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Instead of building a better mouse trap, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have built a better mouse cage. They've created a system called EnerCage (Energized Cage) for scientific experiments on awake, freely behaving small animals. It wirelessly powers electronic devices and sensors traditionally used during rodent research experiments, but without the use of interconnect wires or bulky batteries. Their goal is to create as natural an environment within the cage as possible for mice and rats in order for scientists to obtain consistent and reliable results. The EnerCage system also uses Microsoft's Kinect video game technology to track the animals and recognize their activities, automating a process that typically requires researchers to stand and directly observe the rodents or watch countless hours of recorded footage to determine how they react to experiments.

The wirelessly energized cage system was presented this month at the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) in Orlando, Florida.

The Georgia Tech EnerCage is wrapped with carefully oriented strips of copper foils that can inductively power the cage and the electronics implanted in, or attached to, one or more animal subjects inside the cage. The system can run indefinitely and collect data without human intervention because of wireless communication and power transmission.

"It's always better to keep an animal in its natural settings with minimum burden or stress to improve the quality of an experiment," said Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who developed the EnerCage. "Anything that is abnormal or unnatural may bias the experiment, no matter what experiment in any field. That includes grabbing the animal to attach or detach wires, change batteries or transferring it from one cage to another."

Ghovanloo uses four resonating copper coils to create a homogenous magnetic field inside the cage. The built-in closed loop power control mechanism supplies enough power to compensate for all freely behaving animal subject activities, whether they're standing up, crouching down, or walking around the cage. The small headstage for the animal is also wrapped with resonators to deliver power to a receiver coil.

The Kinect is suspended about three feet above the cage. It has a high-definition camera, an infrared depth camera, and four microphones to record and analyze the animal behavior. It can capture both a two-dimensional high-resolution image of a rat's location and a three-dimensional image that would identify its body posture.

"We're building computer algorithms to determine if the animal is standing, sitting, sleeping, grooming, eating, drinking or doing nothing," said Ghovanloo. "We're hoping to reduce the expensive costs of new drug and medical device development by allowing machines to do mundane, repetitive tasks now assigned to humans." The Georgia Tech team is working in partnership with Emory University, hoping to impact the clinical efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS). A growing number of clinical trials are using DBS to treat disorders of the central nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. The cellular mechanisms that contribute to the clinical efficacy of DBS remain largely unknown, however.

Emory's Donald (Tig) Rainnie and his research team use freely moving rodent models to examine the effects of DBS on neural circuits thought to be disrupted in depression. They have tested the EnerCage system.

"The requirement to use a tethered headstage to record neural data and apply the DBS has hindered progress in this field," said Rainnie, a researcher at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. "We provided critical feedback, via beta testing of the EnerCage system, on how to maximize the utility of the system for different behavioral applications. We found a key advantage of the EnerCage system is that it will allow researchers to conduct chronic DBS and track associated behavioral changes for days, if not weeks, without disturbing the test animals."

Until now, Rainnie says, that hasn't been possible, and it is key to understanding the long-term benefits of DBS in patients.

The next steps at Georgia Tech are designing EnerCage-compatible implants, such as one for delivering drugs, and expanding the system to a network of dozens of cages that can collect data from multiple animals at the same time.

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Rodent-Proofing Your Premises

Rodent-Proofing Your Premises

Everyone strives for a Rodent-free home.

Rodent-proofing your home, apartment, farm or other buildings involves identifying and eliminating the conditions that make it possible for rats and mice to survive - mainly their food, water and harborage. Once you know the problem areas, follow the four major steps below to reduce or eliminate these conditions.

Keeping Rodents Out of Your Home or Other Buildings

1. Remove Sources of Food & Water
Improving sanitation conditions is one of the best ways to prevent and to get rid of rodent problems. Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders that will eat any food discarded by humans. Eliminating their food and water is critical to controlling them.

Outdoors:
Pick up trash and discarded food.
Keep tightly sealed lids on garbage cans.
Store pet and bird food in sealed containers.
Get rid of standing water by filling holes or unlevel places in the yard where puddles might form or by eliminating standing water in buckets, pools, or other containers.

Indoors:
Clean up spilled food in cupboards and on floors.
Keep counters and food preparation areas clear of food at night.
Keep all food packages tightly sealed.


2. Get Rid of Rodent Habitats

Outdoors:
Remove clutter and debris.
Keep grass, shrubs, and other vegetation around your home trimmed.
Trim overhanging trees that cause shadowy areas where rodents feel protected.

