Harper Woods wants to send rats on the run

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published February 13, 2014

HARPER WOODS — The city is taking steps to get the word out on ways residents and business owners can stop any rodent problems in their tracks.

After a resident of Hunt Club stepped up to speak during the Feb. 3 City Council meeting about a problem with rats on her street, City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said they are working on ways that the city can help nip the issue in the bud.

The resident, April Martin, said that she had seen rats in her neighborhood and that one had chewed through the power steering hose on her vehicle.

“It seems to be getting worse,” Martin told the council. “I don’t see it getting better.”

She wanted to know what the city could do to help, including coming out and looking throughout her neighborhood for things that might be attracting rats and educating people in the city about ways they can keep rodents at bay.

Skotarczyk said that a nearby city in Macomb County has had a reportedly large problem with rats, and Harper Woods is working on ways to combat problems in its own borders. He said that the frigid winter should reduce the population.

“We have noticed that there’s been an increase in calls from residents,” Skotarczyk said. “We’re going to be working on aggressively going out and trying to identify anything that would provide a harborage.

“We’re going to do an informational program,” he added. “I think information is one of the best tools.”

He said they have a flier they are planning to send out.

Skotarczyk met with the Building Department last week to discuss steps they can take.

The city no longer does a baiting program due to concern about pets getting inadvertently hurt.

Some of the ways people can prevent rats near their homes is to use trash receptacles with tight lids, keep the yard clean and free of debris, and make sure pet food is not accessible outside. Proper storage of items like wood is also key to prevent nesting sites for rats.

Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Costantino said they had a problem in her neighborhood with rats after sewer work, but that they tackled the problem head-on.

“Our neighbors and I, we fought a full-on battle,” Costantino said. “We finally won. It is possible.”