Rat problems growing for many residents in Jackson County

MEDFORD, ORe.– People in the Rogue Valley say they’re seeing an increase of rodents in and around their homes. The pests causing some disgust and worry about how big the problem may be.

Several residents in one West Medford neighborhood, however, say they’ve seen some rats but not an overwhelming amount. Still, for many across the county, there seems to be a growing presence with no end in sight.

“The entirety of the I-5 corridor has a huge rat problem,” said James Lunders, manager for Jackson County Vector Control.

Rats are everywhere and recently they’ve been making their way onto social media.

A video from a Medford resident shows his run-in with one of the pests followed with comments from others dealing with the same thing.

“Rats have lived in close proximity to people for a very long time,” said Lunders. It’s to be expected. However, there seem to be more incidences now.

Lunders says not only are fewer rodenticides being used but more people are planting gardens which attract the small creatures. He adds the human population in the valley is increasing potentially playing a role as well.

“I mean if you think about how many people are here now versus 10 years ago. There’s that much more food source for rats,” said Lunders.

But vector control spends most of its time dealing with mosquitoes having barely enough of its some $1.3 million to fund those projects. Lunders says that makes their options for rodent control limited.

“It would literally take a couple full-time people going to do rat work here,” he said.

There are still ways homeowners can fight off a rat infestation and vector control has several suggestions like trimming back trees and shrubs, cleaning pet food and fallen fruits outside, closing up entrances to your home larger than a quarter inch and cleaning up rodent feces and urine with disinfectant

They warn to not use a vacuum.

“You just spread all of those diseases into the air and get yourself really sick,” he said.

Vector control says anyone is welcome to come to their office in White City to learn more about how to protect their homes. They will even give you two rat bait traps to use as well.

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