Indoors:
Clear out boxes and other clutter in basements and storage areas.
Store materials off the floors on shelves, wherever possible.

3. Keep Rodents From Entering Cracks & Crevices 

Rats can fit through an opening about the size of a nickel. Mice can squeeze through an area smaller than a dime. Call Rodent Solutions to seal your home and prevent rodents from entering.  


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Rodents may be in your garage, attic, closets, cabinets, tool shed or yard. It’s a busy time for pest control companies and rodenticide sales. But nature can control rodent populations, if you let it. In the natural environment, there is balance. Every creature is prey to some animals and predator to others.

Raptors – owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures – are rodents’ natural predators. You should not spend money on poisons and put desirable wildlife, pets and children at risk of accidental poisoning. Let the birds of prey naturally remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Bald eagles are known to have used the same nest as long as 35 years. That makes them an excellent long-term control for rodent populations in the immediate area.

During breeding season, a family of five owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Even though the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have restricted public access to the most dangerous rodenticides, all rodenticides – including the types still available to consumers – are poisons that can kill wildlife, pets and children.

Unfortunately, even after stricter regulations on rodenticides were enacted, wildlife continue to be exposed to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone). Licensed pest control companies and agricultural producers are still free to use them. If consumers hire pest control companies, they should know that the materials the firms use could poison local wildlife. Only consumers can ensure that it doesn’t. The most effective pest control does not involve chemicals, but sanitation and exclusion.

Like most animals, rodents will congregate and multiply where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage them is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable. Sanitation is the first step to controlling rodents. For example:

Keep your home and yard neat and clean. Don’t give rats places to hide.
Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
Seal water leaks and remove standing water that can attract unwelcome animals, breed mosquitoes and waste water.

Contact Rodent Solutions to remove mice and rats from inside the building and seal the entries they used to get in: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Rodents can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter! 

We offer poison free solutions.  Find out more at http://rodentsolutioninc.com/why-choose-us

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Almost all homeowners know the feeling of unease that accompanies finding mice or rodents in your home. Whether in the kitchen, attic, basement or dining room - a rodent sighting can incite surprise and fear in even the most composed homeowner. Unfortunately, these common pests are resourceful creatures that can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack, and require very little space to travel inside. Mice can easily fit through spaces as small as a nickel!

Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the cooler fall and winter months, and once inside can cause more than just an unpleasant infestation. Rodents put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. More frequently, though, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacteria, such as salmonella, on their bodies and contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. The common white-footed deer mouse is also known to transmit the potentially fatal Hantavirus.

Simple Rodent Control Tips

Fortunately, there are many ways homeowners can proactively prevent and get rid of rodent infestations in their homes:

  1. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  2. Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  3. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both. 
  4. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  5. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  6. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  7. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
  8. Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
  9. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
  10. If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem. 

If you spot evidence of a rodent infestation, do not hesitate to act to handle the problem. Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, and a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight if left untreated.

Rodent control and management are important for health and safety reasons.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063

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A proactive approach to ensure a defense against pest infestations needs to be top of mind for every homeowner or building manager.

Here is a Checklist of common areas vulnerable to pest problems, as well as offers advice on how to possibly prevent a problem before it happens.

1. Attics - An attic offers a fantastic retreat for rodents like rats and mice to spend the winter. Be sure to replace all damaged roof tiles and attic vents before it snows. It is best to store items in sealed plastic bins to avoid rodents nesting and damage.

2. Pipes and drains - Cockroaches, ants and other insects are attracted to moisture and excess water. Now is the time to inspect and repair any damage. Be sure to replace water-damaged wood to prevent attraction of wood-infesting pests once the snow melts.

3. Chimneys - Birds, bats and squirrels like to make homes in chimneys. Install a suitably sized chimney cap to keep animals out and prevent secondary pest infestations.

4. Garages - Many people use a garage more for storing items. However, rodents love to find nesting sites there. Store items off the floor on shelving and be sure to place all food items in plastic containers. Check around doors for gaps and seal all openings a quarter inch or greater.

5. Kitchen - The kitchen is often the one room singled out by pest control professionals as the highest risk of a pest problem. It is important to store food in airtight containers. Make it a point to regularly empty contents of garbage cans and clear up any food debris. Check the expiration dates of cereal and other dried food items, and discard expired items to prevent infestations by stored product pests.

