The pantry full of ingredients inside Kymmie Kellem's kitchen turned into a disaster Thursday morning.
"I was pretty grossed out but trying to just deal with it and I knew I wanted it to go away and get clean," says Kellems.
Deal with what she now knows is work of rats. The cooking ingredients spilled and rat dropping everywhere.
"In all of our baking stuff, our spices, and all of our food coloring which was disgusting because they had chewed up everything suga, flower, and it was a disaster to say the least."
Kellems is not the only one who's dealing with un-welcome critters.
Jackson County Vector Control says they're seeing twice as many people this year than last coming in asking for rat traps.
"The numbers are increasing...people are increasing...rats are increasing," says Jerry Poppe with Vector Control. He says it's hard to pinpoint the exact reason behind the increase.
But says a growing population in Jackson County means more food for more rats.
"Make sure there's no available food around your house rate require about 20 grams of food per day per rat so that's an awful lot of food they usually don't range farther then about 100-150 feet away from their food source."
Poppe says keeping your house rat free is all about making sure there's no open spaces where they can get in.
Remember.. they can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter.
"Rats are like little burglars if your house is secure they're going to go on to the next house if your house is wide open they're going to come in and they're going to raise a family and make themselves at home."
He also says it isn't the best idea to use poisonous pellets to get rid of the rats wherever you've seen rat droppings. In this case Kellems saw then under her sink but she'll now use a traditional trap.
"If the rats die under your house chances are you're not going to find them...then you're going to notice the odor from the rats decaying."
For Kymmie Kellems this kitchen nightmare has become a lesson she hopes to never re-live.
"We're going to set some traps and hopefully get them."
Here are some tips to rat proof your home:
- Look for any openings a quarter size or larger
-Use hardware material or compressed gravel to cover any holes
-Make sure vent screens are tight
-Check dryer flaps
And experts say rats like to get indoors when it's cold outside. So that's part of the increase.
They're also drawn to vegetation and trash. Be sure to keep things cleaned up.