"I feel like it's doubled in size. It could be like triple," said Kat Herrera of Kat's Pest Solutions, referring to the number of service calls she's seen over the past few months.
Herrera has been in the pest control business for 19 years and believes the jump in rat-related calls may be due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her theory: since so many restaurants have closed, their dumpsters are empty and rats can't rely on them for food anymore.
"They are now traveling further into residential zones," she told Eyewitness News.
Herrera isn't the only one seeing service calls take off. Pest control giant Orkin ranks what it calls its "rattiest cities." Not only is Los Angeles in the top five, but it is second only to Chicago for rodent-related service calls.
To protect your home from mice or rat invasions, experts say you need to inspect the entire perimeter of the house, looking for entry points. And they could be as small as a nickel for mice to pass through. If you find one, you need to seal it with hardware cloth or something rats won't be able to chew through.
And make sure you're not feeding them. They can easily get into garbage cans that are not fully closed. Keep your outdoor grill clean of food scraps, store your pet food where rats can't get to it and don't leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.
Research finds rats can learn to drive, and even find it relaxing