6. Bird Feeders and Trash Cans - Bird feeders don’t just ensure a steady food supply to birds in the cold weather. Mice are especially attracted to bird feed, including seeds and discarded hulls. Therefore be sure to keep the ground surrounding bird feeders free of seeds and debris. Trash is an additional food source for rodents and other wildlife during the winter months. All trash cans should be secured with tight-fitting lids.

7. Foundation and walls - Rodents and other pests will look to gain entry into crawlspaces and other protected areas this time of year. Be sure to identify and repair any openings in the foundation, and around utility pipe entryways. Also, replace damaged dryer and other vents.

8. Windows and doors - Cracks or gaps around windows and doors are easy to overlook. However, in the time it takes to say “cheese” a rodent can zip through an opening just a quarter of an inch in size. It pays to cover these gaps from both an energy saving and a pest prevention point of view. Be sure to install weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as door sweeps beneath doors.

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As much of the country continues to experience rainy weather, pest problems are also pouring in on office and property managers, threatening the reputation and structural integrity of their building as well as the health of their tenants.

Mice and rats become particularly active when precipitation levels are on the rise because rain spurs vegetation, which then provides plenty of food. In fact, the correlation is so strong that many rodent trap suppliers base their production on rainfall.

Along with structural damage to electrical equipment and dry wall, rodents pose a serious health risk to humans and are known to spread more than 35 diseases worldwide. These diseases can be spread through rodent bites; contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva; or by handling the pest. Preventing these pesky invaders requires proactive techniques and regular maintenance. Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, you can help take action against rodents this summer and keep them from raining on your parade.

When implementing an IPM program, it’s important to talk with a pest management professional about how to identify and prevent a pest infestation. Here are a few ways to help keep pests from making an entrance into your facility:

  • Train your staff on how to identify signs of mice and rats, which include droppings, gnaw marks, rub markings, and live or dead pests.
  • Rodents can’t survive without water, so check your building for sources of excess moisture. Be sure to clean up spills immediately, and inspect any soft drink machines and HVAC units for potential leaks.
  • Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime, while rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter. Seal cracks and crevices in your building’s exterior with weather-resistant sealant and add metal mesh to prevent rodents from gnawing through.
  • Trim all vegetation back two to three feet from the side of the building and consider installing a 30-inch wide gravel strip around your exterior. This is because rodents typically avoid being out in the open.

By adding these tips to your regular maintenance routine, you can help prevent pests from seeking shelter from the rain in your building. Be sure to talk with a pest management professional about other steps you can take to help ensure your summer stays dry and pest-free.

You can also call Rodent Solutions at (941) 704-0063 for an Onsite Inspection of any Rodent Infestation.

Source: http://www.buildings.com/

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Rodents Wired to Infest Vehicles

The National Pest Management Association explains why rodents invade cars

 FAIRFAX, VA – Many causes are possible when vehicles experience problems, but it might surprise motorists to learn that a rodent infestation could be one of them.  According to the National Pest Management Association, several innate factors drive rodents under the hood, leading to car damage, particularly during wintertime.

“Vehicles possess the ideal attributes that attract rodents in winter, including shelter and built-up warmth from commutes,” says Michael Bentley, Ph.D., a staff entomologist at NPMA. “Rodents hate being out in the open where they are vulnerable to predators, so when they see a car holding freshly generated heat that also offers protection from the great outdoors, they are drawn to it for cover.”

Entering into cars is easy — a mouse, for example, can squeeze through openings as small as a dime. Once inside, any crumbs the owner leaves behind, or other chewable items, will hold rodents’ attention, and that includes wires.

“Rodents are instinctively avid chewers. About three percent of their daily activity is just gnawing on objects like wires,” says Bentley. “Unfortunately, cars have an abundance of materials that rodents enjoy chewing through.”

Changes in car design may also attract rodents. Recently, numerous consumers have reported experiencing rodent infestations in their cars, attributing them to the materials manufacturers are using in their eco-friendly models, such as soy-based wiring, which is especially appealing to a rodent’s palate.

Costly car repairs aside, rodents can also have negative effects on human health. They can, for example, cause respiratory issues, including asthma and allergy symptoms.

