Rats! Rodent population exploding in Bastrop County

FILE - Rat (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
FILE - Rat (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The wildfires that decimated parts of Bastrop County more than two years ago are now fueling an explosive increase in the rat and mouse population.

“Some homeowners are being invaded by mice and field rats which are thriving in the burned-out areas recovering from the wildfires, in part because there are very few predators,” said Rachel Bauer with the Texas A&M ArgiLife Extension Service. “And with the regrowth of vegetation, the rats and mice have had an ample food source and are reproducing quickly.”

Bauer is working in Bastrop County as an agriculture and natural resource agent with the extension office and has received reports of rats chewing wiring in and around homes, in addition to cars parked outside and in garages.

Higher rainfall numbers in the region last fall led to an increase in late season grass and seed.

“(That) was a major factor in greater native rodent activity,” said Jerry Falke, a wildlife biologist for Texas A&M AgriLife. “The resulting population led to increased migration into residences, storage buildings, shops and other indoor locations in wintertime.”

The increased rodent activity is also being tracked into Lee, Brazos and Fayette counties.

“An integrated approach to rodent management is the best,” said Bruce Leland, assistant director for Texas Wildlife Services. “A program using rodenticides and traps, removal of shelter, removal of food and water, and rat-proofing is most effective.”

You can find more information on managing rats and mice by clicking here.

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