Rat problem grows in Burleith and Georgetown

The seemingly annual surge of rodents has hit Burleith and Georgetown, where residents have spotted an abundance of rats in their yards in the last few weeks. The Burleith Citizens Association, Georgetown BID, and other neighborhood groups have taken action in response, offering rat abatement walks and urging residents to give group consent to the Department of Health rodent control program to exterminate on their property.

But for now, the problem seems to abound. One Burleith resident, in a pleading email to her neighborhood listserv, wrote, "For whatever reason ... rats, always a concern, have become alarmingly prevalent and aggressive recently. In the last few months, I have observed multiple rat holes under my back fence to the neighbors' yards and alley, rat holes in the middle of the front yard, rats running from neighbors' yards and alley, rat holes in the middle of the front yard, rats running from my neighbor's back yard under my deck to the opposite side neighbor's yard, and rats running in the alley. I have put down pellets and filled the holes, but after a few days the holes — and rats — reappear."

Residents can organize block petitions to give the Department of Health permission to exterminate up and down the block—a helpful measure since rats on a property often come from a rat hole on another property—order supercans, or eliminate places where rats can nest, like piles of debris.