To eliminate the likelihood of rodents infesting a vehicle, keep trash in tightly closed containers and seal up points of entry into the garage. Drivers should also regularly look under the hood for gnawed materials, nests, droppings and frayed wires.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/press-releases/rodents-wired-to-infest-vehicles/

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Interesting Facts About Nuisance Wildlife

Learn about some wild animals that could be living right in your own backyard

There are many wild animals native to the United States that people likely encounter on a near-daily basis, sometimes without even realizing it. These common backyard creatures have found ways to co-exist with humans, which unfortunately can lead them to become nuisance pests and even occasional health threats. Though these wild animals may not always be a welcome sight for homeowners, they do have some interesting characteristics!

Squirrels are fierce fighters.

Squirrel varieties can be found in every region of the United States. A group of squirrels is called a scurry. Squirrels are extremely territorial and will even fight to the death to defend their area. Mother squirrels are especially vicious when protecting their babies. Squirrels frequently enter attics and chimneys in the winter. To keep them out, seal all possible points of entry around the house, screen vents and openings to chimneys and keep tree limbs cut back six to eight feet from the roofline.

Raccoons will eat almost anything.

Raccoons are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including fish, mice, insects, stolen eggs and human trash. Raccoons also sometimes "wash" their food by rapidly dunking it in water before eating. Their adaptable eating habits have allowed them to make themselves at home in many environments, from forests and marshes to cities and the suburbs. Homeowners should be sure to store trash cans and recycling bins in sealed areas or with animal-proof lids to keep raccoons, which are frequent carriers of rabies, off their property.

Opossums are good actors.

Opossums are the only marsupials found in North America. Female opossums give birth to young as tiny as honey bees that immediately crawl into their mother's pouch where their development continues. Typically, fewer than half of opossum young survive in to adulthood. Opossums are known for "playing dead" when threatened by predators. They will fall onto their sides and lie on the ground, extend their tongues and either close their eyes or stare straight in to space. Do not approach an opossum in this state, as they have sharp teeth and in rare cases may bite if they feel threatened. Opossums have been known to create messy dens in homeowner's attics and garages.

Bats are often protected by law.

Bats are protected by law in most states, so it is important to check with animal control or wildlife services for any regulations before bat-proofing your home. The best time to bat-proof is the beginning of autumn, when bats leave for hibernation. Bats can pose serious health threats to humans if they are not removed from structures; bat droppings can harbor a fungus that causes lung disease.

Voles are small, but mighty.

Voles, also known as meadow mice or field mice, are a type of rodent that can be found in most regions of the United States. They are active year-round, and do not hibernate. Their populations tend to fluctuate and are dependent on factors such as food quality, climate and physiological stress. Voles construct many tunnels with various burrow entrances and can cause extensive damage to orchards, young trees and field crops. They're even capable of ruining lawns and golf courses with their extensive tunnel systems.

Groundhogs are true hibernators.

Groundhogs are among the few mammals that enter into true hibernation, which generally starts in late fall near the end of October and continues until late February. These rodents will gorge themselves all summer to build up their fat reserves. After the first frost, they enter their underground burrows and hibernate until spring, where they survive off of their accumulated body fat. During hibernation, the groundhog's heart rate plunges and its body temperature will not be much higher than that inside the burrow. To keep groundhogs out of crawlspaces, it is important to inspect homes for access points, such as broken vent covers or holes in the foundation. Burrowing groundhogs have been known to destroy building foundations.

If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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Winter's Chill Drives Rodents Indoors

Across the country, chilly temperatures and early snowstorms are forcing more than just people indoors. Rodents including micerats and squirrels are seeking food, water and shelter in homes. Unfortunately, more bad weather could be on the way as the Farmers' Almanac is forecasting a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from rodent infestations during colder months.

"Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests."

The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread bacteria and contaminate food sources. These rodent droppings are known to trigger allergies and cause diseases including Hantavirus and Salmonella. In addition to health risks, rodents can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the risk of a house fire.

NPMA offers the following tips to avoid a rodent infestation:

  • Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
  • Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
  • Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
  • Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

For more information about household pests and to find a local pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/press-releases/early-arrival-of-winter-weather-drives-rodents-indoors/

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BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER!!! Yesterday we were called to a Sarasota/Bradenton area home at the same time as one of our competitors.

Just because a company spends a lot of money on advertising, doesn’t make them a good rodent pest control company.

