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Rat problem in Collier County not helped by open dumpsters, expert says

Posted at 6:50 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 18:50:21-04

Dennis Slabaugh of East Naples kept having to patch up his lanai screen. He thought he smelled a rat - and he was right.

"They entered my lanai by just chewing a hole in the bottom of the screen," Slabaugh said. "I traced the rat infestation to a neighboring trash dumpster that is less than 75 feet from my lanai."

On Tuesday, Slabaugh went before Collier County commissioners to request that the county require a minimum distance between commercial dumpsters and single-family homes. Commissioners said that county would look into the issue.

"The condition of the dumpsters, and the fact that they are not closed, is a recurrent problem," said Commissioner Georgia Hiller.

Fox 4 found that at least one dumpster in East Naples was left wide open, filled with food trash. It was just yards away from homes.

"They should be closed, and not overflowing," said Phil Flannery, owner of Pest Control of Naples. "And there should be rodent bait stations around the dumpsters."

Flannery said that he's seen a dramatic increase in the number of "rat calls" in just the past year.

"In one condo residence, we set 180 bait stations," he said. "Within two weeks, they were totally empty. That tells you that you have a huge infestation."

He said that clients call after hearing rats skittering around in their attics.

"They're also defecating and urinating in your attic, and then your air conditioning system is pumping that through your house," Flannery said.

He recommended sealing up any holes that rats could use to get into your home's roof.

"Because once they get in, they won't want to leave," Flannery said.