is spreading along Skid Row as well as other nearby areas.  So far, LA’s typhus outbreak is up to 98 cases, including 20 in Pasadena and 18 in Long Beach.   The average cases the county sees per year is 60.   The city’s rat infestation on Skid Row was exposed by the reporting of NBC Investigations last week. “Downtown’s rat problem was exposed last week by NBC News’ Los Angeles affiliate, KNBC, which documented piles of uncollected trash around Ceres Avenue on skid row. The station reported that despite 2,200 calls to a city help line in the last two years by people requesting trash pickup in the area, the city responded to less than half the complaints.” Social services workers say the city could reduce the human waste issue by installing 24 hour toilets. LA has a massive homeless problem, and one soup kitchen serves as many as 1,000 meals three times a day to the homeless of Skid Row.  The city is looking into initiatives to clean up the trash and help house the homeless, as well as distribute flea collars to the pets of homeless people.



Review article our previous blog article “The link or Rats to poverty”



Elsewhere in LA, (which is number 3 on Orkin’s Rattiest Cities list),  Lake Balboa , in the Van Nuys area, is having an infestation of its own that seems to be emanating from a single home.  NBCLosAngeles.com reportsthat rats can been seen on video scurrying on the property, in trees, on power lines and the roof!  The rat infestation on this property has been going on for years and is now spreading to the neighbors’ houses.  One neighbor had rats come over and infest his attic, causing $6,000.00 worth of damage to his home.  The person who owns the infested home claims it isn’t her fault and that the rats come from a nearby drainage wash.  She was upset that the neighbor used rat traps and even a BB gun to get rid of them.  Neighbors think that the food she stores for the cats she rescues could be attracting the rats.  From the report: “The inspector who responded Tuesday found the front gate locked, and did not enter the property, but made observations from the sidewalk.  He counted more than 20 rodent droppings in the driveway beneath an abandoned car, which was full of trash and debris, according to a statement issued by the Public Health Dept.”     The city says they are “looking into it, and allowing the public health department to deal with the infestation.”


Meanwhile, over in Scottsdale, Arizona—the house of horrors is real! Meet  Joe American Family, who bought what they thought was a good deal. Turned out it was a “hell” of a deal when the time came to remodel.  First they found a beehive in the wall.   A big bee hive.   Bee hives have delicious honey!   We love honey!  So do rats.  I mean, you can’t blame them!   The rats ate, partied, pooped and peed, and bingo bammo, attracted more rats, and the infestation took off!   The contractor asked the family if they wanted to resell the home or try to fix the problem.   The family, not one to back off from a challenge, decided to stay and fix it, and make it the home of their dreams.   So far, the home of their dreams is costing them 90,000.00 and climbing.  They’ve had to gut the whole house, put in all new drywall, and have had to practically keep a pest control company on retainer to get rid of the rats.   ABC15.com goes on: “the previous owners knew there was a rodent problem, and even set up traps. However, he said they didn’t know the extent of the problem.

He said when the home inspector came out, they didn’t find an active infestation. 

“The home inspector isn’t going to necessarily catch the problem,” Gates said. “If he doesn’t see signs of activity, he can’t look in walls. So you really need a specialist to come in and inspect to make sure the problem has been dealt with because if it hasn’t, we end up with this.”

Gates said unfortunately, it’s a crack in the system.

Gates and Little both advise that before you buy, get a third party to do a full inspection of rodents, because you never know what can be hiding in places you can’t see.”

Visit us at PestWorld2018 conference, October 23rd-26th.  Next week, in Orlando Booth# 733. Chat with us about your challenges, review 5-minute industrialized Fenn trap demonstration, be entered into drawing to win cash.

Tags: Fenn Trap, Fleas, Mk 4 Fenn Trap, MK6 Fenn Trap, National Pest Management Association, NPMA, Pest Control, PestWorld2018, Public Health, Public Health Department, Rat infestation, Rat Traps, Rats, Rickettsia prowazekii, Rickettsia typhi, Tunnels, Typhus, Wildlife removal

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