They are a much larger company who may or may not dress their yellow vehicles to appear like a rat/mouse. The company showed up to do a rodent inspection on the home with only a 6 foot ladder leaving them unable to get on the roof to look for possible entry points up there (which is the source of most rat/mouse issues) or check the integrity of the chimney (which extended much higher than the roof). We asked him, “if you can’t inspect the entire home for a pest proofing, how can you guarantee a customer you can handle their rat problem completely?”  Of course the tech just ignored me. Please remember, just because a company has more employees & spends more on advertising, does not make them the best choice. At Rodent Solutions, we believe in quality customer service, not the quick $$$.

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Chicago has received more than 7,500 rat complaints from residents in 2016 so far, a five-year high for the first quarter. Some residents have a solution to their rat problems beyond the cities abatement tactics: feral cats.

CHICAGO— Some denizens of America’s great cities probably wouldn’t mind a visit from the Pied Piper right about now.

Several major U.S. cities—including Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.— have seen significant surges in rat complaints from their residents in recent months, according to city data reviewed by USA TODAY.

Grousing about rats has long been city-dweller sport, but the long-tailed, sharp-toothed nuisances have now become so populous and so aggressive that some cities are getting creative in their efforts to stay ahead of rodents even as some frustrated city residents are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.

In Chicago, which historically notches more rat complaints than any other city, residents' reports of rodent activity rose by about 70% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

With the city on pace to shatter the more than 41,000 complaints it received in 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently acknowledged in a radio interview that rats in the Windy City have become “a real problem.”

After several years of a scaled back rodent patrol in Chicago, the Emanuel administration announced this month it will bolster the number of technicians searching for burrows and laying poison from 18 technicians to 28 by next month.

The administration went on a community relations blitz, hanging doorknob leaflets that called on residents to do their part to eliminate food sources for rats by not overfilling dumpsters and cleaning up properly after their dogs.

To further drive home the getting tough-on-rats message, an ordinance recently introduced in Chicago’s city council makes it clear that homeowners who fail to keep their yards free of dog waste, garbage, or other materials that attract rodents could be fined up to $500.The city also began requiring developers to include rat abatement plans as part of any new construction project.

Separately, the Chicago Transit Authority hopes to put an end to rat canoodling with a new bait that targets both male and female rat fertility. Rats reach sexual maturity within weeks after birth.

“We are being very, very aggressive in how we bait, so we can get control of the rodent population before summer gets here,” said Charles Williams, Chicago’s streets and sanitation department commissioner.

Boston touts itself as having one of the most innovative rat abatement programs in the country and historically gets fewer complaints than some of its bigger city counterparts. Still, complaints have nearly tripled in the first quarter of this year – a spike city officials there attribute to last year’s launching of a 311 system that makes it easier for Bostonians to call or use a phone app to report rats and other nuisance complaints to city officials.

The city's Inspectional Service Department tapped researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help launch a pilot program that uses dry ice to kill rats hiding in burrows in the city.

The dry ice, made of solid carbon dioxide, can be packed into the burrows where it asphyxiates the rats. City officials say it proved effective during their first month of testing, and the method has the added bonus of being less of a danger to humans and other animals than setting out poison.

And at about 50 cents per pound, the initial testing suggests dry ice might be a cheaper instrument for killing rats than rat poison, said Inspectional Service Department Commissioner William "Buddy" Christopher Jr.

Christopher said he’s “not extremely concerned” about the uptick thus far.

“I think our aggressive, pro-active stance is maintaining,” Christopher said. “Our staff stays on top of this. They’re constantly looking for new ways to deal with old problems.”

Washington, D.C., last year could boast of a four-year decline in rat complaints, but now the city is on pace to ruin its good news streak. If complaints continue at the same rate, the city will likely surpass last year’s mark of 2,004. Through April 15, the District’s Department of Health tallied 699 complaints.

The district's Department of Health said mild winters have been good for rodents, but the department insisted it was primed for battle.

“I can assure you that we are ready for them,” department spokesman Ivan Torressaid in an email “The DOH is and will continue to strike hard.”

In New York, which has seen complaints to its 311 system soar over the last five years, there has been no relief. Rat complaints jumped by 39% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year. The Big Apple's 311 system tallied more than 15,000 rodent complaints last year, compared to more than 10,600 in 2012.

And San Francisco, where complaints had stabilized over the last five years, now reports a modest increase in the number of rat complaints, so far this year compared to the same period of 2015.

William Tatum, a Chicago streets and sanitation worker, on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, fills a rat burrow with poison and newspaper. Chicago has seen a more than 70% increase in rat complaints in the first quarter of 2016 compared to same period last year. (Photo: Ryan Connelly Holmes)

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