Oh RATS! A local man’s Call-to-Action to help control the rat population
Cheviot resident Josh Bickers thought it was strange when he kept seeing what appeared to be dead rats showing up in the street outside his home. Then while pulling out of his driveway, he heard some commotion coming from the underbelly of his car and looked in the rearview mirror only to see three rats scurry away.
“I called a pest control company because we just kept seeing them,” he said. “We found rat dropping in my car and my wife Brittany’s car. They’d been climbing up through the engine bay.”
The pest control company confirmed the trails and holes in the back yard were, in fact, due to rats. They baited some holes and got three rats almost immediately. Bickers had the pest control company set bait stations around the property and in the holes.
Bickers said it became really alarming when he went to take the trash out. “I threw the bag into the can and it was like a swarm of rats came out from in and behind the trash cans. There were a ton of them. One bit my leg,” he said.
Everything came to a head when one of the rodents entered his home, located at the corner of Woodbine and Lovell. “After doing laundry, we thought we heard something,” he said. “Then we found pretty large droppings around the basement toilet.”
Bickers reported the family does not use the basement toilet, so water is typically shut off, leaving the bowl empty.
“I figured they had to be coming up through the sewer at that point,” he said.
The Bickers set some traps and in less than a day had caught the culprit – a very large, brownish-black rat. “It was fat and about the size of my wife’s shoe, with a tail longer than its body, “he said. “It was unreal.”
Bickers and his wife consulted with the neighbor, who reported having similar experiences. “He said they recently had rats cause $800 worth of damage to their car-- lots of droppings left behind and wires chewed through.”
Originally thinking he was the only one with problems, Bickers posted the story to his Facebook page and discovered numerous reports of similar experiences throughout Cheviot and the West Side. He contacted the City of Cheviot for guidance.
“A representative at the city told me to call the Board of Health and report the issue,” he said. The Board of Health can set traps/bait stations in the actual sewer, whereas the City of Cheviot can only set them at the sewer openings.” Bickers was told the city did do that about a month ago.
After doing some online research, Bickers learned that rats mainly migrate when there is construction nearby, but he couldn’t recall any construction nearby. He and his wife, both local REALTORS, and didn’t know of any dilapidated houses in the area either.
“The guy I talked to from the City of Cheviot said they believe the rats started migrating over the past year due to the major construction being done by the Mill Creek near Westwood and Queen City Avenues.,” said Bickers.
The Gazette was unable to reach the City of Cheviot due to holiday hours but did speak with an outside source who is familiar with the area sewers and has access to the sewer maps. The source checked an address in each ward of Cheviot and reported that it appears all Cheviot sewers connect to the Enhanced High Rate Treatment (EHRT) Facility at the corner of Werk and Westbourne in Green Township. From there, the source said they will connect to the facility on Muddy Creek and then eventually down to River Road, where they meet the Ohio River.
“It doesn’t seem feasible that the rats would be coming from Mill Creek,” said the source.
Regardless of their origination, the problem still exists. Bickers wants Cheviot residents to know what is going on and how to help. “If you’re having a specific problem, call the city, call the Board of Health, or if you just want to be proactive and help the community, you can put bait stations around the perimeter of your house,” he suggested. “Any hardware store will typically sell them.”
While it is not his first choice to kill them, the rats have the numbers on their side and Bickers sees no other way. “I have to protect my family,” he said. “I hate having to kill them, but I have a wife and two-year-old at home. The rats just do so much damage and are capable of spreading so much disease. It’s really the only thing we can do at this point.”